Quinta Real Zacatecas

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Discover the Quinta Real Zacatecas, which was once a famous bullfighting ring known as the Plaza de Toros.

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Quinta Real Zacatecas, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2013, dates back to 1866.


Once a stage for the world's most notable bullfighters, the Quinta Real Zacatecas was initially founded as the Plaza de Toros. Built in 1866 next to the historic El Cubo aqueduct, the Plaza de Toros originally emerged at a time when Zacatecas—and the rest of Mexico—was experiencing a period of political instability. As different factions in Zacatecas confronted one another about the future of the country, life in the city became wrought with hardship. In need of some enjoyable distractions, a few enterprising citizens created a sporting arena that soon became known as the “Plaza de Toros.” The Plaza de Toros quickly established itself as one of Zacatecas most popular venues, as it held all kinds of exciting athletic events. The arena developed an especially renowned reputation for its bullfighting matches. Over time, the Plaza de Toros hosted many celebrated matadors, including Lino Zamora, Epifanio del Rio, Eloy Cavazos, Manolo Martinez, and Curro Rivera. As such, countless residents inside Zacatecas frequented the facility for generations, making it a cherished icon throughout the entire city. But in 1975, the plaza witnessed its last corrida and almost faced demolition. It was fortunately saved by Ricardo and Roberto Elias Pessah, who transformed the structure into a luxury boutique hotel. Highlighting the historic significance of its architecture and location, Quinta Real Zacatecas opened for the first time in 1989. Shortly after opening its doors, the vibrant hotel received the International Architectural Award for its outstanding restoration. Today, Quinta Real Zacatecas boasts luxury and opulence while utilizing its historic and cultural setting. While the hotel showcases elements of the original structure throughout its walls, the bullfighting ring remains the leading attraction of the stately Quinta Real Zacatecas. A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2013, the Quinta Real Zacatecas continues to be one of the best holiday destinations in all of Zacatecas.

  • About the Location +

    Long before the creation of present-day Zacatecas, the area was inhabited by dozens of Native Americans tribes that included the Guamares, the Huichols, and the Zacatecos. While most were nomadic in nature, one group—the Caxcans—developed temporary settlements that sought to control the region. The Caxcans specifically created their major cities near extensive silver deposits that helped fuel their local economy. As such, the Caxcans often came into conflict with a few other neighboring tribes, such as the warlike Guachichiles. Nevertheless, the Native Americans soon found themselves confronting an entirely new foe at the start of the 16th century—the Spanish. In the early 1540s, one Spanish conquistador named Pedro Almendez Chirinos invaded the region after helping his commander, Nuño de Guzmán, conquer several territories further south. With a band of colonial militia and native allies, Chirinos reached the area and established a rustic frontier outpost. Administrating Zacatecas proved incredibly difficult for Chirinos, however, as hostile bands of Caxcan warriors beset the fledgling city through constant guerilla raids. Chirinos eventually fled back toward the coast, leaving Zacatecas completely abandoned. Many Spanish colonists soon perceived the location as incredibly dangerous, although a few enterprising conquistadors nonetheless tried to conquer the region in vein. Then in 1848, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza directed a devastating military campaign against the Caxcan, which culminated in a climactic battle that left their civilization devastated. While smaller, isolated uprisings would continue for some time thereafter, the Spanish had ultimately solidified their control over the area.

    In the wake of the conflict, the Spanish colonists discovered the myriad silver deposits that proliferated across the region. Colonial military officials subsequently opened its own mining camp called the “Minas de Nuestra Señora de Remedios” in 1548. Its mining operations were incredibly profitable, inspiring hundreds of other settlers to head north into the area and develop their own mines. The camp soon developed into a full-fledged city known as “Zacatecas.” Over time, many different craftsmen and their families relocated to Zacatecas to support the growing mining industry, which made the community one of the largest in colonial Mexico. The sheer amount of wealth flowing into Zacatecas also gave the city a significant amount of political power, too. In fact, Zacatecas became the capital city for a sprawling province of the same name! The mines managed to fuel the city’s economy for centuries afterward, even as the influence of Spain diminished greatly. Indeed, Zacatecas and its silver mines managed to endure the hardships wrought from the prolonged Mexican War of Independence with relative ease. But over the course of the 19th century, political instability gradually eroded the city’s prosperity. The climax of this tumult transpired a century later amid the Mexican Revolution that pitted liberal reformers against the rule of Porfirio Díaz. In fact, Zacatecas was the site of a pitched battle between the rebel forces of Francisco “Pancho” Villa and government loyalists. Since then, Zacatecas has reemerged as one of Mexico’s most important cities. It is also one the country’s most visited, especially among cultural heritage travelers. Those visitors in particular enjoy seeing the historic colonial core of Zacatecas, which the United Nations has declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

  • About the Architecture +

    In keeping with the historical character of the surrounding city skyline, the original developers of the Plaza de Toros used elements of Spanish Colonial architecture to craft its magnificent façade. Spanish colonial architecture harkens back centuries and is one of the most prolific design aesthetics seen throughout the Americas today. The form itself emerged when the first generations of Spanish colonists began arriving from Europe at the start of the 16th century. Seeking to establish similar settlements to the ones found in their native Spain, the pioneers began to essentially recreate European cities across Mexico. Many of the earliest settlers crafted buildings that combined elements of architectural motifs popular in Spain at the time, including Renaissance, Moorish, and Byzantine forms. Over time, though, those beautiful and extravagant styles were complemented by other, newer forms, such as Neoclassical and Baroque architecture. The amalgamation of all those unique styles eventually produced structures that were incredibly decorative and ornate. But despite the variety in their appearance, they mostly shared the same general layout and qualities. For instance, the buildings typically featured a central courtyard, as well as thick stucco walls that could endure diverse climate of both North and South America. Among the other recognizable features that they possessed included heavy carved doors, spiraled columns, and gabled red-tile roofs, as well. This new stunning architectural form soon defined the landscape of countless Spanish cities in the “New World,” such as Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara, and of course, Zacatecas. Many of those buildings still survive to this day, too, with some even preserved as recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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