ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN ZACATECAS
Archaeological Sites in ZACATECAS
The archaeological zones of Zacatecas are also an option to receive the spring equinox. La Quemada, for example, is the most important settlement in north-central Mexico and has a large colonnaded hall with a plaza, a court for the ball game, and a pyramidal base called the Votive Pyramid.
While the Cerro del Teúl is an important Mesoamerican archaeological zone that is characterized by being one of the first industrial areas of the continent, since copper and ceramic crafts were made in it.
Archaeo-astronomical studies at the site indicate that the location of Altavista-Chalchihuites is associated with its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer, which is why it is highly recommended to visit Altavista during the summer solstice, since it is in this place where the sun returns to the south at the beginning of this season of the year.
Map of Archaeological Sites in ZACATECAS
This ancient ceremonial and astronomical center was established by Chalchihuites-Chichimec culture, and it was occupied more or less continuously from AD 100 to AD 1400.
Altavista is located almost on the Tropic of Cancer and is distinguished by a number of astronomically important features starting with the care given to its location and in the construction of its main buildings. The ancient settlers took the Sierra de Chalchihuites, on the eastern horizon, as a calendar through which they observed the annual variation of the Sun’s position.
The main structures are the Gamio Stairway, the Sun Pyramid, the Skull Temple, the Labyrinth and the Column Hall, an enclosure with square base that contains vestiges of a quadrangular chamber with 28 columns divided into four parallel rows of seven columns each, with different sizes and shapes; this alignment suggests an equivalence with the lunar cycle.
There is a site museum in a modern complex that exhibits about 350 pieces found in the area. Some of the most interesting objects are those related with funerary offerings. Hours: Daily from 09:00 to 17:00 hrs.
At the top of Cerro Chapín there are two petroglyphs of circles-crosses with calendar references very similar to those found in Teotihuacán. From here you can observe an alignment of the sun on the Picacho Peón that at the same time aligns with the labyrinth of Altavista, a hallway limited by adobe walls and embedded pilasters.
At the end of the corridor is the Observatory and every March 21st, at the spring equinox, it is visited by hundreds of people who welcome the sun after the death of winter.
From the city of Zacatecas take the Federal Highway No. 45 to Sombrerete, continue on the state road to Jiménez de Teúl (50 km), pass the villages of Chalchihuites and El Refugio, cross the Colorado River and the site is just 1 km away.
The remote and scenic ruins of La Quemada stand on a hill. It was inhabited between about AD 300-400 and AD 1150. This ceremonial center was fortified by means of slate (volcanic tuff) masonry walls; it represents the most significant monumental settlement in north central Mexico for its architecture.
Remains of buildings of various sizes crown 50 large terraces stretching over a steep hill rising from a wide arid valley.From the upper levels of the main hill, a path leads westward for about 800m to a spur hilltop (the highest point) with the remains of a cluster of buildings called La Ciudadela (the Citadel), surrounded with walls six meters high and four meters wide.
The Hall of Columns, which measures 41 by 32 meters, has a sunken courtyard. The structure comprises eleven sturdy stone columns that might have supported a six meters high broad roof. The Ball Court is 80 meters long, and is therefore one of the longest in northern Mexico.
The Votive Pyramid, which is 10 meters high, is the site’s best-known structure; nearby are broad terraces for residential use. There is a small site museum housed in an attractive building that blends into the landscape, parking and free guides known as “Tenanches“. Hours: Daily from 09:00 to 17:00 hrs.
The exact history and purpose of the site are extremely vague and many suppositions surround the area, one theory is that it was where the Aztecs halted during their legendary wanderings toward the Valle de México. What is known for sure is that the constructions were destroyed by fire, and thus they came to be called La Quemada.
It is located 56 km from the city of Zacatecas. Take Federal Highway No. 54, to Villanueva, pass the community of Felipe Ángeles, until you find the junction to La Quemada or Chicomostoc Ruins and 2.5 km away is the entrance booth.
This particular site is considered of monumental importance because it was occupied continuously for 16 to 17 centuries, stretching from the shaft-tomb period to the arrival of the Spaniards. It was occupied four or five centuries before La Quemada and Alta Vista and had its peak from 900 to 1300 AD.
The structures of this ceremonial center were built in four terraces built on steep hillsides. Also carved into the rock wall are horizontal and vertical channels for collecting the spring water, which oozes out of this mountain at various points.
The Main Plaza covers almost 1 square kilometer and there are two pyramidal structures are located in the middle of the plaza, a public ceremonial space and a circular altar. The Basements in Teúl and those of Teotihuacan are aligning in the same way.
