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Queretaro, one of the 32 Mexican states, is characterised by its busy trade and the important colonial treasures in the historic city centre. Located 200 kilometres north of the Mexican capital, Santiago de Queretaro is situated at the crossroads of two main motorways, within reach of the main ports on both coasts. As a result, the city has attracted numerous international businesses and is the centre of the growing Mexican aerospace industry. The best hotels in Queretaro are for non-smokers and are notable for combining modernity and tradition, a feature that makes them stand out. Strategically situated close to the conference centre, the hotels in Queretaro are perfect for business trips and offer great access to the historic city centre, much loved by tourists due to its charming streets and beautiful Spanish colonial architecture. Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Queretaro is known as the pearl at the heart of Mexico. It is far more peaceful than the bustling capital to the south and offers equally important cultural assets.

A place in history

A journey through time in Queretaro begins by following in the footsteps of some of its more interesting colonial residents: the conspirators who planned to overthrow the Spanish government in 1810. Pretending to form a social club, the revolutionaries met in the house of Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, known as La Corregidora. Today, her imposing statue looks out sternly over the road that bears her name. Although they were discovered and suppressed by the Spanish government, the conspirators of Queretaro regrouped in order to fight for independence. Close by, the Queretaro Regional Museum is housed in a converted Franciscan convent. Its exhibitions show the history of the area in the different rooms. A highlight is the up-to-date exhibition on pre-Columbian life. A stroll to the Temple of Santa Cruz offers impressive views of the church's towers and the surrounding area. Here, visitors can get a glimpse of daily life in a monastery during the 17th century. Close by and at centre stage, visitors can see the "arbol de la cruz", a tree whose thorns grow in the shape of a cross. A little further up the hill, visitors will come across a lookout with views of the Queretaro aqueduct, known locally as "Los Arcos" (the arches). Long ago, this immense structure supplied all the water to the city.

Charming walks

Strolling around Querétaro is a delight. The vaulted cathedral, the lofty towers of the church and the beautiful fountains welcome travellers to this city. Pedestrianised streets form the backbone of the historic centre and colourful street vendors set up shop along them, selling ceramics, clothes and jewellery. One of the most important industries in Queretaro is the mining of opals. Visitors can still find impressive fire opals on sale in the jewellers or the street vendors' carts. There are many alfresco cafés and restaurants in the squares and gardens, attracting tourists and locals alike. The streets are meticulously clean and well maintained; a sign of civic pride.