UNESCO World Heritage cities in Mexico
Mexico is proud to boast 10 cities with the distinction of World Heritage in the category of cultural assets that, due to their historical, architectural, and urban value, provide a unique cultural testimony, represent an outstanding architectural example and express cultural authenticity and history.
In the world, there are currently 204 heritage cities named by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the body that is responsible for granting this distinction. Mexico is the fourth country with the most heritage cities in the world.
10 World Heritage cities in Mexico
It was named Cultural Heritage of Humanity thanks to its representative buildings of the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries; its traditional houses with Andalusian and Caribbean influence, and its urbanization model of a baroque colonial city. It has more than 500 meters of wall, two gates, two forts, and eight bastions, which are defensive constructions in a pentagonal shape. Walkthrough the center of the city and observe the colorful decoration of its houses and streets full of legends and stories.
2. Mexico City
One of the oldest cities in America, Mexico City has recognized as a Heritage City in 1987 thanks to its Historic Center and the Xochimilco National Park. The Historic Center, called the heart of the city, was recognized for its historical and cultural value, being an unparalleled example of urban settlement and for confirming the fusion of two cultures in its buildings, houses, streets and cathedral. For its part, Xochimilco holds the title of World Heritage Site for its chinampas (floating gardens) which demonstrate the exceptional work of its ancient inhabitants to build their habitat in an unfavorable territory.
One of the most important cities during the viceroyalty, Guanajuato was a crucial site during the Mexican War of Independence. It has some of the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in America; it is an extraordinary example of an architectural complex that incorporates the industrial and economic aspects of a mining town. Walkthrough its beautiful alleys full of legends that tell the history of the city. Visit its most representative mines that still preserve objects used by the workers who made the city a benchmark in the mining towns of Mexico.
The city of Morelia, Michoacán, is the most visited destination without a beach in all of Mexico. It has 1,113 historical, civil, and religious monuments, which makes it a clear reference of architectural beauty in the Mexican Republic. Admire the characteristics of its buildings, the harmony in which the different architectural styles coexist that form their own as eloquent testimony to the history of Mexican architecture. Stroll through its Historic Center among squares, monuments, temples, mansions, museums, and natural sites, which will take you on a journey to the past and present of this city.
Formerly called the Verde Antequera, Oaxaca de Juárez took its name from Nahuatl and means “On the nose of the huaje.” Its Historic Center and the Monte Albán archaeological zone were reason enough to name it Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Since the 16th century, the Historic Center of Oaxaca preserves the perfectly delineated original line, identical to a chessboard. The Monte Albán ceremonial center brings together a set of pre-Hispanic monuments that display stelae (tombstones or pedestals) with hieroglyphs that commemorate the most important events in the history of the city.
Also called “The Reliquary of America” due to its architectural beauty, the city of Puebla was, according to legend, created and traced by angels to be enjoyed by mortals. Its magnificent monuments of Spanish colonial architecture earned this city the appointment of Heritage City. Religious center par excellence, the Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza was the first settlement corner of the Spanish conquerors in the region. Visit its central streets between buildings, facades, gardens, and balconies that reflect the history and the passing of the years. At night, visit the so-called Angelópolis, which has a wide variety of cafes, bars, and clubs.
Also called “Perla del Bajío”, the city of Santiago de Querétaro has established itself as a very attractive place for national and international tourism. The extraordinary beauty of its architectural heritage that exemplifies a colonial city; its dramatic history and its immense cultural heritage, the result of a multi-ethnic population, were fundamental aspects to obtain the UNESCO appointment in 1996. Admire its many baroque-style buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, located in the Historic Center from the city, where you can see its harmoniously laid out streets.
8. San Miguel de Allende
Recently entered on the UNESCO list, San Miguel de Allende is characterized by its degree of conservation, authenticity and integrity. Thanks to its cultural and artisan diversity; Buildings and monuments of great historical importance that contribute culturally and architecturally to the Mexican Baroque, in addition to its importance in the struggle for Independence of Mexico, this city is worthy of the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For its unique beauty, visit the Gothic and Baroque Cathedral of San Miguel. Don’t forget to try the delicious “tumbagones”, a dessert in the form of a crunchy wheat flour roll, covered with icing sugar.
Considered by locals and strangers as the most typical city in the state of Veracruz, Tlacotalpan is also a coastal port near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Called La Perla del Papaloapan, Tlacotalpan is distinguished by the architecture of its classic-style portals and its landscape of wide streets that are interspersed with columns and arches that adorn the place. Its unique urban structure, of great importance and quality, represents the mixture of Spanish and Caribbean traditions. Observe its historical monuments that, despite time, maintain the vernacular interpretation of the neoclassical style.
The city of Zacatecas reflects its appeal in its beautiful buildings that are true works of art. Its architecture and urban layout, as well as the irregularity of the alignment of its streets, constitute the splendor of its Historic Center recognized by UNESCO. Cross the city center by cable car and admire the city’s beautiful pink quarry monuments. Tour the legendary El Edén mine aboard an underground train that reaches the bowels of the earth, passing crucial points such as a chapel, the Mineral Museum, and other interesting sites.