Querétaro facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
State of Querétaro
Location within Mexico
|Capital||Santiago de Querétaro|
|• Total||11,449 km2 (4,420 sq mi)|
|• Total||1,598,139 (Ranked 23rd)|
|• Density||139.59/km2 (361.5/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|HDI (2004)||0.8015 - high
The word Querétaro dates back to pre-Hispanic times. Some of the people who arrived in the area now occupied by the state gave it different names based on its geographic features. The Tarascans of Michoacán called the spot now known as La Cañada, Crettaro or Queréndaro, which means the place of the crags; they probably gave it this name because there is lots of pink stone there. The Otomíes called it Mxei, which means the place where the ballgame is played. It was also called Ndamaxei, which means the great ballcourt; the Aztecs named it Tlaxco, which has the same meaning. Finally, the Chichimecs called this spot Xico, which also means great ballcourt in their language; it received this name because the La Cañada area is shaped like an enormous pre-Hispanic ballcourt.
Western painting developed in the state during the colonial period, when artists such as Pedro de Rojas López, Tomás Noriega and Diego Sanabria produced primarily religious art. More diverse production came into being in the 19th century forward; José Mariano Perrusquia y Rubio, Mariano Montenegro and Germán Patiño Díaz produced paintings and even photography. Patiño Díaz was the director of the old Academia de Dibujo y Pintura de San Fernando, which trained more artists in the state such as Agustín Rivera Ugalde. The 20th century produced artists such as Braulio Rodríguez Granda, Jesús Rodríguez de la Vega, Jesús Águila Herrera and Restituto Rodríguez Camacho. The current generation of Querétaro artists includes Rafael Rodríguez, Virginia Ledesma, Ramsés de la Cruz and Juan Eduardo Muñoz . In the field of photography, Natalia Baquedano was one of the first women to open a photographic studio in Mexico. She began her training in Querétaro, before moving to Mexico city.
The state has produced a large number of writers. Major writers from the 19th century include poet and journalist Juan María Wenceslao Sánchez de la Barquera y Morales, poet and short story writer Néstora Téllez Rendón, poet and orator Celestino Díaz Domínguez, journalist and playwright Luis Frías Hernández, writer and doctor Hilarión Frías y Soto and poet and academic Juan B. Delgado. The early 20th century produced poet and translator Francisco Cervantes, arguably the most important literary figure from Querétaro internationally; poet and journalist José Dolores Frías Rodríguez, songwriter Carlos Cabrera Pedraza, novelist Alfredo Coéllar Gómez and poet Carlos Septién García. The current generation of writers includes poets Román Luján, Luis Alberto Arellano, Benjamín Moreno, César Cano and Tadeus Argüeyo.
Indigenous music can be found in Otomi areas, such as in the municipalities of Amealco and the arid central areas of the state. Often this includes trios consisting of two flutes or two violins with a drum, most often played for community celebrations. The Otomi of Tolimán have a variant of Otomi music called viñuetes, which is played with one large drum, one small drum and a violin. Huapango is a dominant musical form in the Sierra Gorda and some of the arid areas of the center of the state. Two types are generally played: Huasteco and Arribeño. Huasteco is played in trios with two guitars called huapanguera and the smaller jarana huasteca and a violin. The songs consist of stanzas of four to six verses sung in falsetto, often with improvisation. The Arribeño is most common in the mountains areas bordering the states of San Luis Potosí and Guanajuato. It is played in groups of four with a huapanguera, a vihuela and two violins. Lyrics tend to be poetic and sung from memory or improvised. Some are religious in nature. Another indigenous form of music, called comesolos, played with a flute and drum has almost completely died out. In the mountain village of San Joaquín in April is the Concurso Nacional de Huapango Huasteco (National Huasteca Huapango Contest) . This event attracts thousands of visitors and participants each year, as it is the most important Huapango contests in the country.
Most traditional festivals are tied to the Catholic religion, with some of the most important being Candlemas, Holy Week and Day of the Dead. Locally important are the myriad of festivals to patron saints of towns, villages and municipalities. In addition, ta number of civic and economic festivals and fairs include celebrations of the founding of the various cities, regional fairs in Cadereyta, El Marqués, Jalpan de Serra and others to showcase local products and culture.
