Urban evolution is a fascinating phenomenon. A city transforming, twisting and molding with the times, whilst retaining its timeless character. Capital cities can rarely keep up with the rate at which the urban-scape changes, but somehow, the populous former railroad town of North-East Mexico's Coahuila State has managed to bridge the culture gap between old and new. Blessed with unblemished skies of azure blue and year-round sunshine, a wander through the Hispanic heart of Torreón throws up endless reminders of its inimitable past.
Located at the far-flung South West of Coahuila State, the very situation of Torreón upon the fast flowing Nazas River lends itself to once in a lifetime activities, such as white water rafting. The once earthen Palmito Dam that controls the water levels for a number of Torreón's tributaries is a popular place among locals for kayaking down to the Santiaguillo Lagoons. Flowing through the heart of Coahuila Desert's “Laguna” region, its inevitable the Ocotillo (desert coral) lined river should attract an overwhelmingly diverse biosphere – animal species including the black turtles and majestic “gray” fox. Much of Torreón's Southern area comprises the vast lowlands of the Chihuahua and Mapimi Desert, making it ideal for exploring aboard dune buggies.
Bizarre natural wonders can be found aplenty around Torreón, however few are as scientifically astounding as the Zona del Silencio (Zone of Silence) at the North West of the city. Founded in 1966 by Mexican chemical engineer Augusto Harry de la Pena, the area has baffled experts since hertz and radio wave transmission is almost entirely impossible. Frequent meteor showers occur within the zone, leading scientists to believe it could be one of the earliest landscapes formed by the “Big Bang.” Meteor watching opportunities for the larger showers are extremely rare, however you may be lucky enough to spot smaller rocks or shooting stars during the summer months.
Founded in 1566, Torreón is one of the oldest municipal cities in either Coahuila, or the neighboring state of Durango. Despite its age, much of the historical quadrant seen today did not develop until the 17th Century. Originally an outpost for the monitoring of the River Nazas, Torreón grew up around a single watchtower on the North shore. You'll notice a huge concrete replica of the structure on the approach to the Museum of the Site “El Torreoncito.” Erected in 1853 by architect Leonardo Zuloaga, it stands as an important memorial commemorating the foundation of the city. Torreón's people are renowned for their celebration and memorial of every facet of the city's past, including the great architect whom now rests within an opulent mausoleum, at the front of the museo. Built in 1928, the Catedral de Carmen exemplifies the beauty of early Art Deco influence in Torreón, although you might be more taken by the Franco neo-Gothic facade of nearby Parroquia de Guadalupe.
With ornamental facades lining every street of Torreón, its historical beauty can sometimes overshadow the many modern delights to be found throughout. Home to the premier division Torreón soccer team, the city hosts regular national events for both the Primera Division and Santos Laguna Championship at Estado Corona. The old irrigation canal, now known as Canal de la Perla some 30 feet beneath the city also provides an interesting alternative attraction for those interested in the city's darker secrets, or early engineering. Winding its way for some 2 miles beneath the city's historic sprawl, Canal de la Perla represents the hidden magic of Torreón – existing where you least expect it!
Attractions & Things To Do in Torreón
Cristo de las Noas – at 71 feet, the towering image of Christ atop a hill to the North of Torreón is impossible to miss. It is the third largest such structure of the Redeemer in North America and guards a 19th Century hilltop temple, containing a wealth of Jesuit art and sculptures from the 18th Century. Open: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 4: 30 pm.
Canal de la Perla – a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels where the cacophony of city life is but an echo. Explore the netherworld of Torreón with a guided tour around the former canal system that once partially diverted the flow of River Nazas for use by the city. Open: Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 5:30 pm.