City (pop., 2000: 113,947), capital of Zacatecas state, Mexico. It lies in a deep, narrow ravine about 8,200 ft (2,500 m) above sea level. Founded in 1548, two years after silver was discovered in the area, it was given city status in 1585. Until the 19th century, the mines around Zacatecas yielded one-fifth of the world's silver. Mining is still important to the economy, but the city is also a commercial and manufacturing centre and is noted for its cathedral. The extensive Indian ruins of Chicomóztoc are nearby, southwest of the city.
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Zacatecas is a city in Mexico, the capital of the state of Zacatecas. It was founded 1548, two years after the nearby discovery of silver, and became an officially-recognized city in 1584. Its population as of the 2005 census was 122,889. Zacatecas is also the municipal seat of the municipality of Zacatecas which surrounds the city. The municipality had a population of 132,035 and an area of 444 km² (171.4 sq mi). The city is the largest in the state, slightly larger than Fresnillo (pop. 110,892), but the municipality of Fresnillo (pop. 196,538) has a greater area, with more population in its outlying communities.
Silver from Zacatecas and from Potosí in Bolivia was coined as pieces of eight and transported around the world by the Spanish treasure fleets and the Manila galleons. It was this silver that helped pay for the wars of the Spanish Empire.
In May 1835, Mexican federalists in Zacatecas rose in revolt against Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who had suspended the Mexican Constitution and established a dictatorship the previous year. Santa Anna responded by crushing the rebels. He then rewarded his centralist soldiers by allowing them two days of rape and pillage in Zacatecas, during which more than two thousand noncombatants were killed.
In 1914, during the Mexican Revolution, Zacatecas witnessed the bloodiest combat of the Mexican Revolution, in a battle known as the Toma de Zacatecas (Taking of Zacatecas) between the Federal armies of Victoriano Huerta and the Constititutionalist troops of General Francisco Villa. Villa's victory led to the end of the Huerta regime. A monument to the battle and General Villa is at the summit of the Cerro de la Bufa overlooking the city.
Mining is now no longer as important a part of the local economy, and in fact the primary mine (the Mina El Edén) has been converted into a tourist attraction, including an underground disco in a large hollowed out cave. Indeed, the city of Zacatecas is a popular tourist destination for Mexicans, and many of the local businesses cater to them.
Overlooking the city from an elevation of 150 m (500 ft) is the Cerro de la Bufa, a rocky outcropping crowned by a chapel and which is a popular spot for hiking and taking in the view of the city below. The city is also famous for its "Teleférico", an aerial tramway built by an Swiss company in 1978. The tramway starts at the Cerro del Grillo and "flies" over downtown Zacatecas giving passengers a breathtaking view of the city. The tramway then climbs up to the Cerro de la Bufa where passengers can either visit a museum or enjoy the view of the city.
Tourists particularly visit Zacatecas during the September Feria nacional de Zacatecas and again in the spring during Easter Week.
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