México Folklórico is a dance group created in 1990 within the Academia de la Cultura of the state teachers’ union. It consists of teachers’ children, who are studying high school or above, as a extracurricular activity. Its repertoire includes dances and other traditions from various parts of Mexico. It has performed in many parts of Mexico, as well as in the rest of the Americas and Europe.
The cooking of the Sierra Gorda region is strongly influenced by the Huasteca cuisine of neighboring Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí states. One notable dish is sacahuil, which is a large tamal wrapped in the leaves of a plant called a papatla. This dish is most prevalent in Landa de Matamoros and Jalpan de Serra. During festivals in San Miguel Tolimán, the main dish is chickpeas with saffron accompanied by tortillas in a number of colors. In Peñamiller, they celebrate with goat meat, accompanied by pulque. Another common dish in this areas is a variety of tostadas called arriero (donkey handler) . Simichol is a fermented corn drink prepared in Santiago Mexquititlán. In San Joaquín, the drink is called charape, made with piloncillo. In this and other central municipalities, gorditas de migajas (literally crumb gorditas) is a common dish.
Traditional food products include a candy made of guava fruit and sugar, jams, and sweets made from pulque, milk candies from Bernal, a hard bread called mezquitamal, which is made by the Otomis, and various types of mole sauces made in Amealco. In the Sierra Gorda area, gorditas can be prepared with sugar, cheese, and piloncillo. The zacahuil, a large type of tamale, is filled with chicken, turkey or pork with dried chili pepper. A number of insects are used, especially in indigenous dishes such as tantárreas (ants from a type of mesquite tree) and escamoles, often cooked with cactus flowers. One native beverage, called mejengue, made with piloncillo, banana, pulque and corn.
The official name of the state is “Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga” (Free and Sovereign State of Querétaro de Arteaga). The formal name of the capital is Santiago de Querétaro. However, both are commonly referred to simply as Querétaro. The most likely origin of the name is from the Purépecha word “Créttaro” which means “place with crags”. However, there have been other explanations of the name including that it comes from Nahuatl and means Mesoamerican ball court, or even "island of the blue salamanders". Nevertheless, other scholars suggest that it can mean "place of the reptiles" or "place of the giant rocks". The city received the title of Noble y Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Querétaro in 1656, but after Independence, it was changed to simply Querétaro. It was returned to Santiago de Querétaro in 1996, when it was named a World Heritage Site. The ending of “de Arteaga” was added to the state’s name in 1867 in honor of General José María Cayetano Arteaga Magallanes. Originally from Mexico City, Arteaga became governor of Querétaro and distinguished himself as a soldier in the middle of the 19th century.
Agricultural settlements dated to about 500 BCE have been found in the San Juan del Río and Huimilpan areas, which was during the Teotihuacan era. The ancient city had interest and influence in the area because of its agriculture, but did not dominate it. After the fall of this city, the Querétero area had its highest rate of development of both agriculture and social structure. The area was inhabited early on by a number of ethnicities, including the Otomi, Toltecs, Chichimecas, Purépechas and Mexicas. In the 10th century, the area experience population shifts which did not stabilize until the 12th century. Much of this migration moved south from the Querétaro area into the Valley of Mexico. Those who remained by the end of the 12th century were mostly in hunter-gatherer communities and small agricultural settlements. The region’s agriculture and minerals continued to attract the interest of more powerful neighbors. In the 15th century, both the Aztec Empire and Purépecha Empire had strong influence parts of the state, especially in the south, but would never incorporate the area completely into either empire. The Aztec’s interest in the area was mostly to use it as a bulwark against marauding northern Chichimeca tribes, and it never became a tributary state. During this time, as well, a number of new peoples entered the state, most likely from the north, primarily the Pames and the Chichimeca Jonaz. The first group practiced agriculture in the valleys and the latter in the mountain areas.
When the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire in the early 16th century, the largest indigenous group in the state was the Otomi, many of whom were living more or less under Purépecha rule. This population would increase with Otomi refugees from Aztec lands fleeing the Spanish. Another significant group was the Chichimecas. With the fall of Tenochtitlán, then the Purépecha Empire, the Spanish gained some control over the southern portion of the state. However, the area was still very independent, filled with peoples who lived in small isolated villages or nomadically. There were no major cities, nor large societies there or north.
