Nuevo Casas Grandes, a very important
agricultural center, is located 222 miles northwest Chihuahua City. With an
elevation of 4,855 feet, it has a temperate climate.
Founded on 1661, by the order of the Governor of the New Vizcaya, Captain
Andres Garcia and his family settled Casas Grandes. This city celebrates its
regional fair during the last part of June, the first days of July. The
magnificent pottery from Mata Ortiz is exhibited. There are popular dances,
rooster fights, and horse races. The otherwise quiet town fills up with color
and pageantry. The entire community gets involved: hotels, restaurants, and
business celebrate these busy days.
Four miles to the west are Casas Grandes and Pauime, the most important
archeological sites of northern Mexico. They are situated on a large site
of more than 50 hectares in a beautiful valley. Paquime is an ancient city
planned with amazingly advanced urbanization. Its buildings and ceremonial
monuments were constructed with adobe bricks under a system of pre-strained mud.
They carried fresh water in and out the city with a functional hydraulic system.
Considering the epoch, it is a master piece. Its enormous plazas and big habitation
units exhibit a high grade of comfort developed by its inhabitants over nine
hundred years ago.
At the beginning of the 19th century, prominent archeologist A.D. Bandeller
discovered this zone. Currently, scientists and travelers still compare its
characteristics with other southwest cultures. For example, there is a
connection with the Mogollon culture in the southwest USA. Paquime also
presents Mesoamerican influences such as those reflected with ball games and
in some structures with the Quetzalcoatl Cult (an Aztec God). Existing evidence
shows that the region was inhabited since remote eras. The flourishing of this
culture was between 900 to 1250 AD.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History recently inaugurated an
on site MUSEUM OF THE NORTHERN CULTURES, where on display, there is a
complete explanation of this magnificent cultural site. Currently, only
about 30 hectares (divided into 16 units) have been explored. The fantastic
pieces of ceramics found in the area are of various shape and decoration.
These were used mainly for ceremonial occasions and offerings. They also
found pieces of jewelry like pendants and bracelets made out of sea shells,
bone, and turquoise, and some small stone anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures.
Unfortunately, around the year 1340, the city was burned and sacked by nomads.
MADERA is a hospitable city located 185 miles northwest of Chihuahua City.
The altitude here is 6,922 feet providing a mountain climate, clear pristine air,
and a great thermal oscillation. It is an agricultural, wood, and cattle center.
Driving only 5 minutes north of the town, one finds the Peņitas dam. During the
winter, thousands of noisy white Canadian geese and ducks adorn its waters.
The scenery touches ones heart.
Based in Madera one can visit the archeological site of 40 Casas. It is located
34 miles north of the city to the left, one finds a detour and after about a mile
is the parking. Good physical condition is recommended to visit the site.
In 40 Casas one will admire ancient adobe constructions in a series of caves
situated on the Arroyo del Garabato cliff. The most important is the Cueva de
las Ventanas, with a greater number of constructions. Also one can visit other
sites like the Cueva Grande and the Anazasi Complex.
While in Madera, one can camp, fish or hunt in the midst of marvelous scenery and history.