As Mexico’s second highest city at more than 2,400 meters above sea level, Zacatecas is literally breathtaking. The old city has a stunning architectural heritage, mainly dating to the 19th century and earlier, which is dominated by one of the finest cathedrals in Mexico. First established in the 16th century as a mining camp, Zacatecas is squeezed into a canyon and houses and churches perch precariously on near-vertical walls. Consequently, many of the streets in the city center are too narrow or steep for vehicle access. If you’re about to join the expatriate community in historic Zacatecas, you probably have a lot of questions. By joining the InterNations online community for expats, you can easily get in touch with other expatriates and learn from their experience about living in another country or culture, which may be out of your comfort zone. For, depending on where you are from originally, Zacatecas is certainly different. A city of great beauty, it has even been designated a World Heritage City by UNESCO.
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Any expat moving to Zacatecas will find the city to be a fascinating mix of antiquity and modernity. The city itself is home to around 150,000 residents. Expatriates moving to Zacatecas will quickly come to realize that there are many festivals throughout the year. One of the biggest is in honor of the local patron saint, the Virgen del Patrocino, and is held on September 8. It includes a rich variety of artistic and cultural events, including bull-fighting, horse racing and concerts. One landmark impossible to miss is the Cerro de la Bufa, a nearby mountain which is best accessed by a spectacular cable car ride. Among the points of interest not only for newly arrived expats living in Zacatecas are furthermore the Museum of La Toma de Zacatecas, dedicated to the battle fought here during the Mexican Revolution, and El Eden, a defunct silver mine which also houses a nightclub!
The state of Zacatecas used to rely almost entirely on mining for its wealth. Nowadays, however, it is the country’s main producer of chili peppers and beans as well as sizeable crops of sugar cane, grain, peaches and grapes. Rum, red wine and mezcal is also produced in large quantities. The role of manufacturing for the local economy has also been growing significantly and this is the one area that attracts most foreign investment, so expats in Zacatecas may very well be employed in this sector. Mining is still important and just under a quarter of the country’s gold and over 50% of silver comes from the active mines in Zacatecas state. Commerce and services, as well as tourism, are further important and growing sectors. Expatriates who are planning on working in Zacatecas can chat to others through InterNations and pick up some tips about life in Mexico.