The conquest and colonization of Querétaro began with the Spanish settlements at San Juan del Río, Querétaro and Huimilpan between 1529 and 1531. Conquistador Herán Pérez de Bocanegra joined forces with a local Otomi lord from Jilotepec named Conín, also known as Fernando de Tapia, to enter Otomi areas in what is now the city of Querétaro. There would be only one major battle as part of the conquest in 1531. The Spanish and their Indian allies were battling the local Otomi and Chichimecas at a hill now known as Sangremal, which was then called Ynlotepeque, and considered sacred in pre-Hispanic times. Chronicles of this event, such as those written by Friar Isidro Félix de Espinoza, state that the natives were at the point of winning when a total eclipse of the sun occurred. This supposedly scared the natives and the Spanish claimed to have seen an image of Saint James (the patron saint of Spain) riding a white horse carrying a rose-colored cross. This event caused the natives to surrender. This event is why the city is called Santiago (Saint James) de Querétaro, with James as patron saint A stone cross imitating the one the Spanish supposedly saw was erected on the hill, which later was accompanied by a church and monastery.
During the rest of the 16th century, the Spanish city of Querétaro would form the northern extension of known lands to the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish initially shared power in the area with local indigenous leaders until well into the 17th century in many areas. However, indigenous power waned over time, eventually disappearing completely. However, the Spanish would not subdue and evangelized the last of the resistant peoples, the Chichimec Jonaz until the end of the 18th century. During this time, Spanish power was mostly concentrated in the city of Querétaro, which became the starting point for expeditions, missions and conquests heading north.
Most of the north of the state consists of an area known as the Sierra Gorda, which is an area of very rugged terrain, with widely varying climates. From the 16th to 19th centuries The Spanish would slowly dominate the lands around it, south in Querétaro, west in Guanajuato and east in Hidalgo, with only military and missionary incursions into the area's interior. This was due to the fierce resistance of the local native peoples. Unlike those in the south, the Pames, Chichimeca Jonaz and other groups were mostly hunter gatherers, not city dwellers already used to a hierarchical governing system. Attempts to militarily pacify and evangelize the area had little success, with a number of missions never completed or destroyed shortly after they were built. In the mid 18th century, the colonial government in Mexico City decided to make a concerted effort to bring the territory into submission, as it contained important routes to mining areas such as Zacatecas and Guanajuato. José de Escondón was sent in 1740 to militarily subdue the area, which culminated in the 1748 Battle of Media Luna, in which the Chichimeca were decisively defeated. This paved the way for the establishment of five principle missions in the heart of the Sierra Gorda of Querétaro, attributed to Junípero Serra, which today are a World Heritage Site. Even though the area was pacified in the mid 18th century, a district called an "alcaldía mayor" was established in San José de Escandón, today in the municipality of Pinal de Amoles, which governed what is now the northern half of the state. Decline of mining in the area would have this seat of government moved to Cadereyta in 1675, but this territory would be joined with the alcaldía mayor of the city of Querétaro to form the modern state.
The territory of Querétaro was consolidated during the 17th century. Santiago de Querétaro was declared a city in 1655. The coat of arms granted to the capital city that year is now the state coat of arms, with the substitution of an eagle on a cactus to replace the section referring to the Spanish royalty. Over the colonial period, the Querétaro area became important strategically and economically as it connected the newly explored and conquered lands to the north and west to the center of New Spain in Mexico City. Various trade routes converged here and the city became a cultural crossroads. The activities of Franciscan missionaries were a decisive factor in building the economic, social, political and religious institutions of the state. They were also mostly responsible for the building of most of the religious buildings and the acquisition of paintings and sculptures that can still be seen. These works gave the city an image of richness. The buildings from this era of the city’s history include the Plaza de Armas, The Casa de Ecala, the Casa de los Septién, the Cassa de los Samaniego, the Casa de los Fernández de Jáuregui, the Palacio de la Corregiduría de Legres de Querétaro as well as the Congregación and San Antonio churches. However, the most important structure from the time is the Aqueduct. Much of the evangelization efforts in the Sierra Gorda area was done by Junípero Serra. These efforts left behind a number of missions which exist to this day in Jalpan de Serra, Tancoyol, Concá, Tilaco and Landa de Matamoros.
