|City & municipality|
|Village of Coyatoc||400 BC|
|Saint Mark Tuxtla||1748|
|Tuxtla Gutiérrez||May 31, 1848|
|• Municipal president||Samuel Toledo (PRI)|
|• Municipality||412.40 km2 (159.23 sq mi)|
|Elevation of seat||600 m (2,000 ft)|
|Demonym||Tuxtleño (a), Tuxtleco (a)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC−6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC−5)|
|Postal code (of seat)||29000 - 29100|
Tuxtla Gutiérrez ( ˈtukstla ɣuˈtjeres (help·info)) is the capital and the largest city of the Mexican southeast state of Chiapas. It is the only city and the most developed, populated and therefore the state's most important municipality. Unlike many other areas of Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutierrez is not a tourist attraction, but mainly a transportation hub for tourists coming into the state, with a major airport and a bus terminal of the state.
As there was no pre Hispanic settlement at the site, the first half of the name, "Tuxtla" refers to the valley area. Originally, this valley was called Coyatoc by the native Zoque population, which means “land or house of rabbits.” The Aztecs intruded into the area and named it «Tuchtlan» which means the same thing. “Gutiérrez” was added to the city's name in 1848 to honor Joaquín Miguel Gutiérrez, a Conservative politician.
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, and the subjugation of the Chiapa people in 1528, the Dominicans constructed a monastery in nearby Tecpatán, which today is an independent municipality. There is no official founding date for Tuxtla, but it is known that in the middle of the 16th century, these monks gathered dispersed Zoques in the valley into communities centered on churches. Today's Saint Mark Cathedral is the parish church founded by the Dominicans for one of these communities in 1560. During much of the colonial era, this was a relatively small community, governed by nearby Chiapa de los Indios, today Chiapa de Corzo.
By 1611, the community had a population of about 900 people, almost all Zoques, and in 1693, a group of these people rebelled and killed the then governor of the area Captain Manuel Maisterra y Antocha. The community remained mostly indigenous. In 1762, it had a population of about 1,400 with about half still paying tribute to the Spanish as conquered peoples. By 1768, it had grown enough to become the second "alcaldia mayor" in what is now the state of Chiapas, after San Cristóbal (de las Casas). Its population was about 3,700 by 1776. In 1786, the intendencia of Ciudad Real de Chiapas was formed, fusing the governments of Soconusco with those of Tuxtla and Ciudad Real de Chiapas, today's San Cristóbal de las Casas, with the first governor being Francisco Saavedra y Carvajal. The city remained head of a local district with jurisdiction over thirty three other communities.
The village was officially recognized as a town in 1813 with a population of about 5,000, three-quarters of which were Zoques. In 1821, the authorities of the town proclaimed independence from both Spain and the regional colonial government of Guatemala, along with other areas in what would become Chiapas. However, this declaration was not accepted by either Guatemala or Mexico. In 1823, various cities tried to form an independent state of Chiapas, but this did not settle the political situation. A referendum was held in 1824, with Tuxtla voting to become part of Guatemala. However, the results came out in favor of joining with Mexico. Tuxtla protested voting irregularities but by October of that year, it accepted the results.
For most of the 19th century, Conservative and Liberal factions would struggle for power in Mexico, with Tuxtla favoring Conservative ideology. The first newspaper in the city was published in 1827 called Campana Chiapaneca under Joaquin Miguel Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez died in 1838, fighting for Conservative ideals. The community would be named after him ten years later. In 1829, Tuxtla officially became a city, declared so by the governor of the state. The continued struggle between Conservatives and Liberals would cause the state capital to move between the traditional base of San Cristóbal de las Casas and the strategic base of Tuxtla. Tuxtla was capital for brief periods in 1834–35, 1858–1861 and 1864–1867 when the Liberals were in power. When Conservatives were in power, Tuxtla was the head of a department called the West District. It was not until the Porfirio Díaz era when major reform came to the state and with it the permanent placement of the capital to Tuxtla in 1892, where it has been since. In the 19th century, the city hall functioned as the state government building when Tuxtla was the capital but eventually a current "state government palace" was built.
The first library in the state was founded here in 1910.
During the Mexican Revolution, a battalion called "The Sons of Tuxtla" was formed in 1911, with Captain Julio Miramontes assassinated in 1912. Troops in support of Venustiano Carranza took over in 1914, led by Agustín Castro. In 1915, the state was reorganized into the municipality system with the city becoming the head of one of these, with Noé Vázquez as first municipal president. The city remained as the state capital. Reaction against Carranza policies were headed by the “Mapaches,” a group of landholders in the state who objected to the loss of their privileges and the redistribution of their lands. They burned the state government building, destroying its archives in 1915. General Salvador Alvarado and 2500 troops fought the Mapaches commanded by General Tiburcio Fernández Ruiz. Catholic churches were closed and images of saints were burned in the city in 1934.
