Postcard from Queretaro, Mexico: A picturesque center sheltered from the affluence of its suburbs

A safe haven in Mexico, Santiago de Queretaro has attracted lucrative businesses and manufacturers to establish headquarters in what formerly were its outskirts. The population has swelled to more than one million, with its affluence attracting the 2013 opening of Antea, the largest mall in Latin America. Chanel, Burberry, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana – they are all there.

Fortunately, you are sheltered completely from all of this when staying in the historic center of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heart of the city mercifully remains unscathed by the invasion of fashionable international chains.

The charm of the historic center, as noted by UNESCO, is created by its successful merger of diverse cultures:

The property is unusual in having retained the geometric street plan of the Spanish conquerors side by side with the twisting alleys of the Indian quarters. The Otomi, the Tarasco, the Chichimeca and the Spanish lived together in the town, which is notable for the many ornate civil and religious Baroque monuments, with a skyline that has been defined since the 16th century. The urban layout of is unique for Spanish colonial towns in the Americas in that its town plan was from the start divided into two distinct sections – one rectilinear and intended for Spanish settlers and the other composed of smaller, winding streets where the indigenous population lived.

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