This development made the city wealthy for the rest of the colonial period. Querétaro reached its height of the colonial period during the 18th century due to its strategic position with the northern territories and because of its livestock production. There was also a significant textile industry for local and regional markets. Querétaro was the first major producer of wool cloth in New Spain. At the end of the century, The Real Fabrica de Tabaco (Royal Tobacco Factory) was established, the second most important of its type in New Spain. There was also some mineral production, especially silver in an area called El Doctor.
The city of Querétaro was strategic in the development of events just before the start of the Mexican War of Independence. It was the site of the conspiracy among Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez and her husband the Corregidor of Querétaro Miguel Domínguez. The plot was uncovered when another conspirator, Epigmenio González, was caught with a stockpile of weapons to start the war. Ortiz de Dominguez sent word to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Dolores, Guanajuato that the plot was discovered. At that point, Hidalgo decided to begin the revolt against colonial rule in on 15 September, rather than in December as planned. Gonzalez was imprisoned in the Philippines from 1810 to 1838 for his role. The Corregidor and his wife were caught and imprisoned for their parts as well. Soon after, the city of Querétaro was taken by royalist forces and would stay that way for much of the war. The only fighting in the state were skirmishes fought in the mountain areas. The city of Querétaro would be one of the last royalist bastions to fall.
After the war, Querétaro was made a state with the 1824 Constitution. However, the city and state would lose the economic and cultural prominence that both had enjoyed during the colonial period. The political instability of the 19th century took its toll on commerce, which made the area’s economy suffer. The status of Querétaro would change between state and department, depending on whether Liberals or Conservatives were in power nationally. Within the state, battles for power between the two groups would lead to the state having twenty five governors between 1824 and 1855.
During the century, the capital city was the scene of a number of important events. During the Mexican–American War, the capital was moved from Mexico City to Querétaro. At the end of that war, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed here. The southernmost raids of the Comanche Indians from the plains and prairies of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas far to the north (along with Kiowas and some Apaches) occurred here during the middle of the 1800's. The 1857 Constitution was published in the city as well and a coalition of states including Querétaro, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Guanajuato and Michoacán formed a coalition to defend this constitution against the Plan of Tacubaya. During the short reign of Maximilian I, there were battles between Liberals and Conservatives (with the latter supporting the emperor) in Querétaro. However, Maximilian lost the military support provided by Napoleon III, leaving only four states loyal to the emperor. Querétaro was one of them. Maximilian still resisted Liberal forces which eventually surrounded him at Cerro de Campanas, then outside the city of Querétaro. The emperor was caught and executed on 19 June 1867. Afterwards, the state wrote a new constitution based on Liberal principles. Another new state constitution would be written at the beginning of the Porfiriato in 1879. Despite the turmoil, there was still economic progress in the state, with the establishment of textile mills such as Hércules, Casa Rubio and two other factories in San Antonio and La Purísma. There was also some mining, especially in El Doctor, Río Blando, Maconí and Escanelilla with a total of 216 mines producing silver with some producing gold, copper, lead and more.
Before the end of the century, modern infrastructure such as electricity, telegraph and telephones began to appear. Industry grew and modernized, with El Hércules becoming the largest textile factory in the country. Haciendas and agricultural production also grew, especially in the north of the state. The capital was modified and expanded, and it was linked to the rest of the country via rail in 1882. Public education began in the state at the beginning of the 20th century with fifty-four primary schools and the first graduates of the state’s first teachers’ college.
However, at the same time, strikes and other movements against the Diaz regime had begun in the state and elsewhere in the country. The largest strike in the state was against the El Hércules factory in 1909. At the start of the Mexican Revolution, there were revolts in Jalpan de Serra and Cadereyta along with protests in the capital. Governor González de Cosío resigned in 1911, replaced by Joaquín F. Chicarro, who was allied with Victoriano Huerta and more authoritarian. In 1916 and 1917, the federal government of Venustiano Carranza had to abandon Mexico City, moving the country’s capital to Querétaro. The country’s current 1917 Constitution was promulgated from Teatro de la República in the city of Querétaro.
After the war, the economy of the state recovered slowly. Between 1940 and 1960, economic progress came more rapidly, with the industrial infrastructure growing and modernizing. During the same period, the population grew substantially as well. Much of industrial growth from then to the present can be seen in the various industrial parks located north of the capital city. In the following thirty years, the city grew to over four times its previous size. However, the state conserved the city’s historic center, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. The city’s official name, which had been changed simply to “Querétaro”, was restored to “Santiago de Querétaro” the same year.