In 1941, the municipal government moved from the old building on El Triunfo Street in the Santo Domingo neighborhood to the corner of Avenida Central and Calle 2ª Poniente on lands that belonged to the city's first municipal president. Here a new "municipal palace" was built in Neoclassical style. However, the municipal palace was moved again to its current location in 1982, and the Neoclassical building was given to the Federación de Trabajadores del Estado de Chiapas.
The Diocese of Tuxtla was created in 1965, elevated the parish of Saint Mark to a cathedral. Tuxtla Gutierrez became the hometown of actress Alejandra Meyer, whose acting career began during the 1960s. She is best known as Dona Chata on the television series Dr. Candido Perez. The first Feria de Chiapas was held in 1980. The municipality suffered 38 wildfires in 1988.John Paul II visited the city in 1990.
During the 1990s, the state of Chiapas was racked by the EZLN or Zapatista uprising. While most of this group's activity was in rural areas of the state, Tuxtla was also affected by it. As many as 10,000 Zapatista sympathizers protested in the city in 1998 to push federal officials to honor the 1994 San Andrés Accords and to push for new gubernatorial elections and other demands. The political instability pushed many indigenous into the municipality from more rural areas in the latter half of the decade. In 1998, PRD politician, EZLN activist and leader of the Asamblea Estatal Democrática del Pueblo Chiapaneco Rubicel Ruiz Gamboa was assassinated in the city. It is thought the act was in response to Ruiz Gamboa's work in land redistribution in the state's La Frailesca region.
In the 1990s, Mexicana airlines stopped service to Tuxtla, leaving only the Aerocaribe. A major crash killing nineteen persons led to protests and the reinstatement of service to the city by Mexicana in 2000. In 2011, the government of Guatemala announced that it would open a consulate in the city to support its nationals who cross through Mexican territory or reside here. The government noted the problems that many Guatemalans, especially those who enter Mexico illegally have had in the country. Many travel through the area illegally. A tractor trailer with 219 illegal immigrants was stopped in the municipality in early 2011. Most were Guatemalan and almost all from Central America but there were also people from Sri Lanka and Nepal. The migrants were detected by using portable X ray on the passing truck.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the largest and most developed city in Chiapas with an accelerated population growth rate. It is clean and mainly business oriented. 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 Saint Mark 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.
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.
Over 46% of the population of the Central Valley region of Chiapas lives in the city. Most are young, with 66% under the age of thirty and the average age of twenty three. The rate of population growth is about four percent, with the population expected to double in less than twenty years. 99.56% of the municipality's population lives in three urban areas with the rest scattered among 81 other rural communities. The population density is 1,053/km2 well above the regional average of 75/km2 and state 52/km2. The average woman has 2.27 children, below the regional average of 2.87 and the state average of 3.47. There is some immigration into the city, mostly from Veracruz, State of Mexico and Mexico City.
The population growth of the municipality has exceeded that of the state for the last five decades. From 1990 to 2000, the municipality has a growth rate of 3.95% almost double the state average. However, the greatest rate of growth was between 1970 and 1980 when it was 8.6%. This population growth has led to high demands for lands, housing, infrastructure and services, with many not able to keep up, especially in low income areas, which is about 40% of the city. There are an estimated 15,000 cases of illegally tapping into the city's water distribution system, with an estimated loss of millions of pesos. This is done by industries, small business and homes. The evasion of payment has made it difficult for the city to finance expansion of the system into new neighborhoods.
Just under eighty percent are Catholic with just over thirteen percent belonging to Protestant or other Christian groups.
Most of the population is mestizo with a significant population of ethnic Zoques. Although about 25% of the state's population speaks an indigenous language, the percentage is much lower in the municipality of Tuxtla. As of 2005, there were 8,256 people who spoke an indigenous language out of a total population of 434,143. The percentage of indigenous language speakers rose somewhat from 1995 to 2000 as many rural people moved into the area as a consequesnce of the Zapatista rebellion. This has added languages such as Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Zapotec and Ch'ol to the native Zoque.
