Queretaro, one of the cities in the central part of Mexico has been an important part of Mexican history. The Mexican Revolution was planned here, the Mexican American War was concluded, and the French were ousted from Mexico here. Queretaro was the birthplace of the Mexican constitution. In touring the city you will find many statues, monuments and parks dedicated to the events just described. Many of the places associated with these events have been masterfully restored, making the city well worth a visit.
Like most other central Mexican cities there are no direct flights from Seattle. However connecting flights can be routed through San Antonio Texas, Mexico City, Guadalajara, and San Luis Potosi. There are also frequent buses from Mexico City which is served by direct flights from Seattle on Alaska, United, and Continental.
One sight which is unique to Queretaro is the old aqueduct. Constructed of stone arches, it is reminiscent of some of the aqueducts seen in Europe which had been constructed by the Romans. Although it is no longer used to bring water to the city, it is very scenic, and nicely lit at night.
The Plaza de Armas or central plaza is a good place to start exploring the central area of the city. Also called Jardin Obregon, the plaza is tree lined and shady. Some beautiful colonial buildings face the plaza. San Francisco church is one of them. The tiles on the roof date from 1540 and were brought from Spain.
Next door to San Francisco is the Museo Regional, or Regional Museum. The building in which it is located is part of the original monastery of San Francisco. there are some impressive exhibits on the precolumbian inhabitants of the region as well as many exhibits on Queretaro’s role in Mexican history. The museum is well worth a visit.
One thing that sets Queretaro apart are its pedestrian only streets. Avenida Libertad Oriente is lined with brilliantly colored bougambilla and has some interesting sights. Avenida Madero has many shops and little cafés. Queretaro is known for semi precious stones such as opals and fire agates. The shops here may be a bit more expensive, but the quality is much higher than anything you will be offered by street vendors.
La Casa de la Corregidora, or Palacio de Gobierno was once the home of Queretaro’s mayor and magistrate in the Spanish government. His wife Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez was an ardent supporter of Mexican independence and invited the initiators of the Mexican Revolution, Ignacio Allende, Father Miguel Hidalgo, and Ignacio Perez to plot the revolution here under the cover of a literary discussion group. Her husband realized what she was doing and locked her in her room. She managed to escape and alert the rebels, who put their plans for the revolution forward by three months. The building is now the state government hall and is beautifully preserved. The nearby Plaza de la Corregidora has many outdoor cafés and restaurants.
Some of the well preserved colonial buildings are the Casa de Ecala, and the State Museum of Art. Another well preserved building is the Convento de Santa Cruz. The tour of the convent is fascinating. The guides will explain how the inhabitants used running water for refrigeration, how cooking and other daily tasks were handled in the colonial period.
Another attractive church is Santa Clara. The ornate facade is done in the baroque style and is worth a look. Next to the church is the Neptune fountain, built in 1797 by a famous Mexican architect.