Durango, officially Victoria de Durango and also known as Ciudad de Durango, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Durango and holds significant historical and cultural importance.
Durango is the municipal seat of Durango Municipality. The municipality has a relatively large land area of 10,041 square km and includes outlying communities such as El Nayar and Cinco de Mayo.
The city’s architecture reflects its historical importance. A mix of colonial and modern buildings creates a charming and unique atmosphere. The historic downtown area features cobblestone streets, colonial-era churches, and plazas.
Durango is a city that blends history, culture, and natural beauty. Its unique geography, architectural heritage, and welcoming atmosphere make it a destination worth exploring for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.
It stands at an altitude of 1,880 m.
The city is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. The geography of Durango is characterized by rugged terrain, valleys, and mountains, making it an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The municipality of Durango covers an area of diverse landscapes, including forests, rivers, and plateaus. It is known for its rich mining history, as the region was home to valuable mineral deposits that attracted Spanish settlers during the colonial era.
The weather and climate in Durango vary depending on the altitude. Due to its elevation, the city experiences a temperate climate with warm summers and relatively cold winters.
The summer months (May to September) are generally warm and pleasant, while the winter months (November to February) can bring cooler temperatures and occasional snowfall.
The best time to visit Durango is during the spring and summer months when the weather is milder and more conducive to outdoor activities. This period also allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
The city of Durango has a semi-arid climate. The climate is temperate in the western portion (the mountainous region), with the average annual temperature being 15 °C and an average annual rainfall of 1,600 mm.
In the eastern region, the average annual temperature is 19 °C, and precipitation amounts to 500 mm.
Winters are mild, with an average daytime high of 21 °C in January, the coldest month. As a result of the high altitude and aridity during the winter months, the diurnal temperature range is large, resulting in cold nights (an average low of 1 °C in January).
Frosts are common in winter. Occasionally, temperatures can go above 30 °C while cold fronts from the north can push temperatures below −5 °C. During the winter months, the climate is dominated by the subtropical ridge, resulting in dry conditions and many days are clear and sunny, averaging around 10-14 clear days.
Precipitation is rare, with March being the driest month.
Summers are warm to hot with June being the hottest month, with an average high of 30 °C and a low of 14 °C.
Most of the precipitation falls during the summer months, when the monsoon moves northward, causing moist air from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico to move into the area, leading to many days of precipitation.
Generally, this usually occurs around mid-June. Afternoon storms are common in the summer and they can be accompanied by hail or thunderstorms. July and August have warm temperatures, averaging 28 °C though slightly cooler due to the presence of the rain.
Humidity tends to be higher during the summer months, averaging 60% from June to September.
The months of March–April and from October to November are transitional months with warm temperatures during the day and cool temperatures during the night with occasional precipitation.
The name “Durango” has its origins in the Basque language, deriving from the Basque word “Durangoko,” which means “land of water.” The city was named after Durango, a town in the Basque Country of Spain.
This name reflects the presence of rivers and water sources in the area.
The city was founded on July 8, 1563, by the Spanish Basque explorer Francisco de Ibarra. During the Spanish colonial era, the city was the capital of the Nueva Vizcaya province of New Spain, which consisted mostly of the present-day states of Durango and Chihuahua.
The city of Durango was built on a wide valley in which a primitive Spanish village named Nombre de Dios was founded.
By the 16th century, the first conquerors who crossed through its territory were Cristobal de Oñate, José Angulo, and Gines Vazquez del Mercado, the latter was attracted by the illusion of the existence of a large supply of silver, he had ultimately discovered a special deposit of iron, which now bears his name.
In 1562 Don Francisco de Ibarra, the son of one of the celebrated founders of Zacatecas, explored the region and founded the Villa de Guadiana, near the old settlement of Nombre de Dios which soon became known as the Nueva Vizcaya in memory of the western Basque area he was originating from, then called Biscay.
Due to untamed territory and also to prevent a reduction in population, Ibarra bought a mine that offered the Indigenous peoples and the Spanish explorers work, with the sole condition that they in turn would settle in the founded city.
As in the colonial history of many cities, the founding of Durango is not exempt from the participation of many historical figures, some of which, in addition to Don Francisco de Ibarra, was the scribe Don Sebastian Quiroz, who produced the first correspondence record, the lieutenant Martin Renteria, who carried the banner of conquest, and the captain’s Alonso Pacheco, Martín López de Ibarra, Bartolome de Arreola and Martín de Gamon.
According to the 1921 Mexican census, the city had a population of 67,456 of which 21,300 were European immigrants.
Durango’s architecture is characterized by its eclectic nature, with elements resembling Barcelona, Florence, Paris, and Madrid. Spanish and French influences increased after the Declaration of Independence at the beginning of the 19th century, though the academic style persisted until the first decades of the 20th century.
The city was built on a rectangular street grid during the colonial era; during much of the post-independence period until the mid-20th century, the layout of the city looked the same as it did in the 17th century and, with the invention of cars and buses the city became a complicated maze of tangling and narrow colonial streets that made the city almost impossible to map. It was not until the 1990s and much of the first decade of the 21st century that the city’s government decided to clear some of the narrow colonial-era streets to build parks, plazas, and wider avenues that today continue to act as roads between the city’s sprawling “colonias” (neighborhoods).
Palacio de Gobierno
Baroque-style building built in the late 18th century by order of Spanish miner, Juan Jose Zambrano, the wealthiest man in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, New Spain at the time. Made of quarry the building consists of two levels: the first is a portal with voussoir arches, supported by padded ornamental columns. The second level of the portal, showcases the main balcony with a prominent bell; a replica of the “Campana de Dolores”. Throughout the interior, paintings by Francisco de la Cruz Montoya, completed on September 15, 1950, as well as works by Esquivel Ernesto Flores completed in April 1981 are on display.