Culture and gastronomy
The two most important local celebrations are the Feria de Saint Mark and the Feria de Chiapas. The Feria de Saint Mark (Saint Mark Fair) occurs each April in the center of the city, honoring the patron saint of Mark the Evangelist. It includes offerings, fireworks in frames called «castillos» (castles) and pilgrimages for four days starting on the 25th. The Feria de Chiapas includes bullfights, horse racing, cockfights and exhibitions of the many products of the state, including crafts, manufactured goods and agricultural products. It is held on the next to last Sunday of November through the first Sunday of December. Reflecting the area's Zoque heritage is the Zoque Carnival and a ritual called the "lowering of the virgins" which occurs in Copoya. Other important celebrations in the municipality include the San Roque, San Jacinto, San Pascualito, San Francisco, Santo Domingo and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Much of the cuisine of the municipality reflects that of the rest of the state and includes pictes (a sweet corn tamale), la chispota (beef with chickpeas and cabbage), niguijuti (pork with mole sauce), sopa de pan (bread with broth and vegetables), cochito (pork in adobo sauce), chanfaina (lamb innards with rice), a legume called patashete, and traditional Chiapas tamales made with chipilín. Local drinks include pozol, taxcalate, agua de chía tashiagual and pinole. Some local specialties include carnes parrilladas (grilled meat platter), carne molida tartars (spicy ground meat "cooked" with lime juice with onions, tomatoes and cilantro).
The city has an altitude of 600 meters above sea level and sit in the long narrow Tuxtla Valley, which is part of the larger Central Valley region of the state. On the north and south sides of the municipality, the land rises into mountainous terrain as one heads out of the valley.
With its relatively low altitude, the area has a hot and relatively humid climate with most rain falling in the summer. However, it is not as hot and humid as Houston or New York City in high summer. Except for a rainy and dry season (summer-fall and winter-spring respectively) there is little variation in the climate during the year. Even the distinction between the rainy and dry season is one of quantity of rain. Air conditioning is rare as most homes and offices use fans and most rooms and offices open into streets or courtyards. Most businesses close in the late afternoon from between 2 until 4:30 or 5:00 when it can get hot. Although it is not on the coast, it is close enough that hurricanes and tropical storms can affect it at time. In 2003, Tropical Storm Larry caused flooding in the city, forcing the evacuation of 7,000 people.
|Climate data for Tuxtla Gutiérrez|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.6
|Average high °C (°F)||29.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||23.0
|Average low °C (°F)||16.2
|Record low °C (°F)||7.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||1
|Avg. precipitation days||0.7||0.6||0.6||1.7||8.1||17.8||16.9||16.6||18.1||8.4||2.5||1.3||93.3|
The natural vegetation of the area is lowland rainforest; however much as been cut down by logging and clearing for farmland and pasture. Most of the municipality's forest and wildlife is found in a number of reserves including the Centro Ecological Recreativo El Zapotal, the Cerro Maxtumatzá State Reserve, the Vedada Villa Allende Protected Forest Zone and the Sumidero Canyon National Park. The largest of these is Sumidero Canyon which spreads out over 21789.41 hectares in three other municipalities besides Tuxtla. It was established in 1980. El Zapotal was created in 1990 and extends over 192.57 hectares completely within the municipality. It contains lowland rainforest, subtropical forest and some highland rainforest. All of these contain deciduous and perennial species. Cerro Maxtumatzá was established in 1997 and with an area of 613.70 hectares within the municipality. It contains oak, holm oak and tropical forests and with some areas still containing old growth. Because of the rapid growth of the city, these green areas are under pressure. In 2011, over 200 illegal squatters were evicted from an area called “El paraíso” on the Mactumactzá Mountain, which is an ecological reserve in the municipality. This settlement covered an area of ten hectares.
As of 2000, the rate of illiteracy was 7.66% down from 10.68% in 1990. This is lower than the state average of 22.91%. Of those over the age of fifteen, just under fourteen percent have not finished primary school, just over fifteen percent have only completed primary school and the rest have gone beyond this level.
There are numerous universities and colleges as well as business and language schools. The Instituto Tecnológico de Tuxtla Gutiérrez (ITTG) was founded in the 1970s as the Instituto Tecnológico Regional de Tuxtla Gutiérrez (ITRTG) offering programs in Internal Combustion Engines, Electricity, Laboratory Chemist and Machines and Tools. Today, the school offers various university level majors such as Industrial Engineering, Computer Systems and Biochemistry. Since 1998, it has offered Masters in Biotechnology, Administration and Biochemical Engineering.
The municipality is the only one in the state with a very low rate of economic marginalization. As of 2005, there were 121,312 residences, with 111,567 owned by their occupants. On average, there are 4.25 occupants per household, slightly lower than the regional and state averages of 4.52 and 4.85. Almost all of these have some kind of flooring with less than ten percent having packed earth. Over 84% of homes have block sides and over 70% have concrete slab roofs under 15% having asbestos roofs. Over 98% have electricity, over 78% have running water and about 94% have sewerage service.