In 1997, the National Action Party (PAN) won the gubernatorial elections and Ignacio Loyola became the first non PRI governor of the state since the Revolution. In 2008, the state’s constitution was amended to make Querétaro the official state name. The aqueduct Acueducto II was inaugurated in 2011 by President Felipe Calderón and state governor José Calzada Rovirosa. It transports water over 122 km from springs in El Infiernillo to the city of Querétaro. This is to supplement local water sources which are no longer able to meet the city’s needs.
Economic activity in the state is closely tied to trends at the national level. This includes the declining contribution to GDP of the agricultural sector and an increase in manufacturing and commerce/services. The city of Querétaro is by far the most important economic center in the state, followed by San Juan del Río. Not only is Querétero the population center of the state, it has high-quality soil for irrigation farming and cattle. It is directly connected by highway to Mexico City, the country’s largest market, as well as the north of the country and the United States. This makes the city an almost obligatory stop for most people and goods traveling north and south. This geographical advantage has spurred industrial development in the state, especially since the 1970s. Another advantage the state has is its stable social and political situation. It has a low crime rate and also noted by NGO Transparencia Mexicana as having the lowest levels of corruption among all of Mexico’s states. Of the three main sectors of the economy: agriculture, mining/industry and commerce/services, the percentage each employs and contributes to the GDP varies significantly from municipality to municipality, with agriculture making up a higher percentage of local employment and GDP in rural municipalities than in the Querétaro metropolitan area. However, overall, the state has one of the country’s strongest economies. Government authorities report an increase of 4,602 jobs in the state for January 2011, accounting for a quarter of the gain for the country. Some related to Bombardier.
The municipalities of the state are grouped into five economic regions centered on Amealco de Bonfil, Cadereyta de Montes, Jalpan de Serra, Querétaro and San Juan del Río. The Amealco region includes this municipality and the municipality of Huimilpan. Most of its economy is based on cereal production with only minor industry such as maquiladoras and textiles. There are also handcrafts produced by indigenous groups.
The Cadereyta región includes this municipality, Colón, Peñamiller and Tolimán. Agriculture is limited to the rainy season, but there is significant production of livestock such as goats. There is also some forestry activity. Industry is not common, but some technically advanced factories exist. There are also maquiladoras, textile and recycling operations which primarily employ women.
The Jalpan de Serra region includes this municipality and Arroyo Seco, Pinal de Amoles, Landa de Matamoros and San Joaquín. Agriculture is limited, mostly producing fruits such as citrus, mangos, coffee, peaches and apples. Fish farming is a growing and promising enterprise for the areas. Industry is also very limited.
The Querétaro región includes the capital and the municipalities of Corregidora and El Marqués. This area has the second most productive farms in the state, much of which is irrigated. Crops include sorghum, wheat, barley, alfalfa, oats with some vegetables, corn and beans. This area is also an important producer of all kinds of livestock. Industry is limited to the industrial parks located just north of the capital, but they employ most of the industrial workers of the state.
The San Juan del Río region includes this municipality and Ezequiel Montes, Pedro Escobedo and Tequisquiapan. This is the most agriculturally production region of the state, with most farmland irrigated. There is intensive farming of sorghum, wheat, barley, alfalfa, and oats, with some vegetables, corn and beans. Large areas of natural pasture supports a large livestock industry. The region is second in industry behind Querétaro, concentrating on paper products and food processing. Most industry is located in San Juan del Río.
Agriculture and forestry
Agriculture and livestock have been traditionally important for the state, and while it only provides about four percent of the state’s GDP, down from eighteen percent in 1970, it employs a far larger percentage of the population, with it being the basis of the economy in many rural areas. 28.24% of state land is used for agriculture, mostly raising corn, wheat, alfalfa, sorghum and squash. There is also intensive farming in areas of a number of important crops. Much of the large scale farming is irrigated and is supported in part by the state government, with loans and help with infrastructure such as water and roads. However, most farmland is seasonal, meaning it is worked only during the rainy season. Grains such as barley, wheat, oats and alfalfa are almost exclusively planted on irrigated land along with certain vegetables such as broccoli, garlic, carrots, lettuce, onions and cauliflower. Most nonirrigated land is planted with corn, followed by beans mostly for auto or local consumption. Leading cash crops are beans, cabbage, alfalfa, onions, lettuce and sorghum.
