Central East, Mexico
Querétaro, a primarily agricultural and livestock-raising state, is renowned for opals -green, honey, red and fire stones-, mercury, zinc and lead. The Capital of the state, Querétaro city offers a fine architecture, rich history and active cultural life. Other interesting cities of the state are San Juan del Río and Tequisquiapán. First settled by Otomí Indians, absorbed into the Aztec empire in the 15th century, Querétaro was conquered by the Spaniards in 1531. Centre of political upheavals, Querétaro was the heart of conspiration of creoles (Mexican of Spanish descent) plotting to free Mexico from the Spanish rule in the early 19th century. The Mexican Constitution, still in force, was signed here in 1917.
Palacio del Gobierno del Estado
Known by Casa de la Corregidora in 1810 -Home of the mayor-magistrate's wife, Ms. Josefa Ortiz-, this is the present state govenment building. In this Palace, Josefa Ortiz together with other conspirators such as Ignacio Allende and Father Miguel Hidalgo were plotting the course for independence. When El Corregidor, Ms Josefa Ortiz's husband found out, he imprisoned her in her room. Josefa Ortiz managed to whisper a warning to a coconspirator, who notified Hidalgo and Allende. Open daily from 7 am to 9 pm. Free Admission.
Convento de la Santa Cruz
Considered one of the city's most interesting sights, this monastery was built between 1654 and about 1815. The site was the place in which a miraculous appearance of St James had led Otomí Indians to surrender to conquistadores and Christianity. It also hosted the headquarters of the Emperor Maximiliam while under siege in the city, between February and May 1867. The convent shows an ingenious water system and unique colonial ways of cooking and refrigeration. Nowadays, the convent is used as a religious school. Open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 2 pm and 4 to 6 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm. Free admission.
Jardín de la Corregidora
This beautiful garden is marked by a statue of the War of the Independence heroine -Josefa Ortiz, la Corregidora-. Behind it stands the Arbol de la Amistad, or Tree of Friendship, planted in 1977 in a mixture of soils from around the world. The tree symbolizes the city's hospitality to all visitors.
Fountain of Neptune
Designed in 1797 by the renowned Mexican neoclassical architect Eduardo Treguerras, the fountain initially stood in the orchard of the Monastery of San Antonio. At present, the fountain remains next to the Church of Santa Clara.
Plaza de la Independencia
Known as Plaza de las Armas, this beautiful square is bordered by restored colonial mansions. Its central fountain, built in 1842, is dedicated to the Marqués de la Villa del Villar, who provided the city with drinking water and constructed Querétaro's aqueduct.
Mexico Regional Landmarks
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