The "Houses of God" stood upright along the streets of a city taking pride on its mineral wealth. In this way surged the Cathedral, a masterpiece made of pink stone, which construction took more than a century; and the church of San Francisco, of great historical importance for it had housed, in absolute secrecy, the remains of father Miguel Hidalgo, the initiator of the heroic deed for the independence of Mexico.
During the struggle for independence, Chihuahua
was the scenario of one of the most outstanding but also dramatic
events of that historic period: the shooting in 1811 of father Hidalgo
in the central patio of the current Palace of Government. In homage
of this illustrious man, the Altar of the Mother Country was built
in the same place of the execution to honour his memory.
Years later, the injustices against the natives caused the uprising of Francisco "Pancho" Villa, who leading the famous Northern Division, turned the state into the cradle of the Mexican Revolution. In the present time, his house and headquarters, the Quinta Azul, are an attractive museum allowing us to know the hazardous existence of an historic character that became a legend.
When the revolutionary storm abated, the state of Chihuahua
started a slow industrialization process that brought as a consequence
the developing of the so called factories (large assembly plants),
which have changed the face of this corner of the desert.
What remained unchanged either by the revolution or the industrial
boom was the desolate greatness of the desert, the profound beauty
of the gullies, the refreshing impetus of the waterfalls, the calm
of the woods and the quality of the cultivations of the noted Mexican
chilli, which comes mostly from the state of Chihuahua
the largest in the country.
And you do not have to go far from the state's capital in order
to test your capacity of awesomeness, for Chihuahua
must be one of the few places in the world in which you can travel
through time with the mission of discovering the strange way of
life of the Mennonites, a religious colony of German origins that
lives in the outskirts of the city of Cuauhtemoc.
The Mennonites maintain a lifestyle shunning modernity. Their communities - orderly, vigorous, devoted - seem to be extracted from a history book. And this is because they resist giving up their centenarian habits and rejecting the "advantages" of modernity, and that is why they continue to illuminate their nights with candle lights and to use the power of the horses to pull their wagons.
The journey to the past is prolonged at the Archaeological Complex of Paquime, one of the most important pre-Hispanic legacies from the northern part of Mexico. There are about fifty edifices in this zone, some up to three stories high. The caverns close to the town of Madera, which treasure ancient pre-Hispanic constructions in their interiors, must be visited as well.
Another exclusive attraction are the Barrancas del Cobre (Copper's
Gullies), four times wider than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado
river in the United States, and with mountains surpassing 3000 meter
altitudes. A territory that impresses, that is enjoyed and suffered,
or best put, the suffering of the train going from Chihuahua
to the Pacific Ocean, the old "charger" that runs through one of
the most entangled geographies of the planet, is shared.
The journey to the past is over. Chihuahua
1450 kilometres from the City of Mexico - turns back to be the capital
gleaming in the middle of the desert, in spite of the heat and the
rain showers. A destination that must not be ignored, that should
never be kept aside.