Within agriculture, production of crops has decreased while the production of animal products has increased. Crops as a percentage of agricultural production dropped from 34% in 1988 to 25.8% in 1993. One of the leading milk producers in the country, Querétaro farms also breed livestock and dairy cows. Livestock production is important and growing, mostly consisting of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses and domestic fowl. Querétaro is one of the top producers of chicken in Mexico. The largest producers of livestock in the state are Jalpan, Cadereyta, San Juan del Río and Querétaro.
Forest land is one of the state’s two main natural resources. These forests contain commercial species such as pine, oak, cedar, juniper, mesquite and more. Most of these are found in and around the Sierra Gorda area. There is about 70,000 hectares of possible productive land but only 17,000 have been studied for management. Land actively involved in forestry operations equals 9,358m2, most of which is in the municipalities of Landa de Matamoros and Amealco de Bonfil. 20.7% is used for grazing. 24.22% is forest; 3.95% is rainforest and 40.62 is arid scrub brush.
Mining and industry
Mining, manufacturing and construction accounts for about 39% of the GDP, with manufacturing alone accounting for 32%. This has remained steady for the past few decades. Minerals is one of the state’s two main natural resources. Mining is a traditional economic activity for the state. There are ten mining districts in the Sierra Gorda alone producing lead, silver, zinc, copper, gold, mercury and antimony. Nonmetallic products include marble, kaolin, sandstone, and more. Opals are a distinctive state resource. State and local governments, in partnership with private industry, actively promote foreign investment into the region. The priority of the state government is to encourage industries which use low levels of water for environmental reasons. These have mostly been auto parts, food processing and electronics. Other major industries include chemicals, plastics, textiles, paper products and printing and wood products. Most are micro and small sized operations.
Querétaro’s major cities are home to industrial complexes that produce machinery and other metallic products, chemicals and processed foods. However, most of the state’s manufacturing companies are located in or around the city of Querétaro. Carnation and Purina are among the best-known food processing companies with facilities in the state, and numerous textile mills manufacture clothing made of wool, cotton and henequen. One of the biggest employers is Tremac, an auto parts manufacturer. Currently, there are 392 companies with direct foreign investment and 238 exporting companies that have located in the state. Exports in 2002 totaled $3.35 billion USD, and direct investment in 2003 reached $169 million. Many of these companies are headquartered in modern industrial parks, one of the newest and most technologically advanced being El Marques Industrial Park. This facility was inaugurated in 2003, with an initial investment of $13 million USD. The park occupies a space of 274 acres (1.11 km2) with international tenants from Italy, Germany, Spain, the US, Taiwan as well as Mexico representing real estate, automotive, carton packing, food processing and some high tech enterprises. One of these tenants is Siemens whose 4,000 sq ft (370 m2) plant is dedicated to manufacturing equipment for high voltage systems.
The city of Querétaro has become the most advanced center of the aeronautics industry in Mexico, anchored by plant belonging to Canadian conglomerate Bombardier, which opened in 2005. This plant manufactures fuselages and electrical system, recently adding wing production for the Learjet 85, a nonmetallic plane. This plant is the largest of the 189 aeronautics facilities in Mexico, employing about 2,000 people. There are eight other aeronautics enterprises located in the state.
The state is known for dairy products and wine. Two of Querétaro’s cities, San Juan del Río and Ezequiel Montes, have thriving vinicultures. Some of the best comes from the Rancho Santa Marina just to the south of the capital in the municipality of El Marqués. This ranch specializes in sheep milk cheese such as feta, ricotta, picodon and criollo/crottin. Rancho Hondonada is another reputable producer as well as Quesos Vai, which specializes in Mexican cheeses such as Oaxaca and panela. The best known winery is Freixenet which is on the highway between Tequisquiapan and San Juan del Río. The 45-hectare vineyard grows four varieties of grapes: Saint Emilion, Macabeu, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. A cave 25 meters (82 ft) below ground maintains a constant and ideal climate for wine cellaring. Other producers include La Redonda and Rancho Los Azteca.
