San Luis Potosi

San Luis Potosi

The State of San Luis Potosi is largely situated within the northern reaches of Mexico's elevated Central Plateau. Here silver mining and livestock raising are both of economic importance. The capital of San Luis Potosi sits at the approximate midpoint of a triangle formed by Monterrey Guadalajara and Mexico City. This commercial center was the seat of Benito Juarez;s de facto government when Mexico was briefly under French rue in the mid-1860's.

The state's eastern section, hotter and more tropical looking, is inhabited by Huastec Indians. The Huastecs left behind few archeological reminders of their former prominence; the people, who worshiped a fertility goddness, were apperently more interested in pleasures fo the flesh than building splendiferous monuments to the gods. In the mountainous desert of northern San Luis Potosi is the mining town of Real de Catorce, surrounded by 10,000-foot peaks of the Sierra Madre Oriental. Its weathered 19th-century buildings reall the mining aristocracy's prosperous heyday.

SAN LUIS POTOSI, elevation 6,157', capital of the state of the same name, dates from the late 1500s when it was established as a mining settlement. Today is is a sprawling city with more than half a million residents, and the local economy is no longer based on gold, silver, lead and copper production.

The city was seat of the national government under President Benito Juarez in 1863 and again in 1867. While here in 1854, Gonzales Bocanegra wrote the Mexican national anthem, first sung in Mexico City's Santa Anna Theater on Sept.15 of that year. The San Luis PLam, drafted by Francisco Madero while he was imprisoned in the city by dictator Porfirio Diaz, set the stage for the Revolution of 1910.

A distribution point for foreign and domestic merchandise, San Luis Potosi's atmosphere is largely industrial. Tanneries, flour mills, smelters, textile mills, breweries adn furniture factories are among the manufacturing concerns, and highwaus around the city and within the state are busy with truck traffic.

San Luis Potosi is not at all soot and smoke. It has a well-preserved colonial center, anchored by Plaza de Armas, the main square. The plaza is flanked by the city's 18th-century cathedral and the Government Palace. Among the wares on display at the Mercado Hidalgo are prized Santa Maria rebozos (shaw-like garments), which are so fine they can be pulled through a woman's wedding ring; pottery; and a candy called queso de tuna made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. Calle Hidalgo is a pedestrian mall flanked by some of San Luis Potosi's finest shops and stores.

The Plaza Espana bullring is on Avenida Universidad, near the southeastern corner of Alameda Park. Across from the north side of Alameda Park is the city's modern railway station, where a series of Fernand Leal frescoes depict the history of tranportation in Mexico.

CASA DE LA CULTURA, Carranza #1815, is an art museum that exhibits the work of both national and regional artists.

CERRO DE SAN PEDRO, 8km east, is a ghost town containing the ruins of shops, churches, estates and a hospital. It was founded in 1583 after several mines in the vicinity began operations. By the late 1940s, the gold, lead, iron, manganese and mercury deposits finally began to give out. The section of town known as "La Colonia de los Gringos" contains what once were company offices and living quarters of the American Smelting and Refining Co. Local firms continue to extraxt limited quantities of minerals from the mines. Visitors can enter La Descubridora, the town's first mine. Guide service is available.

IGLESIA DE NUESTRA SENORA DEL CARMEN, on Plaza del Carmen, is on ornate baroque structure with domes of blue, green, yellow and white tiles. The interior contains a carved pulpit, a reredos by Tresguerras, paintings by Vallejo and a baroque alter considered one of the most impressive in Mexico.

MUSEO DEL CENTRO TAURINO POTOSINO (Bullfighting Center Museum) contains an extensive collection of such bullfighting memorabilia as photographs, posters, clothing and equipment of famous matadors. The museum also features a bullfighting archives Spanish-speaking guides are available. Free.

MUSEO NACIONAL DE LA MASCARA (National Museum of Regional Masks) Housed in an architecturally interesting pink mansion that dates from the 18th century, the museum displays an assortment of masks from throughout Mexico. Many if the masks, some of which date from pre-Hispanic times, are still used during firstas and other celebration.

MUSEO REGIONAL is housed in the former Convent if San Francisco. It contains artifacts, historical documents and other items dating from the 16th century. The impressive 17th-century Aranzazu Chapel is tn the rear of the museum. The adjecent church, which faces the plaza, is part of the building as well.

MUSEO REGIONAL DE ARTE POPULAR, displays crafts from throughout the state, with emphasis on the Huastec region of northeastern Mexico. Displays include chairs, baskets, wooden items, pottery and a wax altar. There also is an exhibit pertaining to the creation of the area's celebrated Santa Maria shawls.

PALACIO DE GOBIERNO, a neaclassic structure across the Plaza de Armas from the Cathedral, dates from 1770. Here Benito Juarez, depite petitions for mercy from all over the world, denied clemency to Archduke Maximilian; the deposed emperor was subsequently eecuted at Queretaro. A wax tableau and a portrait gallaery in the Juarez Room recall the event.

Text from "AAA Mexico Travelbook 1998"

Here there will be more from a mexican tourbook.

last change Wed Jan 13 16:50:55 CST 1999 by
Jurgen Engelfried (