As far as the silver cities go, Querétaro is sometimes known as the ugly sibling. Indeed, although it’s believed to be one of the fastest growing cities in the northern hemisphere thanks to it being the base for international industries, including the aero- space industry, its rather frantic outskirts can give a misguided first impression. The city’s large, historic heart is characterized by charming pedestrian streets, and very clean ones at that, stunning plazas and interesting churches. The smart restaurants serve up quality cuisine and the museums reflect Querétaro’s important role in Mexican history. Three hours north of Mexico City is the beautiful city of Querétaro, well worth a two day visit, with lots to see and enjoy.
Primera Plus Bus: 3–hours north of Mexico City – Terminal Norte. Cost – £12.05 (First Class).
Residencia Sofía: A delightful little hotel, very quiet and very relaxing. The staff are exceptionally polite and helpful. Rooms are very spacious, clean and well appointed. It’s a super location just a 10 minute walk from the historic centre.
Museo del Calendario (calendar museum) is the first of its kind in the world (apparently). This extraordinary museum is the labor of love of its owner Señor Landin, whose family has been producing calendars in Mexico for decades. There are two parts to the museum: 19 exhibition rooms that house the original artworks (including reproductions) that featured in decades of Mexico’s calendars, along with over 400 original retro-style calendars themselves. The second is the building itself, a stunningly renovated mansion, complete with beautiful garden and courtyards.
Just on the edge of the historic centre there’s a fine view of ‘Los Arcos’, Querétaro’s emblematic 1.28km long aqueduct, with 74 towering sandstone arches built between 1726 and 1738.,
Templo de San Francisco: This impressive church fronts Jardín Zenea. Pretty colored tiles on the dome were brought from Spain in 1540, around the time construction of the church began.
Museo Regional. The ground floor of this museum holds interesting exhibits on pre-Hispanic Mexico, archaeological sites, Spanish occupation and the state’s various indigenous groups. The upstairs exhibits reveal Querétaro’s role in the independence movement and post-independence history. The table at which the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848, ending the Mexican–American War, is on display, as is the desk of the tribunal that sentenced Emperor Maximilian to death.
Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz: Ten minutes’ walk east of the center of Querétaro is one of the city’s most interesting sights. The convent was built between 1654 and about 1815 on the site of a battle in which a miraculous appear- ance of Santiago (St James) led the Otomí to surrender to the conquistadors and Christianity. Emperor Maximilian had his headquarters here while under siege in Querétaro from March to May 1867. After his surrender and subsequent death sentence, he was jailed here while awaiting the firing squad!