Handcrafts produced in the state include baskets, textiles, metal objects, pottery and items made from wood, leather and paper. Basket making is common in many parts of the state, and similar fibers are also used to create hats, decorative items and more made from various materials such as reed, willow branches and palm fronds. In Jalpan de Serra, they make various items from palm fronds such as bags, hats and mats. Fine woven hats can be found in Tequisquiapan as well as baskets made with a variety of willow. Baskets are made in San Juan del Río as well as in Cadereyta with willow and with reeds. Basket making and rope are made in most areas of the state. In Ezequiel Montes, ixtle fiber is used to make sisal and rope. In Peñamiller henequen is used. In San Juan del Río reeds are used to make baskets. In Tolimán, furniture and more is made with willow branches. Tequisquiapan makes crafts with rattan, roots, juniper and pine branches along with ixtle.
Tolimán is known for its traditional clothing, especially quexquemetls made of silk and embroidered with colored thread for men and quexquemetls made of cotton for women. The ones made here are the largest in the country, made on backstrap looms. They also weave and embroider bags and linens such as tablecloths and napkins. Another area for traditional Otomi dress is Amealco de Bonfil, where blouses, skirts and more are embroidered with designs from this ethnicity. They also make cloth dolls dressed in traditional clothing. In Tolimán, Pame influence is noted in the textiles, which are mostly woven to make tablecloths and napkins. Colón, Cadereyta and Bernal are known for items made of wool which has been naturally dyed, such as rebozos, blankets and more.
Sculpting and building with sandstone is a major business and craft due to the material’s abundance in the mountains. Various types of sculptures as well as building blocks are created from it. In the communities of Escolásticas and Ejido de Ajuchitlancito in the Pedro Escobedo municipality, families, associations and cooperatives work with the stone. The work from Pedro Escobedo has been exported for many years. Various communities in the Huimilpan municipality do as well. The items create range from ashtrays to large columns for buildings. Much of the stonework of La Cañada in the El Marqués municipality is exported. Another stone that is worked is marble, especially in Vizarrón in Cadereyta municipality and in Tequisquiapan. Onyx, marble, opal and turquoise are worked in San Juan del Río and in the capital city. Opals are mined in the state and come in a variety of colors and sizes. They are mostly made into jewelry.
There are various communities in the state which specialize in pottery. Products include every day utensils and cookware to architectural elements, figures and sculptures. The clay from Cadereyta is valued for its quality. In the community of San Juan de Guedío in the municipality of Amealco they specialized in storage containers as well as the figures of saints and those for nativity scenes. Other areas noted for their pottery are Colón and Ezequiel de Montes.
Other items are made from materials such as wood, leather and paper. Wood items include furniture, toys and musical instruments, especially guitars and violins and include miniature musical instruments, which are made in San Joaquín. Leather is fashioned into belts, pistol holders, handbags, wallets and cowboy boots. These are mostly available in CadereytaLanda de Matamoros and San Vicente Ferrer in the municipality of El Marqués. Cardboard is used to fashion masks and items related to mojiganga theater mostly for use in parades and traditional festivals. Mojiganga figures are made with a reed frame to which the cardboard is applied. Bernal is noted for its masks made of paper and plaster which are often molded. In the city of Querétaro they make masks and mojiganga items, as well as large paper sculptures such as the Judas figures, which are burned.
Commerce, services and tourism
Commerce, services and tourism accounts for 57% of the state’s GDP, led by commerce at 19% and services at 18% both related and not to tourism. This is an increase from 45% in 1970. Since the 1990s, the state has promoted its tourism industry, with attendance at international forums, and building of hotels and other infrastructure. The Centro de Congresos (Convention Center) of Querétaro was inaugurated in 2011 to attract more business travel to the state. The facility contains ten halls, with a capacity of 9,000 people.
There are two areas declared as historic monuments by the Mexican federal government, the historic center of Querétaro and the historic center of San Juan del Río. The historic center of Querétaro has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Most historic and cultural attractions are located in the capital. Museums include the Museo de Arte de Querétaro, the Museo Regional de Querétaro, the Museo de la Ciudad, the Museo del Sitio de Querétaro and Museo de la Matemática. Outside of the capital, there are the Museo Histórico de la Sierra Gorda, Museo Arqueológico y Minero de la Sierra and the Museo de la Muerte in San Juan del Río. Another major attraction is its 74-arched aqueduct built in the early 1700s. The aqueduct rises 23 meters (75 ft) above street level and conveyed drinking water to the city from regional springs until 1970. The founding of the city of Querétaro is celebrated in July with various cultural and gastronomic events. Conchero dancers go in procession to the La Cruz Church to commemorate the appearance of Saint James.