This neoclassical building was built in 1898 as a private residence of Peter Escárzaga, a wealthy Durangueño miner. Inside the building, there is a mural painting, by the Durangueño artist Francisco Montoya, of a cross that represents the city’s history from its founding until the present time, for example, the conquest of Nueva Vizcaya, the discovery of the Cerro del Mercado, the Revolution and the independence movement. This beautiful building has been owned by the City of Durango since 1930 when it was purchased to become City Hall.
Casa del Conde de Súchil
Built in the colonial era as a residence of José del Campo Soberón and Larrea, a lieutenant governor of Nueva Vizcaya in the late 18th century, it was built between 1763 and 1764 by a master mason named Pedro Huertas, who gave the house an excellent façade and magnificent baroque interior punctuated by Rococo-style detailing. The whole construction was made with a duranguense quarry onto which engravings are stamped to give it a touch of distinction above all other buildings of its kind.
Catedral Basílica Menor
Widely known as “Catedral Basílica de Durango”, it is situated in the heart of the city of Durango and is considered the most important architectural representation of the state, and one of the most beautiful buildings in northern Mexico. The original construction began under the leadership of Bishop Garcia Legazpi in 1695 and was designed by architect Mateo Nuñez. The main façade is baroque-style, and includes Corinthian columns and niches built to protect the image of St. Peter and St. Paul. The choir stage, built in the early 18th century is gilded and made of carved mahogany with polychrome styling. The cathedral boasts the second most beautiful richly carved choir stage in the country; second only to that preserved in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City. The altar formed by a Neoclassical style cypress, guards the image of the Purisima Concepcion; a polychrome and gilded carving of the 18th century. On the altar, there are paintings by duranguense artists Miguel Cabrera and Juan Correa.
Entertainment and performing arts
The city of Durango attracts close to one million visitors each summer for its annual month-long Feria Nacional De Durango (Durango’s National Festival) which has taken place since 1929. It is the most important festival in the history of the state and the city itself, in which Durango celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the city which occurred on July 8, 1563. The Feria Nacional De Durango hosts cultural forums, band expo’s, art exhibitions, performances, restaurants, and stores for visitors to shop at. There is also a fair with different mechanical rides and games for families to enjoy. This past summer 2016, artist such as Ha Ash, Jenny and the Mexicats, CD9, Amaia Montero, and Internacional Sonora Santanera were present for the concert series.
One attraction that is very popular within the community and it’s tourist is El Mirador de los Remedios. The community can enjoy the day and night view of the beautiful city of Durango from 100 meters above. People have the option to drive up to see the view while parked on the side or pay $20 pesos roundtrip to go on the cable car.
Durango also offers various cultural venues to host events such as conferences, concerts, and theatrical performances, among many others. Such venues include, Teatro Ricardo Castro (Ricardo Castro Theatre) and Auditorio Mercedes Mendoza (Mercedes Mendoza Auditorium).
The city of Durango hosts a variety of museums including Museo Regional de Durango (Regional Museum of Durango), Museo Arqueológico de Durango Ganot-Peschard (Ganot-Peschard Museum of Archaeology), Museo de Arte Moderno Guillermo Ceniceros (Guillermo Ceniceros Art Museum), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Angel Zárraga (Angel Zagarra Museum of Contemporary Art), Museo Temático de Cine “Museo del Cine” (Thematic Film Museum),Museo de la Revolución en Durango (Museum of the Revolution in Durango), Mueseo de Arte Sacro (Museum of Sacred Art) and a museum designed especially for children: El Bebeleche-Museo Interactivo de Durango (Bebeleche-Interactive Museum Durango).
El Parque Guadiana
El Parque Guadiana (Guadiana Park), is considered an urban forest that provides environmental services to the city such as the carbon cycle, temperature control, and psychological benefits to those who visit the park. Parque Guadiana is also the habitat for many fauna species, especially the avifauna species that are found within the park.
El Parque Guadiana also offers kid-friendly infrastructure where children can play, a specialized trail for runners and walkers, fountains, an Olympic pool, and a town hall that was inaugurated in 1960. It also has a small train that goes around the Lago de los Patos “lake of the ducks”, and until recently, a recreational bicycle path, ( it currently is being remodeled) in a wooded area that serves as a source of cool air to cyclists.
General Guadalupe Victoria International Airport is Durango’s main airport.
There are several bus lines, including Omnibus de Mexico, Mexico Omnibus Plus, Tourists Luxury, Executive Senda AVE, North Transport, Transport North Premier, Futura, Transport Chihuahuenses, Mexico Interstate Bus (ELITE).
Along with local lines, these are located at the city’s bus terminal, General Domingo Arrieta.
Within the city, taxicabs are available. Durango is one of the cities with the lowest taxi rates in the country.
The Baluarte Bridge (el Puente Baluarte) is a cable-stayed bridge that was inaugurated in January 2012. It is located over the border between the states of Sinaloa and Durango, which is part of the new highway that will connect Mazatlan to Durango, replacing the old Mexican Federal Highway 40, a notoriously dangerous winding road known as the Devil’s Backbone. which was the only road connecting these two states.
The new highway reduces travel times between Mazatlan and Durango by 6 hours. It has a length of 1,124 m and a cable-stayed span of 520 m. With a height of up to 390 m above the valley, the Baluarte Bridge is the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world.
Construction started on February 21, 2008, and the bridge was inaugurated in January 2012.
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