Nuevo Casas Grandes Mexico

The city of Nuevo Casas Grandes is found in the northwestern region of Chihuahua, Mexico, in a valley near the Casas Grandes River and the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Nuevo Casas Grandes was founded in the 1870’s and is a sleepy, country town with wide dusty streets roamed by Mexican cowboys. Its citizenry is a mix of working folk, farming families and Mormon settlers that go back to the end of the 19th century.

The city’s name heralds from the nearby town of Casas Grandes, located one mile away. A train station built in the area of Nuevo Casas Grandes drew people towards it. Many of the region's inhabitants were closely related to that of the Native American ethnic groups in the southwest United States.

Also nearby Nuevo Casas Grandes, and unusual for Mexico’s largely Catholic heritage, are two Mormon villages. Of the Mormon’s living there, one community is polygamist while the other is not. Many of the Mormon’s maintain a variety of fruit orchards, such as peaches, apples, and pears; pecans are also grown here. The city itself also has a significant economic base in wheat and cattle.

Nuevo Casas Grandes is mainly known for two world-famous attractions: the important architectural ruins of the mysterious Paquimé and the world-famous pottery center of Mata Ortiz, both located nearby, and the two attractions go hand-in-hand. Travelers typically pass through Nuevo Casas Grandes, on guided tours, as they make their way to these intriguing attractions.

Archaeological Zone of Paquimé, Casas Grandes – a key historical and archeological site for northern Mexico, its people specialized in the production of hand-crafted goods, such as bells and ornaments made from copper, beads made from marine mollusk, and a considerable amount of superbly-made pottery. Casas Grandes pottery typically has a reddish surface, with designs painted on it in the colors of blue, brown, black, or red. The Paquime archeological zone is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

An interesting fact about this site is that a 5,000 pound meteorite, wrapped in linen, was found in one of its rooms and is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Another nearby archeological site is called Cuarenta Casas. This site features a series of cliff dwellings built in caves along the cliffs of Huapoca Canyon. Cuarenta Casas means “Forty Houses” and it was named by early Spanish explorers based on their calculation of the total number of site structures. There are five main cave communities in the area.

The world-famous “Potter’s Village” of Mata Ortiz is a popular tour in the Nuevo Casas Grandes area. It is known for its revival of pottery in the ancient Paquime-style. Pottery classes are also held in Mata Ortiz.

It is said that Nuevo Casas Grandes should be more of a tourist center than it is, due to these important attractions, and with the many tourism developments going on throughout Mexico, perhaps one day it will be.

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