Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes

Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes
Main square, a landmark of the city, is often called "the exedra"
Location of Aguascalientes within the state
Location of the state of Aguascalientes
Country Mexico
State Aguascalientes
Municipality Aguascalientes
Founded 22 October 1575
Government
 - Mayor Gabriel Arellano Espinoza
Area
 - City 385 km2 (148.6 sq mi)
Elevation 1,888 m (6,194 ft)
Population (2005)
 - City 663,671
 Metro 701,170
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Website http://www.ags.gob.mx

The city of Aguascalientes is the capital of the state of Aguascalientes in western central Mexico. It stands on the banks of the Río Aguascalientes, 1880 meters above sea level, at 21°51′N 102°18′W / 21.85°N 102.3°W / 21.85; -102.3. It is the municipal seat for the municipality of the same name.

Contents

History

The city was founded on 22 October 1575 by Juan de Montoro as a postal service rest stop between the city of Zacatecas and Mexico City. Although its founders did not envision it becoming a major city, it became the capital of the newly formed state of the same name when its territory was split off from the adjacent state of Zacatecas in 1835. When the state separated from Zacatecas, Aguascalientes raced ahead in its development, while the state of Zacatecas remained behind in comparison.

Aguascalientes was born out of four original neighborhoods. Guadalupe was where most travellers stayed on their way to Mexico City, and has some of the most beautiful cemeteries in Mexico. Triana, named after a neighborhood in Seville, has the most Spanish influence in its architecture, and is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It is home to the José Guadalupe Posada museum and the magnificent Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. La Salud was intended to be a great convent complex, but it was never completed; only the church, cemetery and square remain lined in colonial-style stone streets. The San Marcos neighborhood is where the fabled San Marcos Fair has been celebrated for hundreds of years, and is notable for its neoclassical garden and baroque church.

Name

The name originates from the Spanish words, "aguas calientes" meaning "hot springs," part of the original name of "Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de las Aguas Calientes" (Village of our Lady of Assumption of the Hot Waters). When the city was first settled by Juan de Montoro and 12 families, it was given this name for its abundance of hot springs. These thermal features are still in demand in the city's numerous spas and even exploited for domestic use. People from Aguascalientes (both the city and the state) are known by the whimsical Spanish demonym hidrocálidos or "hydrothermal" people.

Modern day

Aguascalientes today identifies itself as at the confluence of tradition and industry. Its preserved colonial center testifies to its rich architectural heritage and cultural vision. On the other hand, the precisely planned peripheral expressways, as well as its first class avenues and lanes, are surrounded with industrial parks that employ thousands of people. The state reports a high index of migrants, especially from other states, seeking to acquire a better quality of life.

Industry, economy and demographics

"Plaza Bosques Tower"

According the latest census by the National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Data Processing (INEGI), Aguascalientes City was the 13th largest metropolitan area by population in the country, with over 900,000 people in the year 2000. It is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico. In fact, the city's urban area has grown so much during the last 10 years, that it has surpassed the boundaries of the neighboring municipality of Jesús María, annexing its municipal administrative head town to the metropolitan area of Aguascalientes, converted now into a suburb. Several private sources have publicized the population in 2005 as one million inhabitants. Technically, as of the 2005 census the city's population was 663,671, whereas the municipality's population was 723,043.

Horse on San Marcos Blvd. New Capital City financial district

The largest Nissan plant outside Japan is located in the city, and among other models of cars, it manufactures the worldwide production of the Sentra and Versa. Due to this the city has a significant Japanese population.

Texas Instruments has one plant in Aguascalientes, it is dedicated to integrated circuitry (IC) manufacturing. Sensata Technologies, former Texas Instruments Sensors and Controls division, has one plant in the city, making sensors and controls for automobile, HVAC and industrial use. Flextronics is another electronics manufacturer that has a plant located in Aguascalientes City. There are also several companies that work in the robotics industry, the most notable being FANUC Robotics.

Historic Ensemble of Aguascalientes Camino Real de Tierra Adentro *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Country Mexico
Type Cultural
Criteria II, IV,
Reference 1351
Region ** Latin America and the Caribbean
Inscription history
Inscription 2010 (34th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

Cultural life

Government Palace: a forest of columns, carved arches and imperial stairs
INEGI's offices.

