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Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Chiapas. It is considered to be the state’s most modern city, with most of its public buildings dating from the 20th century. One exception to this is the San Marcos Cathedral which began as a Dominican parish church built in 1560 for Zoque natives. Prior to this, there had been no significant settlement on the site. Unlike many other areas of Chiapas, Tuxtla is not a tourist attraction, but it is a transportation hub for tourists coming into the state, with a major airport and first class bus station. The city is business oriented with government providing a significant portion of the employment.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the largest and most modern city in Chiapas with an accelerated population growth rate. Most of its public buildings are from the 20th century, so there is very little colonial architecture. It is clean and business oriented. Residents of the city tend to be administrators, government officials, businessmen, teachers and students. The city has wide busy avenues, filled with cars, taxis, busses and more. Shopping ranges from modern commercial plazas and malls to traditional markets and open air tianguis.

In 2011, the city was the first in Mexico to be certified as a “safe city” by the federal government and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm due to its very low crime rate, crime prevention programs and other factors. According to the Financial Times and FDi magazine, Tuxtla is one of a number of cities worldwide considered to be “cities of the future.” It was evaluated based on its economic potential, human resources, cost-benefit ratio, quality of life, infrastructure and business environment.

The city is centered on a large square called the Plaza Cívica, which is surrounded by government buildings such as the municipal and state government offices (called “palaces”) . On one side of this plaza is the city’s most important landmark, the San Marcos Cathedral, named after the patron saint of the city, Mark the Evangelist . The church was founded in the second half of the 16th century, as a Dominican parish and has had significant changes to the structure since it was built. Its apse is the only one conserved in Chiapas from the colonial era, on which remnants of frescos can be seen. The current interior is Neoclassical. It has a single nave with a Latin cross layout with two side chapels. Its current facade and tower is modeled somewhat along colonial lines, with Doric columns. The structure’s current appearance, mostly in plain white, is a result of its last remodeling which was done in the 1980s.The best known feature of this church is the forty eight bells that ring out each hour, accompanied by a “parade” of statues of the Apostles that appear on the bell tower.

The city has a number of notable parks and other green spaces. Madero Park is located on 5a Norte Avenue where is crosses Calzada de Sumidero about six blocks from the Plaza Cívica. It is a green area which is cut by a street called Paseo de los Hombres Ilustres. Along this corridor, there are various museums and cultural centers which include the Dr. Faustino Miranda Botanical Garden, which occupies four hectares along the Sabinal River. Across from the garden is the botanical museum which has a large exhibition of the various wood trees of the state. There is also a natural history museum with a number of preserved species of animals and plants as well as artifacts and maps of the historical indigenous peoples of the state. Parque Jardín de la Marimba (Marimba Garden Park) is located is eight blocks from the Plaza Civica on Central Poniente and 8a Poniente Norte and named after the most characteristic musical instrument of the state. The park was established in 1993 to be a meeting place for families with, numerous trees, colonial style benches, lighting at night and a central kiosk. Here, marimba bands play, which often attracts older couples who come to dance. It also hosts larger musical and other events, usually related to the marimba.
On the edge of the city is the El Zapotal Ecological Reserve, best known as the home of the Zoológico Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo, often simply referred to as the ZooMAT. The zoo covers 100 hectares and was founded by Miguel Alvarez del Toro in 1942. He was also the director for over fifty years. ZooMAT is considered to be one of the best zoos of its kind in Latin America. It exhibits, studies, protects and preserves the native species of Chiapas, which have suffered severe stress due to human activities. The zoo has programs for research, environmental education and wildlife conservation. The zoo is especially known for its work in preserving the quetzal, being the first to breed the bird in captivity in the 1970s. The design of the zoo respects the topography of the zone and only exhibits regional wildlife. It contains 1,400 animals from 220 species including jaguars, tapirs, macaws, spider monkeys, howler monkeys and quetzals. Over 150 of the species freely roam in natural enclosures and in some areas, animals such as deer, iguanas, small reptiles and birds come very close to the areas where humans pass. Sixty of the species exhibited here are in danger of extinction, including the jaguar, the ocelot, the macaw, the quetzal and howler monkey.
The largest museum in the city is the Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia (Regional Museum of Anthropology and History), which one of the most important of its kind in Mexico. The building was constructed in modern style between 1979 and 1982, designed by architect Juan Miramontes Nájera. This design received first prize at the Third Biennial Architecture Contest in Bulgaria in 1985. Its permanent collection covers the history of the state and is divided into two halls: one for archeology and the other for history starting from the Spanish conquest . Next to it, there is the Museo de Palenontología “Eliseo Palacios Aguilera” which was inaugurated in 2002 and is the only museum of its type in the state. It contains exhibits of over 200 fossils, all from Chiapas, with range in age from 300 million to 10,000 years old. The main hall is centered on a reconstruction of a Megatherium. There is also a display dedicated to the amber of the state with pieces containing insects and spiders.

The Chiapas Museum of Science and Technology is an interactive museum for children and adults demonstrating advances in modern times in three halls: Earth and Universe, Life and Humans, and Communications and Tools.

The Mercado de los Ancianos is a large traditional market southeast of the center of town near the zoo. It offers fresh flowers, meat, seafood, clothes, household goods and more. It has an outdoor café under a big red tent, and serves its dishes prepared from the items available in the market. These include shrimp dishes, chicken, fried whole fish, carne asada (grilled beef) and tacos. The Instituto de las Artesanias y Productos de Chiapas (Institute of Handcrafts and Products of Chiapas), also called the Casa de Artesanias, is a large purple building on the main boulevard of town, run by the government to promote the state’s traditional products. These include the best of Chiapas handcrafts including textiles, clothing, toys, ceramics and wood sculptures as well as genuine amber jewelry. It also contains an Ethnographic Museum which shows scenes representing the lifestyles of the various indigenous groups of Chiapas with dioramas of rural villages and how crafts are made. There are also mannequins displaying indigenous dress. It also sells coffee and regional candies from the state.

The Casa de la Cultura of the city is located at Avenida 1a Ponente Norte. Two other important churches are the Santo Domingo Parish and the Santo Niño Temple.

As a municipality, the city is the local government authority for eighty three other communities which cover a territory of 412.40km2. The three urban communities of the municipality are Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Copoya and El Jobo. However, all of the rural communities have populations of less than 600 and most have less than 200. Important rural communities include Emiliano Zapata (Agua Fría), La Libertad, Tierra Colorada, Lacandón, San Juan and San Vicente El Alto. It borders the municipalities of San Fernando, Osumacinta, Chiapa de Corzo, Suchiapa, Ocozocoautla and Berriozábal.

Places of interest
• The Marimba Square
• Cathedral of San Marcos
Museums and galleries
• Botanical Museum
• Paleontology Museum
• Anthropology and History Museum
Parks and gardens
• The Botanical Garden
• Sumidero Canyon

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See also

Sumidero Canyon chai Chiapas del Corzo cahs San Cristobal de las casas chiapa San Juan Chamula chip Tuxtla Gutierrez chiapas Zinacatan chiapas Agua Azul falls chiapas Misol-Ha falls chiapas Palenque chiapas Restaurants in Chiapas chiapas Hostels in Chiapas

May 2008

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