The charm of Tequisquiapan (Tequis, affectionately called by locals and visitors) is evident both in its busy center, full of colonial buildings, and in its outskirts, in the semi-arid landscape of the state of Querétaro, México.
I am lucky to have a friend in this beautiful town. From Mexico City, where I live, it takes around 2 hours (170 km) to arrive, which makes this town a perfect destination for a weekend.
The word "Tequisquiapan" comes from the Nahuatl "Tequixquitle" which means "Place on the tequesquite waters", which has to do with the thermal waters that flow in underground rivers.
My friend, who lives on the outskirts of the town, in a quiet neighborhood away from the noisy downtown, received me on a Friday afternoon at his house. After talking and sharing a light snack we decided to go to sleep to wake up early and visit the places of interest nearby.
In the morning, after having a breakfast of bread and coffee, the first place we visited was the Centenario Dam, on the outskirts of Tequisquiapan, which functions as a water reserve for local agriculture. The place is reputed to be contaminated by bacteria and industrial waste; nevertheless, perhaps because it was rainy season, the water and the riverbank were clean and the landscape was overwhelming and relaxing.
Old Bernal Station
The next stop in our adventure, also in the vicinity, was the old Bernal Station, now in disuse, with more than 100 years old, which was the closest transport destination, since the last century, for those who wished to go to the nearby town of Bernal. In the place there is still the office of the station and an old locomotive.
Although the station has been in disuse for decades, since the passenger trains stopped being used, the road is still active; Freight railways that stop only in large cities pass through the station continuously.
Freight train passing through Bernal Station
After walking a little along the rails, away from the tourists, the station and the road, it is possible to appreciate the natural ecosystem of the Mexican shoal.
Small mesquite tree on the roadside
Sahuaros of 3 meters high, garambullos (a sweet cactus with which locals make snow candy) and mesquites laden with pods give life and greenery to the plain and are the habitat of hares, badgers, opossums and snakes, among others.
Mesquites, Garambullos & Sahuaros
After noon we went on foot, from my friend's house where we went to eat, to the bustling center. To get there we had to cross a bridge only known by residents.
Under the bridge there is a riverbed through which flows a slight river that gives life to a small but hypnotic dream forest.
Under the Bridge
On our route, in direction to downtown, we passed by La Pila Park, which took its name from the container pile, built since its foundation, where in the past water was stored there to supply the place.
Entrance of La Pila Park
Inside La Pila Park, the pile and the aqueduct that supplied it are already in disuse. Nowadays it is a perfect place where visitors and locals enjoy a family walk under the fresh shade of the sabinos (the national and native tree of Mexico) that grow in the place.
Aqueduct in La Pila Park
And finally, after almost 30 minutes of quiet walk through the narrow cobbled streets, we reach Plaza Miguel Hidalgo, the center of Tequisquiapan.
The first thing we saw, on one side of the square, is the Parish of Santa María de la Asunción, a religious temple of neoclassical style that was built with pink quarry in the year of 1874.
Parish of Santa María de la Asunción
The arches bordering the square, the kiosk of quarry and blacksmith shop, the restaurants, bars and clubs, and the bustle of the many tourists, was just what I expected: the typical hubbub and colorful of the Mexican towns. With good reason, on October 16 of the year 2012, Tequisquiapan was named by decree "Pueblo Mágico".
It started at sunset when we decided to return. On the way we passed through a curious construction, the "Monument to the Geographical Center". The monument is a tripod with a pendulum in the shape of a drop suspended over a convex and relief representation of the Mexican Republic.
Information plate of the Monument to the Geographical Center
It is worth mentioning that said monument, ordered to be builded by Venustiano Carranza (before became President, and who liked to go to the town to enjoy its thermal waters), was just a whim, because the geographic center of the country is not there. However, the monument remains as a tourist curiosity.
Monumento al Centro Geográfico
From there we went to a local dining room, where we had dinner. The next day we had to go back to Mexico City. For a lightning weekend trip it was enough. We missed visiting the temples of Our Lord Jesus and the Holy Trinity, the handicraft markets, the Cultural Center, the Cheese and Wine Museum, the Constitution Museum, the thermal water aquatic parks, the Opal Mine, etc. .
In addition to its intrinsic appeal, Tequisquiapan and its surroundings offer visitors a unique atmosphere during the holidays.
• From 27 to 30 March the Celebration of Holy Week.
• On July 22, the Anniversary of the City Foundation.
• On August 15 the Patronal Feast: Santa María de la Asunción.
• On September 8, the Nativity of Mary.
• From the 16th to the 22nd of December, inns with floats.
• And during June, July, August and September, tour the Cheese and Wine Route, visiting the vineyards and cellars nearby, to celebrate the Harvest Festival.