Monterrey – a bird’s-eye view
The city of Monterrey, with a population in excess of 3.4 million, is Mexico’s third largest city and high tech/industrial centerpiece. Monterrey also enjoys the distinction of being one of Latin America’s more enchanting cosmopolitan centers.
Monterrey, capital of the State of Nuevo León, is situated securely in the center of a cluster of scenic northern Mexican territories. The Mexican state of Nuevo León extends from the extreme northern states of Chihuahua and Coahuila to the north, and borders the neighboring states of Durango, to the west, and Zacatecas and Tamaulipas to the south and southeast.
Though similar to the many of Mexico’s premier metropolitan centers, what makes Monterrey unique as a 21-century city is its location and landscape.
Monterrey’s sprawling, scenic landscape lies in the placid Extremadura Valley, within the peaceful shadow of the 5,700-foot summit of “Cerro de la Silla,” or Saddle Hill.
A brief history
During Mexico’s pre-colonial era, various indigenous peoples inhabited the region of what is known today as Nuevo León. But most modern scholars and history buffs associate these early mesoamerican inhabitants with one predominant group known as the Chichemecas.
In the early 16th century (1577), Spanish explorer Alberto del Canto established the first small village settlement in the region, naming it Santa Lucia. In 1579, King Phillip II or Spain ordered the creation of a new Spanish colony. Two years, in 1582, Luis Caravajal y de la Cueva would cristen the new Spanish colony Nuevo Reino de León. And in 1596, Diego de Montemayor founded the Ciudad Metropoliana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey, predecssor to Mexico’s modern capital. Finally, in 1824, three years after the end of Mexico’s War of Independence (1810-1821), the entire region was officially designated Nuevo León
In recent history, Monterrey has set the standard throughout Mexico in higher education and technological training. One of the more dramatic proofs of this achievement is the establishment of one of Mexico’s preeminent institutions for education in technology – The renowned Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, ITESM). The Institute was founded in 1943 by a small group of Mexican business entrepreneurs, and currently supports 31 thriving campuses through all of Mexico.
Monterrey – Mexico’s premier industrial and high-tech capital
As one of Mexico’s chief industrial capitals, Monterrey boasts two international airports, 35 industrial parks, and a host of modern universities and colleges, including Tec de Monterrey, considered by many to one of Latin America’s most prestigious and productive educational institutions. In addition, Monmterrey offers a spectacular, yet modest blend of modern architecture and early 19th-century colonial splendor. At its historic hub lies a beautifully preserved, vibrant and eclectic colonial complex of museums, cathedrals and diverse cultural icons.
Monterrey – one of Mexico’s more modern cultural and cosmopolitan hubs
The cosmopolitan center of Monterrey offers a virtual potpourri of cultural treats and artistic delights for every particular palate, from the visual arts and theater, to archaeology and ancient history.
The cultural and historical hub of the city is concentrated in a quaint, but colorful six-block complex known locally as the Macroplaza (‘Gran Plaza’). This placid, eclectic cultural hub features a fascinating variety of museums and cultural centers for the performing arts.
Here is just a sample of the unique glimpses into Mexican life and culture that await the informed traveler and connoisseur of history and the arts:
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO) – Opened in 1991, and located in the ‘Gran Plaza,’ this remarkable facility features a permanent collection of modern art, as well as occasional local displays of native work.
The Museum of Mexican History – The Museo de Historia Mexicana offers a rare display of early Mexican artifacts in a family-friendly, modern high tech, interactive environment.
The Museum of Mexican History – The Museo Metropolitano de Monterreyis housed in the original Old Palacio Municipal, built in 1612, and features a grass-roots glimpse of Monterrey’s rich and robust history.
Other cultural attractions include the Alfa Planetarium and IMAX Dome Theater; a Glass Museum for those interested in the ancient art of glass-making; the Museum of Anthropology and Paleontology (for students of ancient Mesoamerican culture, migration and evolution); a cluster of centers for the performing arts, including: the House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura), complete with occasional cultural exhibitions and concerts; the Center of the Arts and the City Theater, both featuring a host of professional performance and popular activities such as concerts, dance and ballet, in addition to local workshops and tourist-friendly festivals.
Monterrey’s artistic and cultural inner city also boasts an Automobile and Transportation Museum and Mexico’s own celebrated equivalent to Cooperstown, U.S., Monterrey’s own Baseball Hall of Fame – Salon de la Fama del Beisbol– featuring nearly 100 of Mexico’s baseball greats who played professional ball with United States Major League teams, beginning with Mexico’s own Baldomero (Mel – “Melo”) Almada , who signed with the Boston Red Sox on September 8, 1933.
It’s your passion. Your call …
Whateveryour passion or interest, most agree that Monterrey, Mexico’s ’Sultan of the North,’ has no contemporary equal as Mexico’s premier Mecca for culture, history and the arts … Unless, of course, you happen to hail from Mexico City, itself, or perhaps Guadalajara, Mazatlan or the Yucatan’s legendary Merida … or any of Mexico’s equally mesmerizing and magnificent 31 states .
You be the judge. You decide.
Mexico’s peerless sultan of celestial ‘Cerro de la Silla’ sits enthroned above Monterrey’s mystic valley, scaning the bright horizon, awaiting a welcomed delegation of foreign dignitaries and wide-eyed suppliants.
He has spent centuries preparing a sumptuous feast. He awaits your arrival.
The music and dancing begin at first light of a new day.