Querétaro has a number of areas which lend themselves to ecotourism. One area especially promoted is the Sierra Gorda region. The area is a complex of canyons and mountains extending over 400,000 hectares with a well conserved biological diversity. In the deep canyons there are grottos, valleys, ravines and arroyos. In the higher areas there are forests of pines and holm oak, and tropical forests in the lower elevations. The area was declared a biological reserve and contains about 1,700 species of plants, some endemic only to the area. There are also 360 species of birds, 130 of mammals, and just over 100 of amphibians and reptiles. A number of these are in danger of extinction such as macaws, the black bear, the porcupine and the spider monkey.
The state promotes its wine and cheeses with a Ruta del Vino or Wine Route. This connects three major wineries, Freixenet, La Redonda and Los Aztecas, along with various cheese producing facilities and some small towns chosen for their charm, such as Tequisquiapan and Bernal. There is also a Cheese and Wine Museum. At the wineries, one can observe how the product is made, which includes both sparkling and normal wines. The cheese producers make their products from goats’, cows’ and sheep’s milk, and in the two villages, one can enjoy both wine and cheese at the same time. At the end of July and the beginning of August, there is the first harvest, called the Vendimia. At the end of May and beginning of June, Tequisquiapan hosts the National Cheese and Wine Fair. The Feria del Queso y el Vino (Cheese and Wine Fair) is held at the end of may and beginning of June in Tequisquiapan featuring wine producers from various parts of the world. Grape harvest festivals are held at Freixenet and La Redonda at the end of June.
Querétaro has one Pueblo Mágico, San Sebastián Bernal. It is best known as the home of the Peña de Bernal, the third largest monolith in the world after the Rock of Gibraltar and Sugarloaf Mountain in Río de Janeiro. It was considered sacred by the Chichimeca and dates back to the Jurassic Period more than 100 million years ago. The community was originally occupied by the Otomi. Many colonial structures in the town of sandstone have survived to the present day. It also was a scene of a battle during the French intervention in Mexico . The El Cerrito pyramid is here climbed by those dressed in White for the spring equinox. Today, tourism is an important part of the area’s economy, attracting both those interested in history and those interested in ecotourism activities.
In addition, there are a number of old haciendas which have been converted into hotels, spas and other recreational facilities. The Juriquilla Hacienda is one of nine haciendas which dominated the municipality of San Rosa. The largest was Juriquilla, founded in 1707. In the 19th century, it belonged to Timoteo Fernando de Jaurgui and later to a number of entrepreneurial families. Since 1993, the main house has been converted into a 196 room hotel, maintaining the buildings colonial architecture. The best conserved structure is the hacienda chapel. The Jurica Hacienda is known for its freshwater springs. The main house is a hotel with 182 rooms. The former chapel is intact, all original except the flooring. The Galindo Hacienda was converted into a hotel and restore in the 1970s after decades of abandonment. The San Gil Hacienda is traditionally said to have been a property of La Malinche. Today it is a hotel and spa surrounding the original gardens of the main house. The La Venta Hacienda has its origins in the late 16th century as a land grant to Baltasar de Salazar to build lodgings for those traveling to the unexplored northern lands. It is the smallest of the hacienda resorts with only 51 rooms in its hotel.
The state has a number of colonial era missions, mostly in the Sierra Gorda region. The early ones were founded by the Augustinians and Franciscans with the aim of evangelizing of the area, but they were shut down soon after their founding by the hostility of the Chichimeca. Most were unfinished and/or destroyed. The first successful missionary in the area was Jesuit Junípero Serra because colonial authorities began to militarily control the area. The best known is Bucareli Mission in Pinal de Amoles founded in 1797. Other missions are found including Santiago de Jalpan, San Miguel Concá, Santa María del Agua de Landa, San Francisco del Valle de Tilacoal and Nuestra Señora de la Luz de Tancoyol, all established in the 1750s and 1760s. After restoration efforts between 1979 and 2002, there have been efforts to register these missions as a World Heritage Site.
Images for kids
Querétaro Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.