Over 75% of the city's population is employed in commerce and services, which includes government. This is above the regional level of 53.36% and state level of 37.31%.Government at the state, federal and local levels has been one of the main sources of employment in the city since the 1970s. Although the city has 68 hotels with 2,874 rooms, it is not a major tourist attraction. Most visitors to the city are there on business or Mexican nationals. However, it is a main transportation hub for those going to other parts of the state, with its first class bus station and new airport. Tourism during Holy Week adds over 150 million pesos to the state's economy, much of which passes through the city, especially the main airport. The city saw hotel occupancy rates rise fifty percent in 2003 during Holy Week. Grupo Ferrara constructed 100 new hotel rooms in the city in 2006, including an executive tower at the Holiday Inn. Most foreign visitors through the city are young, especially from European countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and England, who pass through the bus station. However, most that pass through either the airport or the bus station do not explore the city itself, because tour guides often state there is nothing here.
Just over 19% of the population is dedicated to industry, manufacturing, construction and transportation. Just over two percent of the municipality's population is dedicated to agriculture, livestock and forestry compared to 26.14 of the region and 47.25% of the state. Economic activities include commerce and the agricultural production of corn, beans, fruit, dairy cattle and domestic fowl.
In the central and west part of the city is only upper class population, residential areas, subdivisions and most shopping centers of the city, so there pure quiet suburban neighborhoods, without problems with the crime. In areas surrounding the center of the east, because since its origins, the city grew to the east, are the old and popular neighborhoods where immigrants live from villages of Chiapas like San Cristobal de las Casas and Chiapa de Corzo, while far north (except very the northwest) and the east are the slums, home to illegal Central American who arrived as paracaidistas (paratroopers in Spanish). In these areas are the only city "technical secondary"
The city is a transportation hub for the rest of the state. The municipality has 54.25 km of highway, over half of which is rural roads (28.75 km) with the rest administered by various federal and state agencies. This includes the Pan American Highway . It also includes a new highway linking it to Central America. The first class bus station serves many Mexican travelers as well as backpackers especially from Europe. The large airport connects to many other parts of Mexico. The bus station is served by the Cristobal Colon, Maya de Oro, ADO and Rapidos del Sur lines. Around the bus station there are parks and numerous affordable restaurants.
The city has always had two airports although one was replaced by a newer facility and the other was rehabilitated as both were considered dangerous. Today, the city's main airport is 35 km from the center of the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. It has become one of the more important airports in the country since opening in 2006 with just over 640,000 passengers traveling through it in 2009. It is also one of the most modern facilities in the country, covering 740 hectares. It cost about one billion pesos to build and was funded by government and private investors. Its official name is Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport, with IATA code TGZ. There is taxi service from the airport to the Chiapa de Corzo and bus service to both Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal de las Casas. The new facility can receive flights directly from the United States and Central America with plans for South American arrivals in the future. Continental Airlines began service between Houston and Tuxtla in 2010. Interjet provides service between Mexico City and Tuxtla which now includes an "Ecojet" which is modified to be more fuel efficient.
Each major event held in the city is estimated to bring in about 40 million pesos of business. The fourth event of the NASCAR Corona Series in 2011 was held in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. The Carrera Panamericana begins in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and ends in Zacatecas six days later for a distance of 3,261 km. The race has featured historic cars such as the Volvo 257 and the Studebaker, as the competition is divided into categories such as Tourist, Sport, Historical and Original Panamericana. The race has a long history but its current incarnation began in 1988 as a rally. The original ran from Ciudad Juárez to Tuxtla Gutiérrez in the 1950s.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tuxtla Gutiérrez.|
- Tuxtla Gutiérrez
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- Information of the building at Skyscraperpage.com
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- Atienden pobreza extrema en Tuxtla (Spanish)
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- "Continental Airlines; Continental Airlines Announces New Nonstop Service Between Houston, Texas, and Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico". Journal of Transportation. April 3, 2010. p. 79.
- Alberto Lopez (April 4, 2011). "Interjet y Chiapas escriben historia en la aviación" [Interjet and Chiapas write aviation history]. Economista (in Spanish) (Mexico City). p. 3.
- "Se presentó la AC DELCO 240" [Presenting the AC Delco 240]. ESPNdeportes.com (in Spanish) (ESPN). May 13, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
- Roberto Ramirez (October 23, 2010). "Arranca Carrera Panamericana" [The Carrera Panamericans starts up]. Reforma (in Spanish) (Mexico City). p. 11.