Parras de la Fuente
With its vineyard strewn hillsides and rugged exterior, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of Mexico's capital for wine production – Baja California. It's a common misconception that Baja is one of the earliest regions for wine distillery, when in fact Parras de la Fuente lays claim to the oldest operating vineyard in the Americas. Casa Madero, on the sun-dappled slopes just North of the colonial town, is recorded to have been producing wine here since 1529. Parras de la Fuente's record for wine production, coupled with its unspoilt colonial beauty, led to its enrollment upon the Pueblos Magicos program in 2004 and a decree from the regional government that the city should be preserved in line with its new status.
Nestled amid an efflorescent oasis along the Southern corridor of Coahula State, Parras de la Fuente enjoys a temperate climate typical of the Eastern municipality. Less than two hours drive from the “Athens of Mexico” and state capital – Saltillo, the remarkably green city beckons with leafy, cobblestone streets and a bohemian air befitting of its colonial heritage. Parras de la Fuente endures a popular nickname - “ City of Grapes By The Fountains”, owing to its hillside realm of vineyards and a smattering of commemorative water fountains dotted about its municipality.
Birthplace of the martyred revolutionist – President Francisco Madero, the stunning city of Parras de la Fuente hides a number of claims to fame within its proximity. President Madero grew up within Parras and became a symbol of hope for the town during the unstable political fallout of 1913. Mexico's independence was once again being tested under the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz in 1911. Madero is considered by historians one of the vital cogs that led to the deposition of Porfirio Díaz. In 1913, Madero fatefully placed his trust in the army commander Victoriano Huerta for protection from those whom opposed him. Huerta was secretly operating under instruction from the nephew of Porfirio Diaz - known as Felix. Madero was subsequently arrested, deposed and executed, considered a conspiracist and omnipresent threat to the Huerta/ Diaz regime. President Madero is considered a tragic hero within his home town, with many memorials erected in his honor. The Madero House and Wine Museum stands in honor of the Madero family, whom were well known in the area for their wine production. Now a thriving hotel, the Hacienda Antigua de Perote allows visitors to marvel at the cozy interior once enjoyed by the Madero family.
Fed by natural springs alleged to source from an undiscovered subterranean aquifer, the Tanques de Luz remains one of the key tourist attractions within Parras. A man-made lagoon incepted to control the flow of water down to old electricity generating turbines in the North and East districts of the city; Tanques de Luz has today become a lido, where locals pour down in their droves during summer for a cooling swim. Few realize they are bathing within the earliest source of electricity in Mexico! Nearby sit the behemoth Parras Aqueducts, engineered in the early 20th Century to carry water from the Tanques de Luz through the heart of the town.
Parras de la Fuente is a city burgeoning with old Porfirian relics and fascinating haciendas. Many who drop by to learn of the Parras' love affair with wine production find themselves commencing on a journey through the ages of culture, which still co-exist harmoniously within the ancient city.
Attractions & Things To Do in Parras de la Fuente
Museo Del Vino – a key attraction within the center of town that depicts the growth of Parras' flourishing wine-making industry through the ages. Explore a plethora of artifacts including grinding machines and retorts, sourced from Paris by the Madero family during the 1800's. Open: Monday - Friday, 9 am – 4 pm.
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Sanctuary – the former home of Franciscan monks during the 16th Century, the Guadelupe Sanctuary remains a site of tourist interest, owing to the many examples of art on display from acclaimed local artist Antonio Torres. Open: Daily, 10 am – 6 pm.