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MONTERREY

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City of Spanish roots, a modern looking metropolis, encompassing both industries and museums, economics and culture, but above all, nature, rich, prodigal, amazing. These are the several faces for one unique destiny: Monterrey, Capital City of the State of Nueva Leon, a place where boredom is strictly forbidden.

Ancient buildings from colonial times as are the Government Hall and the Catedral de Nuestra Se˝ora de Monterrey -which took more than 120 years to be finished- sharing the same urban space with the ultra modern building of Faro del Comercio, a 74 story high giant that rises over the Macroplaza, the vanguard heart of the City.

And whenever you found yourself willing to take a flight from the cement, Monterrey offers tempting alternatives, as visiting its wonderful natural sites or rising your adrenaline levels with the adventure challenges that cling from the sheer walls of the Huasteca Canyons in the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park and on Potrero Chico, a mandatory visit for mountaineers from around the world.

During your stay in Monterrey do not neglect visiting the following places:

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    ATTRACTIONS IN THE CITY

    -The Giant Plaza or Megaplaza, this is the very heart of the City. A heart with a forty hectare extension that presents modern structures, like the Faro del Comercio or The Lighthouse of Commerce, a monument of 74 metres high and equipped with potent lights that cast away the night shadows. It was built in 1984 to commemorate the first centennial of the Chamber of Commerce of Monterrey.

    The square, filled with green areas, embraces a beautiful fountain, with eight bronze sculptures, the principal one representing the god Neptune. In the surroundings of the urban centre of Monterrey are located the principal institutions of the State of Nuevo Leon, among them the Government Hall.

    - The Palacio de Gobierno - Government Hall, Its foundations were laid in 1865, but it was only in 1908, during the administration of General Bernardo Reyes that its neo-classical lines could at last be admired in all its magnitude. It consists of some splendid architectonical features that fully justify its designation as National Monument, given to it by the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH).

    Pink quarry stone brought from San Luis de Potosi covers the building. It is mad up of two levels, and its fašade shows eight Corinth styled columns. Its superior level contains an effigy depicting "Victory" and in its interior its ample Colonial patio and the halls decorated with stucco paintings are especially attractive.

    This building contains an historical museum that exhibits the weapons that were used in the execution of the Emperor Maximiliano, in 1867.

    - The Catedral de Nuestra Se˝ora de Monterrey Cathedral, raising this bastion of the Faith took 128 years. The Temple -whose construction was initiated in 1663- presents a mixture of architectonical styles, a fact that can be explained by the excessive time elapsed before it was finished. Nevertheless, its lines are not without harmony and on its fašade predominate an overcharged Baroque decoration.

    This overloaded front deeply contrasts with the soberness of the naves, transepts and the splendid domes in its interior, which also contains a valuable collection of antique canvasses depicting religious scenes.

    Between the Juan Zuazua and Padre Jardon Streets.

    - The Palacio del Obispado - Bishopric Palace, In 1787, when a merciless snow storm fell upon Monterrey, Fray (brother) Rafael Verger decided that the time was ripe to erect a Catholic Diocese, in order to supply a shelter to the matters of Faith and, moreover, to provide an occupation for all the impoverished and famished indigenes, who were suffering due to the extreme climate conditions.

    Some time later and owing to its strategic location at the top of a hill, this religious seat performed as a fortress, when the United States troops invaded Mexico in September of 1846.

    Years later, Pancho Villa took this jewel of colonial architecture as his headquarters. From those violent times there still remain the artillery and bullet holes upon the walls.

    Since September 20th, 1956, this palace became seat to the Museo Regional de Nuevo Leon. It is placed in the western end of the Padre Mier Avenue, at a distance of two and a half kilometres from the centre of the City.

    - The Antiguo Palacio Municipal - Old Town Hall, Its origins go back to the year of 1789, but the main lines of its fašade were not wholly finished until 1887, which, in view of its architectonic merits, fully justify its designation as National Historical Monument, sanctioned in 1974 by the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) of Mexico.