Aguascalientes organizes the largest festival held in Mexico, the San Marcos Fair, which takes place from the middle of April to the beginning of May. The celebration was held originally in the San Marcos church, neighborhood, and its magnificent neoclassical garden; since then, it has greatly expanded to cover a huge area of exposition spaces, bullrings, nightclubs, theaters, performance stages, theme park, hotels, convention centers, and other attractions. It attracts almost 7 million visitors to Aguascalientes every year.

The old part of the city revolves around downtown and the four original neighborhoods from which the city expanded. The most notable building here is the Baroque Government Palace, dating from 1664 and constructed out of red volcanic stone, it is known for its hundred arches. The prominent Baroque Cathedral, begun in 1575, is the oldest building in the city. The tall column in the center of the main square dates from colonial times; it held a statue of a Spain's viceroy, which was toppled when the country gained independence; the current sculpture on its summit commemorates Mexican independence.

The extraordinary Baroque facade of Guadalupe Church

Aguascalientes historic downtown is home to several outstanding museums including the Aguascalientes Museum (Museo de Aguascalientes), the city's art museum, housed in a Classical-style building designed by the beloved self-trained architect Refugio Reyes; the Guadalupe Posada Museum (Museo Guadalupe Posada), located in the historic nationhood of Triana, exhibits the life and work of José Guadalupe Posada; and the State History Museum, which is housed in an elegant Art Nouveau mansion typical of the Porfirian period with and ornate patio and dining room with vegetable motifs in a Mediterranean style, with a French Academism facade, and interior columns and an arcade of pink stone characteristic of Porfirian Eclecticism.

Camarin of San Diego: Interior detail

Other designs by Refugio Reyes include the Paris Hotel, the Francia Hotel, and his masterpiece, the superb Church of San Antonio, considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Mexico. The Church of our Lady of Guadalupe possesses an extraordinarily exuberant Baroque facade designed by José de Alcibar, a renowned architect of the period considered to be one of the most famous artists in Mexico in the 1770s. The Camarin of the Immaculate in the church of San Diego is considered by historians to be the last Baroque building in the world; it links the Baroque and Neoclassical styles; it is the largest of the fewer than ten of these type of structures built in the whole continent.

Aguascalientes is also home to some of the country's leading provincial theaters. Outstanding examples are the Morelos Theater, historically important for its role during the Mexican Revolution as a convention site; architecturally, the building is notable for its facade and interior, which houses a small museum. The Teatro Aguascalientes is the city's premier theatre and opera house and is equipped with the latest technology.

Morelos Theater

In addition, in the modern section of the city, the Museo Descubre astonishes as an interactive museum of science and technology aimed at providing with a hands-on learning experience. It also possesses an IMAX screen. The Museum of Contemporary Art is the city's premier art museum.

The gothic structure of the Los Arquitos cultural center used to be one of the first bathhouses in the city, declared a historic monument in 1990. The Ojocaliente is also an original bathhouse still in use today, and fed with thermal springs. La Estacion Historic Area (The Old Train Station Complex) contains the Old Train Station and Railway Museum historic complex, which at some point in 1884 formed the largest rail hub and warehouses in all Latin America. The complex is adorned with dancing fountains, a railway plaza and original locomotives and monuments. It was in this complex that the first locomotive completely manufactured in Mexico was made. It symbolizes the progress of the city and its transformation from the rural to an emergent industrial economy. The rail factories supplied with railways and locomotives to whole of Mexico and Central America. The Train Station is also historic due to its unusual (for Mexico) English architectural style. The Alameda avenue, the railway hangars, the factory complexes, and its surrounding housing have been proposed to be placed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Notable residents

Sports

The city is home to the soccer team Club Necaxa, which currently plays in the Primera Division de Mexico after spending a year in the national's second tier known as Liga de ascenso (formerly Primera A). The team left Mexico City and relocated to Aguascalientes following the 2003 opening of Estadio Victoria, which is now the team's home venue.

Panteras de Aguascalientes is the city's entry in Mexico's National Professional Basketball League.

References

Aguascalientes was the hometown of Esperanza Ortega in the book Esperanza Rising.

External links

Coordinates: 21°52′34″N 102°17′46″W / 21.876°N 102.296°W / 21.876; -102.296


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