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PACHUCA

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PACHUCA

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Pachuca is a city of mining roots and heart. Its history is marked by the transformation of the ore deposits and the search for wealth in the guts of the mountains, from the moment the first settlers of the area used obsidian for the elaboration of their hunting tools, in the year 12000 B.C., and later discovered the amalgamation process to obtain silver.

And these roots where kept firm when the Aztecs governed the region and extracted the mineral from the mountains back in 1438; and the heart was stiffened with the arrival of the Spaniards in 1528, who impelled by their obsessive urge of wealth, prioritised the activity on the deposits.

It was these men from beyond the sea who founded Pachuca in the XVIth century, the capital of the current state of Hidalgo, located 94 kilometres away from the City of Mexico. It was they who built the temples and big houses that time took charge in turning into historical monuments, for they are the architectonic tracks of a colonial past full of splendour, but also full of injustices.

They nicknamed it "Airy Beauty" because of the impetuosity of its winds, but it was baptised as Pachuca and nobody knows for sure why. There are those who believe that it comes from the Nahuatl word pachoa, meaning "narrowness" or "aperture"; others pinpoint its origin to the word pachoacan, meaning "place of government", and most of the people relate it to the term patlachiucan, "place of factories" or "place of gold and silver".

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Pachuca's sinuous terrain prevented its founders from complying with the colonial ordinance that imposed a rectilinear and chessboard type layout for the cities during that time period. They tried hardly to do it but it was impossible and the streets where "born" steep and narrow, giving it a special look that has not ceased to seduce travellers.

Pachuca is a city, which has always been blessed with daydream architecture. Home of working, hospitable and happy people, that will welcome you with opened arms and will show you the best of their land: its historic, evoking and monumental centre, its museums revealers of history, the mining vocation that is transpired in the nearby town of Real Monte, and the natural beauty of the El Chico National Park.

Different itineraries. City and nature. Walks through narrow streets to verify the pass of time on the centenarian clock - designed by the same firm that built the Big Ben in London - that crowns a 40 meter high tower of neoclassical style; or unworried strolls through the dense woods of firs and pine trees in El Chico Park, a protected area since 1898.

There is still much to be known, in the centre and outside it and it seems that time will be scarce, for the hours announce their birth and death with the tolling of that gigantic clock that marks the heartbeat of a city dressed up with big old houses and temples, that experts regard as everlasting marks of the Hispanic architecture of the early period.

Time is shortening thus you need to hurry and now you are at the church of Asuncion, with its plain white façade that shows some glimpses of baroque; glimpses that turn to totality in San Francisco, a forced stop in the walk to the centre, because its old cloisters house the Anthropology and Regional History museums, besides the National Photo Archives (Fototeca Nacional), the most important graphic collection in the country.

Other unavoidable monuments are the building of Las Cajas Reales, that dates back to 1670, and the Rule House, which simple façade contradicts the ampleness of its rooms and the elegance of its corridors decorated in that exquisite manner that was proper for the mansions of the wealthy miners of Pachuca. It currently houses the city council.

The Mining museum is a unique place, for the activity is intimately related to Pachuca and the state of Hidalgo. Its rooms allow you to know the history of the mines in this region of Mexico, exploited since pre-Hispanic times and linked to the progress of the city.

You cannot leave Pachuca without visiting the Hidarte craftsmanship house, a multicoloured fair, with embroideries, fabrics, furniture, pottery, leatherworks, silver jewellery and basketworks. The experience is much more enriching when you go inside the artisan's workshops, because it allows you to know their techniques and production processes at firsthand.

Again the ticking of the clock. Time is running out, is it too short or is it just that Pachuca is too attractive? Check it out for yourself. That way you will get the answer.

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