The Architecture of Mazatlan's Precious Historic Center

The Historic Center of Mazatlan is well worth a visit, as it features many restored buildings in the tropical neoclassical style, as well as charming plazas where you can experience the city's bohemian and romantic side.

The Architecture of Mazatlan's Precious Historic Center
The Historic Center of Mazatlan is a treasure trove of amazing architecture. Photo by Jaime Florian / Unsplash

When you think of Mazatlan, you probably think of the sun, the beach, the nightlife, and the delicious food. But in the old part of the city, the Historic Center, there are dozens of reconstructed tropical neoclassical buildings and beautiful small squares where romantic and bohemian life happens.

Mazatlan, which is also called "The Pearl of the Pacific," is in the northwest of the Mexican Republic, in the south of the state of Sinaloa. It is an hour and twenty minutes by plane from Mexico City. Mazatlán, which means "Land of Deer" in Nahuatl, was founded by Nuño de Guzmán in 1531, 22.5 kilometers south of the imaginary Tropic of Cancer line.

The Mazatlan's Historic Center is only two blocks away from Paseo Olas Altas. It is in the southern part of this beautiful tourist port, which is known for its long and beautiful beaches, its world-famous carnival, and the friendliness and hospitality of its people, among other things.

Mazatlan's Historic Center is where the city's businesses first opened, neighborhoods called "cuarterias" were built, and two-story homes for the wealthy were built. In 1987, Governor Francisco Labastida decided to save the Historic Center, which goes from Olas Altas Avenue in the west to Benito Juárez Street in the east and from Miguel Alemán Avenue in the south to Angel Flores Street in the north.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History protects about 50 of the 400 blocks in the first section of the area. This section has farms and historic buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s that were built by German, Spanish, French, Italian, some Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, and even Arab colonies.

The port city's downtown is a National Historic Heritage Site and a trip back in time that you shouldn't miss if you go to this top tourist spot on the Mexican Pacific, where culture, romance, and fun all go hand in hand. After you get settled into the comfortable Hotel Melville, which was named after the famous author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville, you can start your tour of the beautiful Historic Center.

La Machado Square

Between Constitución and Carnaval, two blocks away from the Melville, a beautiful former nuns' school, is the Plazuela Machado, a place where locals and tourists meet for its outdoor cafes and restaurants, art galleries, academies, handicraft sales, and the Municipal Arts Center, which used to be a bank, hotel, casino, tractor distributor, and headquarters for the company that built the famous "pulmonias", the port's best mode of transportation,

In 1830, the Manuel M. Retes printing press was set up at the corner of these streets. It was used to print the first newspaper for the port, "El Correo de la Tarde," on which the poet Amado Nervo worked. Carnaval Street, which is on the east side of Plazuela Machado, is also where Mazatlan's famous Carnival begins. The Carnival has been held every February or March since 1820, but at the time, it was not organized. In 1898, this is where the first parade with floats started, and the first Carnival King was named. The first sovereign was crowned two years after that.

The Nightingale's Nest

Just a few steps away is the beautiful Angela Peralta Theater, a building with a double neoclassical facade and beautiful original boxes on the inside. It was named after the same-named Mexican opera singer, also called The Mexican Nightingale, who died in the port of yellow fever without having performed when she was there to do so.

The story goes that she only sang "La Paloma" (The Dove), a Cuban song, to thank the people of Mazatlan for how well they treated her. They would pull a cart from the dock to the hotel to take her there. The Angela Peralta Theater is the best place for many kinds of artistic performances.

The Cathedral Square

Four blocks away is the Plaza de la Republica, which is also called the Cathedral because it is in front of the Immaculate Conception Basilica, a beautiful church with a Carrara marble altar. The Municipal Palace is on the west side, the Federal Palace is on the east side, and there are shops on the south side.

The tour goes on to the Plazuela Hidalgo, also known as the "square of the lions" because of the two felines that watch over the library there; the San José Chapel; the Casa Chávez, which has a beautiful mask on the front and sculptures on the roof and was where the first bomb ever dropped from the air, in 1914. Also, the Casa Herrasti, the Casa Gómez Rubio, the Portales de Canobbio, the Quinta Margarita in front of the Zaragoza Park, the Casa Machado, the Archeology and Art Museums, and other beautiful old buildings.

Refreshments and Food

To quench your thirst after the hike, which is more challenging by the average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius/86 Fahrenheit, you can get a coconut smoothie, tejuino, or tesgüino (fermented corn with corn sugar, to which lemon, salt, and bicarbonate are added), tuba (a fermented coconut drink), jackfruit, plum, passion fruit, vanilla, or guava ice cream from a carafe, or a coffee from the lighthouse.

Marlin or beef machaca (dried meat) can be eaten for breakfast to satisfy your hunger. For lunch, try seafood, grilled fish, and shrimp made in many different ways, like aguachile, and country style. And for dinner, roast beef or chicken in the plaza, with fresh fruit juice, hibiscus, or horchata water. While desserts include banana or guava pie. There is also food from all over the country and the world. Don't hesitate. Mazatlan is ready to welcome you.