Mexico: Mexico Expo - Durango, Mexico

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Durango, founded in 1563, was named after Durango Spain. The custom of naming settlements in Mexico after existing towns in Europe was not uncommon during the early days of Mexico and Durango is one more example. The town was an early Spanish outpost during the 17th and 18th centuries and later became the site of significant battles between the Spaniards and the local Indians.

A part of Durango's history is it's use as a filming location for some of Hollywood's classic westerns. These sets were also used by Mexican production companies and many of these movie sets are still in place today. Tours of some of these sets can be made by contacting the State Tourism Office at 011-52 (181) 1-2139.

Today Durango has a population of approximately 600,000 locals and is still a major commercial crossroads for northwestern Mexico. Officially known as Victoria de Durango, this historic town is located in the Guadiana Valley at approximately 6,196 feet above sea level. Because of the altitude summers are not oppressively hot and because of the latitude winters are relatively mild.

Like most towns in Mexico, Durango features a central plaza with gardens and a raised stage area. Sunday concerts bring the plaza alive, although the locals also use the plaza as a gathering place during the week. The city also hosts two annual consecutive fairs during the first part of July. Music, dancing, food and drink are hard to avoid during these celebrations!

Durango also features Mexican Charreados, which are the equivalent of rodeos in the U.S. There are several Charro rings in town, and the locals take great pride in this long time tradition.

Shopping can be found in the downtown district as well as at the Mercado Municipal just east of the plaza. The market offers pretty much what you would expect to find in a Mexican market, including leather goods, handicrafts and clothing. Additional shops can be found around the plaza, about 5 minutes to the west.

The State Tourism Office is located at #408 Calle Hidalgo Sur three blocks west of the plaza.

Flights to Durango usually come through Mexico City and Guadalajara via Aero California and Aero Mexico. The airport is 15 minutes northeast of the city.

A common excursion from Durango is the coastal city of Mazatlan, about two hundred miles to the southeast. Mexico Highway 40 is usually in good condition, and the scenery through the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range is spectacular.

For further information drop by the MAZATLAN section of Mexico Expo.