Monterrey, Mexico. The capital of the Nuevo León region is a city of modern architecture and one of the largest cities in Mexico.
The third largest city in Mexico, Monterrey, lies to the northeast of the country, close to the Mexico-US border. It is one of the wealthiest Mexican cities with a GDP of over one hundred billion American dollars, and this wealth has made it one of Mexico’s most “Americanized” cities.
- Monterrey is the capital of the Nuevo León region of Mexico
- A city of modern architecture
The city was definitively founded in September 1596 by twelve families – led by Diego de Montemayor – who settled there after the Spanish colonized the rest of the southern Americas. The city remained small for much of the colonial period, until Mexican independence gave it a new leash of life. It prospered economically thanks to strong ties with Europe, as well as its geographical proximity to the United States. Heavy industry became the main source of economic growth from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards, leading to its nickname ‘Pittsburgh of Mexico’. Although this industry has now declined, the city continues to produce about one-quarter of Mexico’s raw steel, three-quarters of its glass containers, and sixty per cent of its cement.
One of Monterrey’s most recognizable landmarks is the Palacio del Obispado, a palace built in the Spanish colonial Baroque style, which overlooks the rest of the city center. It’s one of the city’s oldest buildings, having been completed before the nineteenth century. Another site of interest is the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma, which is a beerbrewery established in 1980, and currently operated by the Dutch company Heineken. The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the leading museums of its kind in the entire country, despite only having existed since 1991. In the northernmost point of the Macroplaza in the center of the city is the Palacio de Gobierno, where the office of the governor is located.
Cabrito is Monterrey’s most traditional cuisine, consisting of cooked goat. Roasted meat is also fairly popular among locals, commonly served with onions, potatoes and sausages.
The city celebrates a number of local festivals throughout the year. In the middle of July is the Puppet Festival, in which shows from Mexican and international performers are held to children around the city. A month later is the Monterrey International Film Festival, among the largest in Latin America, which presents national, Latin American and international films, as well as lectures and seminars. Between September and October there are two arts festivals. The first is Santa Lucía International Festival, which showcases dance, music and theatre. The second is the Extremadura Festival, another dance festival showcasing local dance groups.
The city is situated approximately 540 meters above sea level, slightly north of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, which provides a stunning backdrop to the city. Monterrey experiences long, hot summers, with average temperatures between April and September always exceeding 30C during the day. Winters here are mild.