    Located between the streets of Zaragoza and Corregidora, the edifice functioned until 1978 as the Municipal Hall. From that year on, it was used as the Tribunal Superior de Justicia, or Superior Court of Justice. Only recently, actually from 1995, its facilities -more than once remodelled- contain the objects that belong to the Museo Metropolitano de Monterrey Museum.
    • Museo Metropolitano de Monterrey shows permanent and temporal collections related with the historical development of the City. The exhibited pieces belong to periods that include examples ranging from pre-historical times up to the present days.
    The Palacio Municipal - Town Hall, an innovating design, with lines that stretch beyond the actual architectural designs and with imposing concrete walls. An attractive silhouette of modernity standing between the Zaragoza and Ocampo streets, not only hosting the municipal offices, but also an ample auditorium and a gallery for expositions. On its front can be seen a sculpture performed by the renowned Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo.

    The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MARCO) - Modern Arts Museum, This is one of the most important museums of its kind around the world, regarding the quality of its collections of paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic arts, architecture, installations and electronic art that are exhibited in its halls, which, trough both individual and collective works, portray themes that arouse an ample range of sensations among its visitors, either of sheer astonishment as well of plain insight.

    Its design resembles that of the major museums in the United States, in which predominate broad interior spaces, a fact that becomes more evident in its large central patio with a Colonial influenced style, containing a huge water mirror and two colossal spherical sculptures, both works belonging to the reputed architect Ricardo Legorreta.

    Inaugurated on July of 1991, the museum makes a strong impression on the visitor well before entering its facilities, because of a sculpture by Juan Soriano, a talented Mexican artist, representing a stylised dove, which is situated in the front yard. This essential cultural complex can be found at 2202 Universidad Norte Avenue, facing the Macroplaza.

    - The Iglesia de la Purisima Concepcion Church is an astounding example of modern religious design. It shows an attractive bell tower and an exquisite bronze sculpture portraying the twelve apostles adorning its fašade. On the inside, it contains the image of the Virgen Chiquita, most venerated icon on account of the miraculous salvation of the City during the floods that took place in 1756, which the people believes was a miracle by the Virgin.

    This Temple was built during the decade of the 1940s, following the designs of the Mexican architect Enrique de la Mora y Palomar. It is located at the intersection of the Avenida Hidalgo Avenue and the Serafin Pu˝o Street.

    - The Centro Cultural Alfa Cultural Centre, Its display of futuristic design at the foot of the Cerro ChipingŘe Mount is not only the headquarters to the Alfa conglomerate enterprises, but also to the halls of the Museum of Science and Technology (Museo de Ciencia y Tecnologia), a space devoted to knowledge, aimed towards youngsters and children by means of unravelling through didactic and experimental methods some of the mysteries that science usually withholds.

    Inside of this complex, on one side you will find a superb planetarium, which, among its relevant features, presents a 23 metres diameter dome, representing an awesome scenario with images of the night skies.

    It was inaugurated in 1978 covering a 2500 square metres area, and can be found on the Avenida Manuel Gomez Morin Avenue.

    - The Museo de Monterrey Museum (Cuauhtemoc Brewery) is one of the most important museums of the country. There are 1500 objects from some of the most eminent Mexican artists, as Diego Rivera, Gerardo Murillo and Clemente Orozco, among other Latin American famed artists.

    The seat of this Museum is the building that once belonged to the Cuauhtemoc brewery, the oldest and still one of the most popular ones in Mexico. For this reason, there is an interior garden dedicated to honour this European beverage.

    The Museum, inaugurated in 1977, also includes a complete library specialised in art and an exposition devoted to sports. It can be found at 2202 Avenida Alfonso Reyes Norte Avenue.

    - The Pinacoteca de Nuevo Leon - Art Gallery, Its halls are permanently exhibiting the very best of the artistic production from the State of Nuevo Leon, a valuable cultural legacy that shows the creativity and sensibility of the artists from this area of Mexico. The art gallery is distributed among two art deco styled buildings, which until the year 1985 functioned as the military camp of Nuevo Leon, built during the period immediately after the Mexican Revolution times (the decade of the twenties).

    Located between the Alfonso Reyes and Servicio Postal Avenues, it is a peaceful spot facing the fine-looking Los Ni˝os Heroes Park.

    - The Museo del Vidrio - Glass Museum, The evolution of glass manufacture since its arrival to Mexico in the 17th century to the industrial development and the diverse production techniques of the present days are shown in these halls, which are located in the attic and the two stories of the former factory of what used to be the Vidrieria Monterrey S.A. dating back to 1909.

    Opening in 1992, the museum shows valuable art works by national and foreign artists that expressed themselves through glass. To be found at 517 Magallanes street, in the corner of Zaragoza Street.

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