|SAN LUIS POTOSI|
Another city that prospered from the discovery of silver, San Luis Potosi, is known as one of the most pleasant cities in all of Mexico. Known as "the city of plazas" or "the city of gardens", much of the early wealth was spent on building wonderful plazas which were all planted with trees and and shrubs, hence the reference to gardens. San Luis Potosi is a colonial city rich in history and a city which contains a great deal of historical architecture. The city was originally laid out with 7 barrios (neighborhoods) branching out from the city center. The city center has 4 main plazas and each of the original barrios has its own plaza. The city is a tribute to the urban planning abilities of the founding fathers and served briefly as the capital of Mexico in 1863.
Tourism in San Luis Potosi is mostly comprised of Mexican nationals, but this is definitely a city that has a lot of potential to be discovered in a big way. The historical center is very easy to navigate and most of the interesting sites are within easy walking distance or a short taxi ride away from Plaza de Armas, the main plaza. Many of the streets in the historical center have been blocked of to traffic, making a walking tour very easy. Plaza de Armas is a great place to enjoy the evenings and some live music a couple of nights a week while you watch San Luis Potosi come to life. The nearby historical buildings, plazas and churches, some dating to the 16 century, beg to be explored and photographed. Shopping is pretty much spread out among shops along Calle Hidalgo just north of the historical center, which has been turned into a pedestrian only area with upscale shops and cafes. Look for quality silver jewelry and other items made of silver and quality leather goods. Colorful serapes and some very intricate shawls are other specialties of this area. The city's traditional market, Mercado Hidalgo is also located on Calle Hidalgo and is filled with locals each evening. There is also a modern mall, Plaza Tangamanga, with over two hundred shops that is located quite a way from the historical center.
Area ranches produce some of Mexico's bravest fighting bulls and bull fights are taken very seriously here. San Luis Potosi even has a museum dedicated to the art of the bull fight. There are actually three bull rings, but the most famous is Plaza de Toros Fermin Rivera, where bullfights are held from May to September. There is also a festival dedicated to bull fights, La Feria Taurino, held in the third week of November, when they have bull fights every day. Rodeos are also a popular attraction here and run year round.
About eighty miles north of San Luis Potosi is the ex mining town, now a ghost town, of Real de Catorce. Set high (9000 ft.) on a plateau, Real de Catorce was once home to more than 30,000 miners and workers. Today less than 1000 people live in the area and some still try to eek out a living at mining. Some of the town remnants include an old mint where they minted silver bars and coins, a fairly elaborate church and a cock fighting ring, built in 1789, that was one of the most elaborate in the entire country. This side trip is truly a step back in time! Another interesting trip, 35 miles to the south, is to the Parque Nacional El Gogorron where you can enjoy thermal baths, swimming pools, landscaped gardens, cabins and restaurants all in a tranquil mountain setting. Centro Vacacional Gogorron is the actual name of the balneario and everything here is priced reasonably.