Northern Chihuahua State

Most people hurry through northern Chihuahua State on their way to more famous sights further south. But to do so is to overlook several intriguing and off-beat destinations. The seamy industrial city of Ciudad
Juárez - gritty, energetic and thoroughly uncompromising - is now at the heart of a highly publicized
drugs war. Supplying teeming glimpses of urban life on the edge, this city can seem like a living testament
to everything that's wrong with the life on the US-Mexico border. International TV journalists need
bullet-proof vests when reporting here, but be discreet and you almost certainly won't. If such challenges don't appeal, the rugged mountains and deserts promise more sedate encounters with the pre-Hispanic
past. Like the contemporary border towns of the 21st century, the ancient north was a frontier between two competing cultures; the Chichimeca hunting tribes of northern Mexico and southwestern United States; and the grand city-states of Central Mexico and Mesoamerica to the south. The superb archaeological site of Paquimé features labyrinthine complexes of undulating walls, quite unlike anything else in Mexico. Whilst the cliff-top cave city of Cuarenta Casas, is enmeshed in the landscape itself and quietly crumbling in desolation. The inhabitants of these dwellings were fine craftsmen and their artistic legacy is continued by their descendants; visiting a workshop in the village of Mata Ortiz affords the opportunity to acquire some really beautiful pottery.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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