Piedras Negras is a city located in the northeastern part of Mexico, in the state of Coahuila. Piedras Negras is a seat of the surrounding municipality of the same name. The city is situated along the border with the USA.
Piedras Negras is situated on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, bordering the United States city of Eagle Pass, Texas. This strategic location makes it an essential border town between Mexico and the United States.
The Eagle Pass (USA) and Piedras Negras area are connected by the Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras International Bridge, Camino Real International Bridge, and the Eagle Pass Union Pacific International Railroad Bridge.
The border city of Piedras Negras boasts a diverse environment that includes both urban and natural landscapes. Within the city, you’ll find bustling streets, plazas, and charming colonial architecture historical buildings.
Piedras Negras is also known for its friendly and welcoming community. Outside the urban center, you can explore the scenic beauty of the Coahuila region, with serene rivers, lush parks, and nearby natural reserves.
Piedras Negras is the place where nachos was created. This famous snack was created in Piedras Negras in 1943 by Ignacio Anaya García to host the distinguished group of visitors who stopped at Club Victoria for a drink.
Piedras Negras is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande River, which serves as the natural border between Mexico and the USA. The area is characterized by the riverfront, rolling hills, and arid climate typical of the region.
Climate and Weather
The climate of the region is semi-arid and hot. During summer the temperatures often surpass 45 °C. The hottest months are May through September with a daily average (mean) temperature between 26 °C and 31 °C.
The high temperatures recorded in Piedras Negras have earned it recognition as one of the hottest cities in the country.
The highest precipitation months are May, June, and September with an average monthly downfall in excess of 80 mm but that is highly sporadic lending to frequent drought conditions.
The period of lowest precipitation is between December through March, with a monthly average of 30 mm.
The ideal time to visit Piedras Negras is during the cooler months, generally from November to February.
During this period, the temperatures are more moderate, making outdoor activities and exploration more comfortable. Summers can be quite hot, with temperatures often exceeding 38°C, so visiting during the cooler season is recommended.
The name “Piedras Negras” is Spanish and translates to “Black Stones” in English.
The origin of the name comes from the presence of dark volcanic rocks that can be found in the region surrounding the city. These black stones are a notable geological feature of the area and have contributed to the city’s name.
In 1888, the city was renamed “Ciudad Porfirio Díaz” in honor of the then-President of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz. This renaming was a common practice during that era to pay homage to prominent political figures.
However, after the Mexican Revolution, which spanned from 1910 to 1920 and resulted in significant social and political changes in Mexico, the city reverted to its original name, “Piedras Negras”.
Piedras Negras has a long and significant history, dating back to ancient times when it was inhabited by indigenous groups, including the Coahuiltecan people.
On June 15, 1850, a group of 34 men (commanded by Andrés Zapata, Gaspar Salazar, and Antonio Ramírez) met with Colonel Juan Manuel Maldonado to give the news that they had created a pass point at Piedras Negras, to the right of the Rio Grande, south of Fort Duncan.
They named it Nueva Villa de Herrera, but it later became Villa de Piedras Negras.
In Otto Schober’s “Breve historia de Piedras Negras”, the local historian points out that the 34 men were repatriates (Mexican Americans) who arrived on June 15, 1850, in what was then called “Colonia Militar de Guerrero en Piedras Negras”.
In 1855, the town was looted by a small force of 130 Texans who had been organized by Texas slaveholders for a punitive expedition against a nearby border settlement of fugitive slaves and Indians.
The force was led by a captain of the Texas Rangers and had recently been “repelled by a superior force of Negroes, Indians, and Mexicans who were waiting in ambush” inside Mexico, but they then looted Piedras Negras on the journey back to Texas.
Due to the discovery of huge deposits of coal in the region, in 1881 a railroad track was begun, finishing in 1883.
With this construction, the regional economy flourished and on December 1, 1888, it was granted the status of city; this time with the name of Ciudad Porfirio Díaz. After the fall of Diaz in 1911, the city reverted to being Piedras Negras, Coahuila.
The Historic Centre of Piedras Negras is the place to admire the most representative buildings in the city.
Among the main buildings of this area are the Antiguo Hotel del Ferrocarril, the Former Municipal Presidency, Zaragoza Market, the House of Culture, the PRONAF building, and the Mail and Customs buildings.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Old yet firm religious precinct, capable of resisting the attacks of the 1927 Cristero movement and an explosion in 1934. Its construction dates back to 1859, being originally made out of cement and wood, even when one year after the explosion a final remodeling took place.
The Macroplaza contains several tourist attractions for all tastes and ages: from a kids’ playing area to an acoustic area for events.
Among the many places to enjoy you’ll find parks and gardens, a kiosk, sporting areas, a tower with a clock, and the monuments of Los Fundadores and the Discovery of America. To make your time even more pleasant you’ll find snacks selling.
Plaza de Las Tres Culturas
This incredible place blends elements of the Mayan, Aztec, and Olmec cultures, perfectly outfitting it with comfortable spaces for tourism. It’s a great effort to make replicas of some of the main archaeological sites in the country.
Mission of San Bernardo
In the first years of the XVIII century, an order of Franciscans built this temple, nowadays in ruins that enclose the beauty and mystery of an ancient era.
The Mission of San Bernardo was part of the Franciscan Mission Complex of Rio Grande del Norte, headed by Captain Diego Roman, who, at its time, attacked the rebel Indians of the region that now is San Antonio, Texas.
Piedras Negras’ main tourist attractions
- Casa de Cultura
- Plaza de las Culturas
- Mercado Zaragoza
- Museo de la Frontera Norte
- Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
- Piedras Negras-Zaragoza International Bridge
Enjoy outdoor recreational activities along the riverfront, such as picnicking, hiking, and fishing.
International Day of the Nacho
The International Day of the Nacho takes place every October 21.
It was initiated in the 1990s in the United States and Mexico to commemorate the invention of nachos by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in 1943 at El Moderno restaurant in the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila.
For 12 years in a row, the Annual Bike Fest has attracted visitors from 41 different cities in Mexico and the United States. Activities last for 2-3 days and include concerts, food sales, acrobatic shows, a drive-through town, and a drawing with a brand-new bike as the grand prize.
Commercial air service is available via Aeropuerto Internacional de Piedras Negras.
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