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Jerez, Zacatecas

Magical Towns: 5th Part

On our last journey through Veracruz, Yucatan, Zacatecas, Morelos and Tabasco we are going to submerge on the culture of their magic cities

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February 2012

After going through 49 towns that hold the title of Magic Town, our adventure comes to an end on a journey along cities in the states of Veracruz, Yucatan, Zacatecas, Morelos and Tabasco.

This adventure, which allowed us to get a close-up of the architecture, gastronomy, culture and the mysticism of different towns, invites all strollers to discover their unmatched natural beauties.


Veracruz

  • Coatepec

A roasted coffee aroma, big old houses, a variety of parks and a good number of haciendas, are Coatepec’s characteristic features, a Veracruz town that holds the title of Mexico’s Historic Heritage Site.

The Magic
The coffee plantations and the interactive museums, such as the Café Talapan Museum and La Mata Museum, are the perfect places to discover the history of this town.

The Hidalgo Park, with its trees and gardens; the City Hall, with its carved stone columns; and the San Jeronimo Parrish, are some examples of the architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The former Orduña and Zinpizahua Haciendas, and the El Trianon Hacienda, are key spots in the coffee history of this town, whose original furniture and pieces of art made of cast iron preserve its yesteryear splendor.

Its flavors
Called “Mexico’s Coffee Capital”, Coatepec offers this drink whose aroma and flavor enchants the most demanding drinkers. In Coatepec, coffee is accompanied by delicious cottage cheese bread baked in a wood oven, better known as masafina.

The mole (a spicy paste) and a staple for many Mexican dishes; the stuffed chilies filled-up with different regional stews, and the chileatole (a salty corn soup), are some of the most frequently requested dishes in this town.

 

  • Xico

With beautiful viewpoints where one can admire canyons and tall waterfalls, Xicochimalco, an ancient Nahuatl name, was recently named a Magic Town.

Its magic
The Santa Magdalena Parrish, with a neoclassic facade and baroque details; the Portales Plaza, in honor of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla; and the ancient Caracol Alley with its local legends, are spots you cannot miss during your visit to this Veracruz town.

The Texolo waterfall, with a wall measuring over 260 feet and ideal for rappelling, and the river bearing the same name that runs through a ravine, are natural sites surrounded by abundant vegetation that enchant visitors.

Every year during the month of July, an endless floor mat of sawdust, painted with different images and designs in honor of Mary Magdalene, runs over 3,300 feet of Xico’s main streets. At midnight, among lights and flowers, the town’s deity passes along this colorful carpet until arriving at its church. These events are part of Xico’s most important celebration, the Mary Magdalene Festival.

Its flavors
Standing out, the mole from Xico includes among its ingredients ancho chilies, banana, chocolate, apple and other ingredients, making it one of the town’s favorite flavors.

Another dish that stands out is the xonequei, a bean stew boiled with leaves of a climbing plant bearing the same name and with a heart shape, corn flour balls seasoned with lard, and chilies can also be added to it.


Yucatan

  • Izamal

Known as the “Three Cultures City” by combining cultural features from pre-Hispanic times, the colonial era and modern Mexico, Izamal is characterized by the yellow color if its old houses aligned along the cobblestone streets. An almost mystical peace invades visitors that stroll along this charming spot, and imprints a magical touch to its environment.

The Magic
Its archeological site made up of five pyramids with remains that can still be seen, is the place with the most tradition and culture in Izamal.

The Purisima Concepcion Temple, with a neo-gothic style; the Franciscan Convent, with Latin-American’s second largest atrium offering a unique light and sound show; and the former San Antonio de Padua Convent, make up the architectural history of this Magic Town.

Its flavors
Izamal’s traditional food offers the classic Yucatan dishes, such as cochinita pibil (pork meat with red chili), tamales, beans with pork, deer meat with pipian (a green seasoning paste), panuchos (bean and meat gorditas), among other options.

For the sweet tooth, nothing better than sweet potato with coconut, the pumpkin seed marzipan, Mexican Hawthorne preserve, yucca with honey and the ziricote candy.


Zacatecas

  • Jerez de Garcia Salinas

The entry point to the Tlaltenango Canyon and the birthplace of the poet Ramon Lopez Velarde, Jerez is the ideal place to take a break in the middle of a relaxed provincial environment full of traditions, customs and legends.

The Magic
The Rafael Paez Garden, with a Moorish-style kiosk and its beautiful fountain; the Lopez Velarde Museum, that still possesses objects of the local poet, and the Hinojosa Theater, opened in 1878, take us to the past and present of this Magic Town.

Furthermore, the Soledad Sanctuary, a town’s symbol; the Inmaculada Concepcion Parrish, built with white quarry; and the Tower Building, with a romantic and Mozarabic Mudéjar-style, are clear examples of the different styles that converge on this town, such as neo-classic, baroque and gothic.

Its flavors
The traditional cuisine from Jerez is known for the boda stew (pork meat with guajillo and ancho chilies sauce), red pozole (a corn and pork soup), red seasoned beef and tortilla soup.

For desert, this town offers its delicious apple or quince paste, coconut candy, prickle pear cheese and the sweet potato milk, among others.

 

  • Teul de Gonzalez

On the southwestern region of Zacatecas, on the Jalisco border, life in Teul goes by without hurries, without pollution and under a pure sky.