A passage connects the Main Plaza with a sunken patio, surrounded by high walls. Here the archaeologists found many fragments of simple ceramics, 60 skeletons, vessels and copper objects.
A few steps from the patio we came to the I-shaped ball court, which is very nicely preserved, with two of four big statues carved in stone, which had once stood at the four extremities of the ball court.
A very good reason why this town was founded here, were the springs found throughout the Cerro del Teúl.
It is located 214 km from the city of Zacatecas. Take the Federal Highway 54 heading to Villanueva, in Jerez take Mexico 23 S to Colotlán, arriving at Manuel Caloca take the diversion to the archaeological zone.
CERRO DE LAS VENTANAS
Since the year zero of our era, this site already evidenced forms of human life. There were several groups that over 2,000 years settled in that space and were transforming it, with impressive elevations they adapted the hill with terraces and cuts, adapting it for agriculture and human settlement.
They also understood that it was important to have protection, shelter, symbolic and cosmogonic spaces. An example is located on the highest rock: a stone wall covered with mud and some holes or openings that, in the distance, give the appearance of “windows”; likewise, as decoration, it has alternating stripes of two colors.
A radiocarbon dating was obtained, associated with the construction of this architectural element, which places it around the 8th century of our era. Another example is a monumental architectural complex that encompasses the entire summit. It is part of a set of buildings for ceremonial use that were in operation between the 7th and 15th centuries of our era.
The changes in the topography to adapt the architecture were transforming the appearance of the hill until building a cultural landscape, which functioned as a place of worship for at least seven or eight centuries.
It was between 600 and 1200 AD that the site’s apogee occurred. It is evidence about Zacatecas and how these peoples and societies defended their territory until the end (the arrival of the Spanish), but it was difficult for the conquerors to be able to dominate these peoples accustomed to inhospitable conditions, so they were an example of resistance . There is even talk of suicides when there was no other way out but to surrender.
Research indicates that the site was occupied in the last stage by the caxcanes, who were subdued by the conquerors in the Mixtón War, between 1540 and 1551.
Cerro de Las Ventanas is located in the town of El Remolino, near the municipal seat of Juchipila, Zacatecas. It is accessed by the Guadalajara-Saltillo federal highway.
More Tourist Attractions in ZACATECAS
Founded in 1546, the city combines romance, history, culture, nature and mining in a unique way. With a mix of curves and straight lines, the city center architecture is certainly distinctive. Due to its extensive cultural background, Zacatecas is the home to many museums with incredible historic value. The works in silver and quarry, as well as the Huichol embroidery, reflect an appreciation and passion for art. The city offer a number of attractions as the world’s only nightclub inside a mine, streets and alleys boasting its own legends, and a widely recognized hill, Cerro de la Bufa, offering many options from a museum to a zip line.… Leer Más
It is the second largest city in Zacatecas and was founded by Francisco Ibarra in 1554. Throughout much of its history, the city’s fate has followed the boom and bust of the mines and you can see it in the streets and in the colonial-era buildings. Today, Fresnillo continues to stand as one of the world’s largest producers of silver. This city has been the birthplace of great artists and prominent politicians and offers several attractions including squares, monuments, gardens, museums and mines.… Leer Más
The charm of Zacatecas overflows to the north and south in its Magic Towns, the streets marvel at temples, gardens, markets, museums and even pantheons located next to the most unexpected corners. Musical traditions brighten squares and restaurants. Each town delights the palate with its own varied flavors; with its artisan beers and award-winning mezcals. Wealth is also expressed with delicacy and an astonishing level of detail through the hands of its artisans. The enjoyment grows in the landscapes thanks to the warmth and hospitality of the inhabitants. The spell produced by these places lasts more than a day, with their respective illuminated nights.… Leer Más
Zacatecas offers a great variety of natural wonders, starting with its sky, famous for being clear most of the time. The land here is a deep red, because of the iron minerals, and the sky is an endless blue. This fertile land is good for agriculture and livestock as well and its wonderful rock formations, canyons, mines and other natural beauties offer a wide variety of options for the whole family.… Leer Más
Zacatecan cuisine is the product of multiple inventions, influences and exchanges, inheritance and remembrance of the indigenous and Spanish presence in the territory of the state. In pre-Hispanic times, the Chichimeca tribes took advantage of what the semi-desert soil offered for their food: nopales, tunas, magueys, biznagas, dates, roots; wild animals such as hares, rabbits, squirrels, wild boars, snakes, deer, and insects. Some of these supplies were prepared in order to be conserved for a long time, anticipating periods of famine.… Leer Más
