Chihuahua: Cradle of the Mexican Revolution
Founded as a mining town in the early 18th century, Chihuahua City has attractions in and around town. Those returning from roughing it in the Copper Canyon might be tempted to stretch their stay, enjoying the city along with such regional treats as baked goat, pork tacos, and savory bean soup.
With a population of more than 600,000, the capital of the state of the same name (Mexico’s largest) is an odd assembly of colonial and modern. Historically, it's bred independent, hardy men and women, including Revolutionary War hero (and rogue) Pancho Villa as well as Francisco I. Madero, first---and short-¬lived--- president of the modern era.
Chihuahua’s downtown has an open, commercial feeling.
It is neither compact nor charming, but nonetheless worth exploring.
The main sights are north and south of Plaza Libertad. At the Palacio Federal,
visit the cell where Independence hero Father Miguel Hidalgo was imprisoned. Across the street at the Palacio de Gobierno, murals describing regional history adorn the interior patio where the priest faced the firing squad.
South of Plaza Libertad are the baroque Iglesia de San Francisco, the oldest church in Chihuahua state,
and Chihuahua Cathedral, with huge pipe organ and a small art museum. These and other sights can be seen on the city trolley tour.
One of the city’s most impressive tourist attractions is the Museum of the Mexican Revolution, which highlights the state's history and culture. The collection is great, but the most interesting aspect is the venue itself: the rambling home of Pancho Villa’s wife, Luz Corral.
Art aficionados can see contemporary art at Casa Redonda museum as well as some rather amateurish pieces at the neoclassic mansion Quinta Gameros.
The artist Sebastián hales from Chihuahua; see reproductions of his distinctive metal sculpture at Museo de Sebastián, and keep an eye peeled for the real McCoy around the city.
Many visitors enjoy a tour of the dairy farms and cheese factories surrounding nearby Ciudad Cuauhtémoc (100 km from Chihuahua). Named for the penultimate Aztec emperor, the city is better known for the fair-haired Mennonite pacifists who migrated there in the early 20th century.