This Magic Town encompasses archeological sites, colonial architecture, adventure sites, folklore and landscapes that all together welcome visitors at any time during the year.

The Magic
The Teul Hill, a town’s symbol, boasts about its Nahuatl name that means “where gods dwell”. This site is home to the municipality’s archeological site, whose interior still possess remains from ancient cultures that settled in the area.

The mescal factory, the San Juan Bautista Parrish, the Arms Plaza in front of the Municipal Museum, and the City Hall, are places worth admiring in Teul de Gonzalez.

Its flavors
The huachal and mole sandwiches (corn with cactus), the meatballs and the yellow chicken (prepared with yellow rice) are the ideal dishes to also drink a delicious mescal from the region.

The most frequently requested deserts are the oven-baked gorditas on oak leaves and the rice with milk.

 

  • Sombrerete

This town from Zacatecas, which was an important metal producer, boasts a vast vice-royal past among its main buildings.

The San Juan Bautista Parrish, built in 1777 and with a baroque style, possesses layered walls and pink quarry that always catch the visitors’ attention.

Only behind the city of Zacatecas, Sombrerete is the second destination in the state with the largest architectural richness. Among its main attractions we can find are the Our Lady of Guadalupe Temple, the Santo Domingo Temple, the San Francisco Convent, the Municipal Museum and other interesting sites as well.


Morelos

  • Tepoztlan

Tepoztlan is located between mountains and huge cliffs; a Morelos town whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means “the place where copper is abundant”.

With picturesque and hilly cobblestone streets, this Magical Town is divided into eight neighborhoods and three districts established since colonial times.

The Magic
The main attraction of this Magical Town is, without a doubt, the Tepozteco, a rock that elevates almost 2,000 feet over the Tepoztlan valley, and where an amazing archeological site is found. On the hilltop, one can find a pre-Hispanic worship site, which also offers a panoramic view of the town.

A belief among locals and foreigners is that the negative energy transforms into positive energy in this magic place thanks to Ometochtli-Tepoztecatl, the pulque, fertility and harvesting god.

The Natividad Temple and former convent, the Natividad Parrish, the Carlos Pellicer Museum and the Tepoztlan Museum and Historical Archive are spots one cannot miss.

Its flavors
With a pre-Hispanic hallmark, corn is the staple for Tepoztlan’s dishes. Tortillas, tamales and atole (a corn drink) are always present everywhere in this town.

The pipian, the cured beef with sour cream and cheese, the bean soup and the bean and broad bean tlacoyos (a fried gordita) are the flavors people enjoy the most.

One thing we cannot miss is the famous ice cream of exotic flavors.

 

  • Tlayacapan

Standing out due to its craftworks, Tlayacapan is also known as the birthplace of the Chinelo, a character born during colonial times that would use costumes and dance to make fun of the Spaniards that dominated the indigenous population.

The Magic
The former San Juan Bautista Convent, a World Heritage Site, is part of the Convents Route, an international renowned tourist attraction due to its 16th century architecture, its history and the evangelization process undertaken by Spaniards within Mexico.

The Cereria Cultural Center, a 17th century building, offers visitors photo and figures exhibitions from different places and traditions; it is currently one of the most visited sites in Tlayacapan.

Since pottery is the town’s main activity, one can find a high-temperature ceramic factory that produces clay pots, flowerpots, pitchers, mortars, piggy banks, saucepans and complete sets made of glazed clay and with colorful designs.

Its flavors
Just like in Tepoztlan, the traditional dish from this region is the pipian, which is usually accompanied by salt tamales, small lake fish and white beans.

The turkey mole, and the bean and broad bean tlacoyos, are always present in every Tlayacapan home. Furthermore, the traditional oven-baked fruits, accompanied by ice cream, are the perfect desert.


Tabasco

  • Tapijulapa

This place surrounded by jungle and water takes the visitor to the heart of Tabasco’s paradise. Its cobblestone streets and its picturesque homes painted in white with gable roofs are the perfect sight for many people.

The Magic
The Kolem Jaá Ecological Preserve, located only two miles from downtown, possesses beautiful waterfalls, sulfur water pools and abundant vegetation ideal for water rafting, photographic safaris, mountain biking, rappelling, Tyrolese, speleology and other activities.

Access to this natural water park is found crossing the Oxolotan River on boat. Furthermore, the Villa Luz and the Sardina Cave are located only 3,300 feet away, where one can reach a long creek with blind fish within a huge cavern that possesses a 1,600 feet gallery.

The Santiago Apostol Temple, built in the 17th century, and the former Oxolotlan Convent, built in the 16th century by the Dominican monks from Chiapas, are two buildings with an impressive architecture.

Its flavors
The mone de cocha, which is pork meat seasoned with regional spices and wrapped in a vegetable leaf and steam-cooked, is the most traditional dish from Tapijulapa.

However, the wild beef, fish or chicken tamales, as well as the banana bread, the papaya candy with naseberry and the pozol (drink made of corn flower and grounded cocoa) are also favorites among locals.

Related Images

Waterfall Texolo, Xico, Veracruz Tapijulapa, Tabasco Coatepec, Veracruz Jerez, Zacatecas Tlayacapan, Morelos Izamal, Yucatán Tepoztlán, Morelos Sombrerete, Zacatecas
Consejo de Promoción Turística de México. All Rights Reserved 2011