Guided Tours in ZACATECAS
Flights & Hotels in ZACATECAS
More Tourist Attractions in MEXICO
Mexico is one of the best countries for Ecotourism as it has a great variety of flora and fauna, as well as a large number of refuges for extraordinary species. You can enjoy recreational activities of appreciation and knowledge of nature through contact with it, such as: stargazing, observation of natural attractions, wildlife and bird watching. Throughout México there are more than 176 protected natural areas, 5 of them considered by UNESCO as Natural Heritage of Humanity. Just for this and much more, we believe that Mexico is a Paradise for Ecotourism.… Leer Más
On the Beaches of Mexico you can immerse yourself in the intense blue ocean of the Pacific bays, sunbathe on the shore of the warm and transparent waves of the Caribbean Sea in Quintana Roo or even rest on the beautiful coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. Mexican beaches hide wonderful secrets for the traveler. By visiting them, in addition to enjoying the excellent climate and water activities, you can discover splendid archaeological sites and interesting colonial cities without traveling long distances.… Leer Más
Folklore, gastronomy, literary culture, art and exhibitions, is what you will find in the capitals of the states of Mexico. To the north, colonial Mexico, Puebla, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, the Sonoran desert and the California peninsula. To the east Veracruz and the gulf. To the west Acapulco, Oaxaca and Tuxtla Gutiérrez. And to the south the Riviera Maya and the pyramids of Chichén-Itzá, Tulúm and Cobá in Yucatán, Palenque in Chiapas, the cenotes, and the Central American jungles.… Leer Más
It is practically impossible to make a meticulous, and above all, accurate selection of the places to visit in Mexico. Each place that our country houses is unique and beautiful in its own way. Mexico, with its nearly 2 million km², has a large number of scenarios to offer, as well as endless activities to do. Do not lose your way and enter the places to visit in Mexico. In Mexico, apart from the beaches and its famous archaeological sites, there are many other really interesting sites and activities that you should know. In the surroundings of the main cities you will find places full of culture and tradition, where you can spend relaxing, interesting and fun vacations. On your trip through Mexico you cannot stop obtaining souvenirs, the crafts that are made here are of the highest quality and recognized worldwide. A shopping tour cannot be missed.… Leer Más
Mexico has an incredible diversity of landscapes, where the beauty of its beaches, internationally recognized, stands out. In its vast territory of coasts, there are beaches of unparalleled beauty, and colorful landscapes. A large network of first-class hotels and tourist services is available to visitors to these beaches. Mexico is also mystical places, dotted with archaeological testimonies inherited from its original inhabitants. Monuments made by the Mayas, Aztecs and Toltecs are located in magical landscapes, like lighthouses in an ocean of natural beauty. They offer visitors buildings that tell their history, and museums that collect their cultural heritage. And that keep alive ancestral traditions, in ceremonies and festivals, where you can enjoy cultural activities and entertainment.… Leer Más
A Magic Town is a place with symbols and legends, towns with history that in many cases have been the scene of transcendent events for our country, they are places that show the national identity in each of its corners, with a magic that emanates from its attractions ; visiting them is an opportunity to discover the charm of Mexico. The Magical Towns Program contributes to revalue a set of populations in the country that have always been in the collective imagination of the nation and that represent fresh and varied alternatives for national and foreign visitors. A town that through time and in the face of modernity, has conserved, valued and defended its historical, cultural and natural heritage; and manifests it in various expressions through its tangible and intangible heritage. A Magical Town is a town that has unique, symbolic attributes, authentic stories, transcendent events, everyday life, which means a great opportunity for tourist use, taking into account the motivations and needs of travelers.… Leer Más
The Gastronomy of Mexico has a great diversity of typical dishes, which is why it was recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The basic and representative ingredients of Mexican dishes are: corn, coriander, chili, beans, piloncillo, nopal and tomato. Mexican cuisine is also characterized by its sauces, which serve as an accompaniment to traditional dishes, prepared based on spices.… Leer Más
The Archaeological Zones are the cultural past of every Mexican. You will be amazed at the ambient, nature and the environment that surrounds them. Climbing to the top or being around it will take us back in time to admire every detail. México is a country of culture and traditions, many of which we have inherited from the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of this vast territory, although it is true that there were more settlements in the central and southern part of the country, it is also possible to find some archaeological remains in the north.
… Leer Más