Jerez de García Salinas
Hemmed by vast agricultural plains and the occasional forest strewn valley, the old mining town of Jerez de García Salinas is the modern escapists dream. Zacatecas state in the North Central portion of Mexico is renowned for sun-dappled meadows and a distinctly rustic character – few towns conveying the beauty of the region's old authentic charm quite like Jerez de García Salinas. Founded by the Guachichil and Zacatec peoples around the 13th Century, the town remains very much Mexican in personality, despite abounding Spanish colonial gems. Festival of the Spring is a key date in the calendar of Jerez citizens, for this marks the start of the annual crop showing its colors. Celebrations transform the usually placid streets into a series of segueing parties and parades, with bull-fighting, dancing and craft stalls lining the plaza. Highlights include the cattle market and plaza concert – both of which remain the longest recurring traditions for the Mayan Festival of Spring.
Incorporated onto the Mexican Tourism Secretariat's “Pueblos Magicos” initiative in 2007, the delights of Jerez de García Salinas are slowly being unveiled to Mexico and the world. Innovative developments to the “town of festivals” now attract visitors from the U.S and beyond – all keen to absorb the culture and spiritual relevance of festivities such as the annual Spring Break and Desfile de Los Charos (Parade of The Cowboys.) Widely regarded the town's most affluent exhibition of traditional culture and custom, Desfile de Los Charos draws ranch owners and cowboys from across the nation, to witness the burning of Judas effigies on Holy Saturday. It is as much an act of faith, as it is a traditional rite, continuing to grow in prominence and popularity every year.
Seasoned travelers concur that no two visits to Mexico are ever alike and it's an observation that strongly applies to the magical pueblos of Jerez. Decked out in the bold colonial architecture that characterizes many a large rural town, Jerez fascinates visitors with a distinctly Andalusian air. Stark white adobes built in the Moorish style of those found along the Strait of Gibraltar, influence a Mediterranean beauty, off-set by the remarkably preserved baroque and neo-Classical churches. Church of La Inmaculada Concepcion is a worthy example - its Gothic North front guarded by fairytale bell towers of a gentle apricot hue. A series of portales fringe the main plaza - including the ancient Humbolt Portal with its timber frame structure and wrought iron gas lamps. The 16th Century house of town founder Juan de la Torre (known as Casa de la Torre) stands proudly beside the Humboldt Portal and remains largely unaltered both inside or out. Today, visitors may wander the simple adobe and admire the many wall hangings and carvings once loved by the town's prolific founding father.
Bounded by the sprawl of Zacatecas' gently undulating agricultural terrain, Jerez de Garcia Salinas remains a popular starting point for visitors seeking the old world charm of the region's vineyards and coffee plantations. Crumbling haciendas line the routes out of the town, prompting many a trekker to stop off and explore their curious history. Peaceful and picturesque, Jerez de Garcia Salinas remains one of the few pueblos magicos as yet unspoiled by the annual stampede of tourists.
Attractions & Things To Do in Jerez de García Salinas
Church of La Inmaculada Concepcion – built during the latter part of the 16th Century, this Spanish colonial church is one of the oldest within Jerez. Its exterior was crafted in the Andalusian style – an imitation of the parroquia of the same name, situated within the town of Andalusia, Southern Spain. Open: Monday – Saturday; Sundays for services.