Querétaro, World Heritage Site 1996
The “Pearl of the Bajio” – Santiago de Querétaro on the State of the same name, Querétaro
The Otomí, Tarasco and the Chichimeca lived in what is now Querétaro. The City is well known for his colonial style buildings, many ornate Baroque monuments from the 17th and 18th centuries located in the Historic Center of the city. The Arches, the Church of San Francisco, the Aqueduct, the Cathedral, the House of the Corregidora, the Zenea Garden, the Church and former Convent of the Holy Cross and the Casa Zacatecana Museum.
El Pueblito or El Cerrito
30 m high pyramid is 7 km from the centre of Querétaro. AD 400-600 in the Teotihuacan period and AD 650 -1050 in the Toltec period.
Chichimecas and then Otomí were the owners of these lands. Kho-ni, the Otomi leader adopted the Christian faith to save his people by accepting the laws imposed by the Spaniards. He took the Christian name of Fernando de Tapia and was granted permission in 1532 to establish an indigenous village on the site saving his people supervised by the Spaniard Juan Sanchez Alanis. Their main sacred sites were destroyed constructing churches and buildings on top of them. Later on, the Spanish brought the Tarasco Indians and gave the place the name of “Ouerentaro” from the Tarasco meaning “at the ball-court” ad reference to the form of the narrow valley.
Otomis, Tarascos and Chichimecas lived in the area. The site was important for the Spanish in order to reach the capital of New Spain and to supply the mining towns of Zacatecas and Guanajuato. The Chichimecas were hostile and many of them were killed along with the less passive natives, while the rest were used as slaves and the women were raped to facilitate the evangelization.
The wealth of Querétaro in the mid-18th century is reflected by the Baroque buildings. In the early 19th century its prosperity was based on textile and tobacco.
- In 1810 with the Mexican Independence the economy in Querétaro declined.
- In 1848 the peace treaty with the United States was concluded in this city.
- In 1867 Emperor Maximilian was imprisoned and later executed in Querétaro.
- In 1917 the new National Constitution was signed by all the revolutionary groups after two months of debate in the Teatro de la República in Querétaro.
Querétaro became an Episcopal See with the Franciscans, Augustinians and Dominicans, who founded large houses, followed by the Jesuits and Filipenses, as well as female orders of nuns. Baroque convents of Santa Teresa, El Carmen, Santa Clara and Santa Rosa are outstanding.
Franciscan Missions of Sierra Gorda
The richly decorated churches, monasteries and missions were built during the last phase of the conversion to Christianity in the mid-18th century.
In the center of Santiago de Querétaro you can appreciate the magnificent buildings, the 18th. C. Capuchinas Convent, the City Museum where the emperor Maximilian spent his last days, El Cerro de las Campanas or the Hill of the Bells on the outskirts of the city was where the Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg from Austria was executed. After fighting during five years the French intervention and the imposition of the Austrian Emperor Maximilian, the General Mariano Escobedo won the battle.
San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato is 65 Km./ 40 miless – 1 hr. 10 minutes from Querétaro.