Cut! … the take is over. Durango
is no longer the
'Mecca' of the western movies, but a very pretty and welcoming valley,
ideal for staying and make a home out of it. So did the Spanish
conquerors, who founded this City on July the 8th of 1562, not knowing
by then that within these lands were hidden some big mineral deposits.
The architectonical growth and splendour of colonial Durango
(a word that means 'beyond the water'), was based on the richness
of its mines and on the plentiful natural resources.
The economical prosperity was shaped with the construction of monumental churches and casonas (old mansions) with French airs, many of which are still standing in these days, transporting the traveller to that far away epoch of bliss and waste, of luxury and wealth. But also an epoch of oppression to the indigenes, the true descendants of the great Mesoamerican cultures.
In the Historical Centre of the City raises the most relevant architectonical
jewel of Durango
: the Cathedral Church, built between
the years of 1685 and 1787 over a modest parish of adobe and straw
roof named San Mateo.
Imposing and awesome, this eclectic House of God still preserves among its relics a peculiar sculpture of the Virgen de la Purísima Concepción, made from a single piece of ivory. But its most cherished possession are its stool from 1715, with its 57 seats made of carved and gilded wood.
The exquisite colonial architecture of Durango
Capital of the State of the same name, is complemented by a splendid
natural background, which stores some fantastic places to visit,
as the mysterious zone El Silencio, a salt desert loaded with energy,
which causes the compasses to go wild, the clocks to stop functioning
and the radio waves get lost.
Another goose bumping natural spot is 'El Espinazo del Diablo' or 'The Backbone of the Devil', a road surrounded by precipices that is a privileged viewing point of the Sierra Madre Occidental (2.200 m.a.s.l.)
, at 903 kilometre distance from Mexico
City, was the birth place of Doroteo Arango … of who? You should
very justifiably ask, but the Doroteo in question was no other than
the mythical Francisco "Pancho" Villa, a.k.a. the "Centaur of the
North", one of the most emblematical leaders of the Mexican Revolution
in the early 20th century.
A place that can not be let out of the tour is the Market Gómez Palacio (100 metres away from the Cathedral). In there you will find handcrafts made by skilful artisans, who transform straw into marvellous basquetwork as bags, rugs, purses, hats and many peculiar decorative objects. You will also have the opportunity of purchasing delicate figures carved in wood.
And after a busy morning shopping in the City there will be nothing better than stopping to taste a traditional caldillo durangueño, prepared with a base of fried beef steak with garlic, onions, tomatoes and chilli. And if your likes are fonder for sweet flavours, then your palate could not miss the taste of the sweets made of nuts, almonds and apples.
In these modern times, the economy of Durango
leans in mining (mostly gold and silver), but it has also achieved
an important development in agriculture and livestock breeding,
becoming in this particular item the first State in the production
of goat milk, the prime substance for preparing cheeses with an
unforgettable flavour, which are capable of seducing the most refined
These delicacies are mainly produced by the Mennonites, a religious community that tries to keep themselves secluded from the technological 'advantages' of the modern world, although they have already accepted electricity and automobiles.
The first Mennonites arrived to Durango
early 20th century, gathering at the neighbourhood of the Capital
of the Sate. Since then, they have dedicated themselves to sowing
the fields and preparing cheeses and sausages. They live in self
sustained communities and are fierce defendants of their faith and
While visiting Durango
, the "Land of Cinema", you
will become the actor of a great movie. Yes, but that movie that
is projected in the memory of the traveller when he is at home,
a memory that will stay engraved forever in your mind and heart.
This movie will prove to be so successful that you will bear no
doubt as if whether filming a sequence of it or not. So … Lights!
Camera! Action! …