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CHIHUAHUA

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History chose the State of Chihuahua as the perfect scenario for a series of events that marked Mexico's evolution: the terrible death sentence imposed upon father Miguel Hidalgo, starter of the struggle for independence; the tenacious resistance of Benito Juarez before the French invasion; the signing of the agreement that would put an end to the revolution, and the coward assassination of Francisco "Pancho" Villa, are some of these events.

And in a state with that much past, travellers feel that each plaza or big old colonial house is a place loaded with remembrances, a piece of the great historical mosaic of Mexico; then they come and go across the streets of Chihuahua, of Hidalgo del Parral, or Juarez City, in order to discover the house and the headquarters of "Pancho" Villa, the cell in which father Hidalgo was imprisoned, or the room where the end of the revolution was agreed.

When the historic findings begin to wear out, nature turns into the main attraction for travellers. Places of astonishing and chilling beauty such as the Barrancas del Cobre or the Cascade of Basaseachi National Park are located a few kilometres away from Chihuahua, capital of the homonymous state.

The tourist menu of Chihuahua also includes the City of Cuauhtémoc, where the Mennonites, settlers of German origin that reject the use of electric tools or objects, live; or the Town of Madera, in which numerous caves shelter impacting archaeological remains of the Paquimé Culture.

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    In Chihuahua

    -The Cathedral: the miners of the colony, perhaps to thank God for the wealth of Chihuahua or simply with the intention of ensuring a little piece of heaven, financed voluntarily the edification of this magnificent temple of baroque style and quarry pink stones. The Cathedral took more than a century to be completed (from 1717 to 1826).
    The two beautiful belfries and the splendid dome, similar to that of the Temple of Saint Peter in Rome, are really admirable in its façade; while the altars made of marble from Carrara and a beautiful organ stand out in its interior.
    Once in the Cathedral, located beside the Constitution Plaza, in the centre of the city, you should visit the Museum of Sacred Art, which exhibits an important collection of samples of Mexican art from the XVIII century.

    -Palace of Government: its historic roots go back to the colonial period, when in 1717 the Jesuits created the School of Loreto in Chihuahua. Then, in 1790, the classrooms would turn into the rooms of the military hospital and the quarters of the artillery and the infantry. The current building dates back to 1881, but a fire occurred in 1941 considerably damaged its structures, hence it had to be rebuilt.
    The so-called "altar of the nation", the place where father Miguel Hidalgo - starter of the movement for Mexican independence - was executed in 1811, is in its inner patio. Another detail of great value is the mural elaborated by Hidalgo painter Aaron Piña Mora, which depicts the history of Chihuahua from the conquest up to the reform.
    The building is located adjacent to Hidalgo Plaza, between Libertad Aldama Street and Venustiano Carranza Avenue.

    -Federal Palace: it was inaugurated in 1910, just months before the great Mexican Revolution was started. As is the case of the Palace of Government, the Federal Palace is on land that belonged to the Jesuit school.
    The dungeon in which priest Miguel Hidalgo, also known as the "Father of the Nation", was imprisoned before his execution, is preserved from its sombre colonial past. Besides, it has a small museum exhibiting valuable documents of the movement for independence.
    It is currently the seat of the Central Post. It is located on Libertad and Once Streets, behind Juarez Avenue, and a few metres away from the Palace Of Government and Hidalgo Plaza.

    -Museum of the Revolution: it is an important historical and cultural space in which photos, documents, weapons from that period, and personal objects belonging to famous Mexican revolutionary, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, are exhibited; with the Dodge vehicle in which he was travelling to the City of Hidalgo del Parral on July the 20th of 1923, the day he was murdered, standing out.
    The museum works in Quinta Luz, dwelling and headquarters of the renowned revolutionary, also known as the Centaur of the North. It is an ample and elegant construction in which Villa's wife, Luz Corral, lived until 1981, located on 3014 Décima Street.

    -Church of San Francisco: it is one of the few colonial temples existing inn Chihuahua. It dates back to 1715 and houses a great number of relics in its interior, being the most important two superb altarpieces from the XVIII century.
    The decapitated cadaver of father Miguel Hidalgo, the hero of the nation, was buried in this temple in 1811. In 1823, after the emancipation forces had consolidated their victory, his remains were moved to the Angel of Independence in the City of Mexico.
    It is located on Libertad Street.

    -Juarez House Museum: when the forces of the French army invaded Mexican territory, President Benito Juarez established himself in Chihuahua in order to preserve the country's dented sovereignty; hence, the current seat of the museum would become the provisional National Palace.
    The Illustrious of the Americas, that was the name given to Juarez, remained in the makeshift palace from October of 1864 up to December of 1866, when he waved farewell to the people of Chihuahua to continue its march northbound.
    The old house, turned into a museum on October the 12th of 1972, has an imposing central patio and ample rooms in which valuable manuscripts, photographs and personal belongings of the extinct president are now exhibited, along with suites from that period. It would later get the name of Juarez House Museum of the Republican Loyalty, as a way of underlining the participation of the people of Chihuahua in the struggle against the invading army.
    It is located on Juarez Avenue and 321 Quinta Street.

    -Quinta Gameros University Cultural Centre: it is a splendid mansion of clear French influence from the early XX century, which is currently the seat of the Regional Museum of Chihuahua and whose architectonic beauty is gifted with splendid details such as the tower of its façade, which shows stiff columns crowned by an enlarged dome.
    In its interior stands out a valuable collection of suites of art nouveau style, property of the Requena family, on the first floor; while there is an exhibition with objects and pieces on the second floor coming from the archaeological compound of Paquimé, located in the north of the country. Besides, there are temporary exhibitions as well.
    The construction of the house was commissioned by Don Manuel Gameros, who put Colombian architect Julio Corredor La Torre in charge of the works. Its construction was finished in 1910, year in which the revolution went off; therefore, the family did not stay long in it. It was later the residence of Don Venustiano Carranza, first chief of the Constitutionalist Army and headquarters of Francisco "Pancho" Villa.
    In 1921, when the Revolutionary Government returned the confiscated properties to their original owners, the Gameros family came back to the house, though they would sell it to the state in 1926. It is part of the patrimony of the University of Chihuahua since 1968. It is located on Bolivar Drive and 4th Street.

    -Chihuahua Cultural Centre: it is a beautiful neoclassical construction from the late XIX century. Its architectonic magnificence reflects the economic bonanza of the landowners of Chihuahua in those times, amongst them Don Luis Terrazas, who was its original proprietor.
    The centre holds a permanent exhibition with original objects from the Paquimé Culture, and concerts and conferences take place in its installations. It is located on 430 Aldama Street.

    -Villa's Mausoleum: Francisco "Pancho" Villa ordered the construction of what, according to him, was to be the final dwelling for his remains in the pantheon of La Regla; however, history played the general a trick for its body was buried in Hidalgo del Parral, the city in which he was murdered.
    Years later his remains would be transferred to the Monument to the Revolution, in the City of Mexico.

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