Almost 2500m above sea level and crammed into a narrow gully between two hills, the old silver town of ZACATECAS is overflowing with ornate colonial architecture and intriguing museums, ranking alongside Guanajuato as the Bajío’s finest destinations – the obvious wealth projected by its fine stone buildings makes this another city that seems plucked straight out of classical Spain. Zacatecas is especially known for its high-quality art museums and subterranean tours of the old silver mine, Mina El Edén, but the main highlight is the ornate cathedral, from which all other main sights are within walking distance. Just a few paces from the market and from the important junction of Juárez and Hidalgo, the Jardín Independencia is in effect the city’s main plaza, where people gather in the evenings, get their shoes shined and wait for buses. West of the Jardín Independencia is the Alameda, a thin strip of stone benches, splashing fountains and a bandstand that makes a cool retreat from the heat of the day.

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