Tlalnepantla – the land in-between

Some time around the turn of the eleventh century indigenous tribes from the Valley of Anahuac trekked north and settled in the land that Franciscans, half a millennium later baptized, “Tlanepantla”. Today Tlanepantla thrives among Mexico’s largest populations, with nearly twelve million (12,000,000) inhabitants. Below the gray stones of Chiquihuite Hill, smelting, metalworking, machine-building, and […]

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During the Durangan spring, red lilies, which bloom before most other plants get a start, are spectacular from great distances.

Wildflower hunting in Durango

Driving across the state of Durango, flowers paint each region’s landscapes with local colors. Wildflower lovers enjoy Durangan flowers nearly all year long because a few hardy species tough out the region’s mild winters. Even so, mid- to late-summer and early-fall stage Durango’s most spectacular wildflower show, with composites lining roadsides, converting them into flowing […]

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New lighting facilitates evening visits to the Regional Museum of Durango, Mexico. Stanislao Sloneck designed the building to reflect French influence and style, which were popular at the time of its construction in the second half of the 19th century. © Jeffrey R. Bacon, 2009

Durango’s colonial architecture: eleven quarry stone gems

Colonial Durango — Victoria de Durango, Durango — staged many of Mexico’s most important historical events. Historic figures, including Guadalupe Victoria, Francisco Gómez Palacio, José María Patoni, José Ceballos, Domingo Arrieta León, Francisco “Pancho” Villa, and Francisco Castillo Nájera carried out their duties within and among the city’s colonial buildings. Many of the city’s important […]

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A view of Mexico's Ojuela ghost town from the mine. The narrow suspension bridge, the 'Puente de Ojuela,' is some 900 yards long. © Jeffrey B. Bacon, 2011

Puente de Ojuela in Durango: A 19th century suspension bridge from Mexico’s mining heyday

In a single second, excitement, awe, terror, and fascination passed through my mind, as I began the walk across Mapimi Municipality’s Ojuela Bridge, in the Chihuahuan Desert, of eastern Durango, Mexico. The adventure began years before the sole of my shoe touched the first plank of the more than 300-meter- (990-yard-) long bridge. As exciting […]

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Grey oak

Going native: gardens in Mexico become more Mexican

As the world’s environment deteriorates, some of Mexico’s streets and plazas are stepping back toward better ecosystems by going native. Curiously, most ornamental plant species in many Mexican cities are not at all Mexican, but rather, introduced, or exotic, species. However, that’s changing as some Mexican city planners are going native and helping their cities […]

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Cactus flower

Nopales, tunas and pitayas

Spiny, tough and menacing, the cacti seem peculiar choices as culinary delights. Cacti are well known novelties among potted plant collectors and gardeners, and some cacti, such as nopales (the stems of prickly pears) and tunas (cactus fruits) have recently gained popularity as a healthy foods outside of Mexico. However, the cactus is nothing new in the Mexican diet, […]

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Ceremonial antlers, huaje, and conch horn for the temazcal, a traditional native Mexican American purification ceremony © Jeffrey Bacon, 2012

Reborn in the temazcal: A traditional native Mexican American purification ceremony

We sit in darkness, on an earthen floor. Hot vapor condenses and drips down my skin as I hug my knees against my chest and breathe lightly to cool the scalding vapor before it reaches my lungs. The beat of a drum, leather stretched over a wooden frame, penetrates my chest, and we begin to […]

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