-Archaeological Zone of Ranas:
- Sanctuary and Convent of the Holy Virgin of El Pueblito:
It was built in the XVIII century, thanks to the generous contribution
of Pedro de Urtiaga. Its architecture is proper of the Mexican
baroque. The Temple dates back to 1735 and has a façade of carved
quarry stone, with its ornamentations standing out, and, on
the upper part, a sculpture of the Virgin of El Pueblito. Beside
it is the Convent of the Franciscan friars which dates back
It is a formidable
city-fortress which, along with Toluquilla, another important pre-Hispanic
city, are considered as the top cultural expressions in Sierra Gorda
During their historic peak, both urban centres may have exerted a great influence among the neighbouring settlements.
Of features similar to those of Teotihuacán, this impressive city was built on the summit of two hills, at 2400 metres above sea level approximately; it was an strategic position which allowed them to exercise a better control upon the neighbouring settlements; moreover, the city could only be entered through a single road, thus facilitating the defence before any given attack.
The city may have been founded in the III century A.C. by indigenous groups who lived in the area, being inhabited until the XI century. Later the zone would be controlled by the Chichimecas.
It is believed that the construction of Ranas took over 300 years, for the uneven geography surrounded by deep abysses of the place, forced the pre-Hispanic architects to level the terrain with rocks and mud before working on the platforms that would support the Acropolis like buildings, the contention walls and the terraces of the city.
In total, the temples, public buildings, houses, and courts for the ball game of Ranas, add up to 180 precincts, built with slabs of stone, sand, juices of plants such as cactuses, a sort of mortar made of lime, and covered with stucco.
Concerning the social aspect, Ranas was hierarchically organised, being the ruling class a political - religious elite. Its economy was centred on the exploitation of minerals such as cinnabar, or red sulphur of mercury, of great important in the Mesoamerican cultures for being "the blood of the earth", which allowed it to have a commercial start in relation with its neighbours.
It is located 154 kilometres northeast of Queretaro and 7 kilometres away from the Municipality of San Joaquin.
It is known as "Heaven's Door" due
to the dense clouds that use to surround its majestic geography.
It shows architectonic characteristics similar to those of the important
Archaeological Zone of Ranas, its twin city.
Toluquilla was built on top of one of the hills of Sierra Gorda de Queretaro. Due to the fact that it was surrounded by abysses, its builders had to make maximum use of the space, modifying the uneven surface and covering the jaggedness with rocks and mud.
Just like Ranas, Toluquilla had one entrance only and its precincts were built with slabs of stone and clay, adding stucco or tamped stones on its temples and houses, being evident the influence of Teotihuacán.
There are close to 120 constructions existing in Toluquilla, among temples, rooms, areas for the ball game and numerous burial zones. With the study of the latter, archaeologists unveiled several of the secrets that remained, regarding the pre-Hispanic city and its mysterious inhabitants.
The peak of this city may have been between the III and VII centuries A.C. In those times it had a great religious importance, and extremely complicated inters took place within its precincts, specially in the so called building 33.
The society of Toluquilla was divided in various hierarchies. The ruling group resided in the Room House, while the rest of the citizens did so on the periphery or nearby settlements, being the main economic activities agriculture and mining. Its decline may have occurred between the X and XI centuries.
It is situated 137 kilometres away from Queretaro
and 30 away from the Municipality of San Joaquin.
-Caverns of Los Herrera:
During thousands of years
stalactites and stalagmites were formed inside this mysterious natural
hollows, discovered in 1968 by a team of speleologists who were
on an exploration work in the Sierra Gorda de Queretaro
The singular rock formations are distributed among six rooms, being the most impressive ones the Rooms of the Lion and the Crocodile, and the Forest Pass. Although there is artificial light and habilitated paths, it is recommended to visit them in the company of a specialised guide.
It is located 2 kilometres away from the Municipality of San Joaquin, in the Community of Los Herrera, at the kilometre 30 of the road Vizarrón - San Joaquin.
It is a welcoming City of narrow
streets and beautiful neo-Hispanic churches, heritage of its colonial
past, though the first civilizing seeds were sowed by the Chichimecas,
who baptised the zone with the name of Tequexquitl, a word of the
Nahuatl language that translates to "Place of the Water and the
There are innumerable sources of thermal waters in Tequesquiapán; but they are not its only attraction, you need to also put an eye on the precious works of basketry, made by skilful artisans.
It is the second most important City in the State, so it has a varied
tourist infrastructure. It is located almost 58 kilometres away
-San Juan del Rio:
This City of colonial origins
was founded in 1531 by Fernando de Tapia, name adopted by a converted
native called Conín. In 1986 it was declared Zone of Historic Monuments
to protect the architectonic and cultural legacy of its ancient
churches and colonial big houses, threaten by the expansion of the
Besides it Hispanic heritage, suites of great quality and excellent
handicraft products made of wicker, and semiprecious stones such
as opal, are elaborated in San Juan del Rio. It is located 52 kilometres
away from the City of Queretaro