WHY VISIT ZUMPANGO DEL RIO- THE TOWN OF SKULLS
Normally we all like big and flashy cities, but we tend to miss out on the beauty of small towns, where you can simply walk among historic sites and modern places. If you are like me, who treasures history and places where you can travel centuries in the past, you will enjoy a walk thru the town of skulls. This is what Zumpango del Rio means in the original language. It’s not just a made up name, it’s a name that carries a lot history to dig up.
WALKING THROUGH A GRAVEYARD
About 15 minutes north of Chilpancingo the capital of Guerrero, México, you’ll find Zumpango Del Rio, a town which originated from a very small town named Zumpantzi, with only about fifteen houses.
Today the main spoken language is Spanish but centuries ago the original language was Nahuatl, a language composed of symbols. Throught out time, little by little, with the visit of french and Spanish foreigners, Nahuatl is almost a language lost in time. Today is very rare to find someone in Zumpango who speaks Nahuatl, even though you can find it in other parts of México. It’s interesting to know that the Mexican goverment even gives you books to learn Nahuatl in the purpose to preserve these original languages alive.
When you arrive to the town of Zumpango Del Rio the sign of 22,322 population is one of the first things you see, getting off the highway and entering Zumpango, but don’t be fooled by it, it’s an old sign. Zumpango is home to around forty-five thousand people, and it keeps on growing. Many Believe it could soon be part of the city of Chilpancingo.
Think about it, a graveyard where people were sacrifice for ritual purposes, is now a home to many. From a few houses to thousands.
LET’S TRAVEL BACK CENTURIES
Zumpango del Rio contains a lot of history that has been pass down orally thru their people. About three hundred years back many guerrilleros fought their battles at Zumpango. You can even find an Amate tree where during the war of independence people were hanged. Until this day the Amate tree is still standing, knowing the history of this tree, the town people have taken care and preserved the tree.
Other buildings like El Ayuntamiento has been standing for two hundred years. It started has an hacienda of a Spanish man living there, with no family, later on with time he left leaving everything he had and until today the building is being used for the people of the town.
Many who visit Zumpango don’t know they are close to a hill that is actually an inactive volcano. Being among soo many green and grassy hills you also miss out on a hidden pyramid found years ago by a women trying to expand her territory. Excavating she hit a wall, and after archaeologist researched the place they discovered rooms inside the “hill” and many other articles like engrave pots, dolls, whistles, signs of antique history. Even when building their houses people have found gold, gems and many skulls.
WHAT YOU CAN ENJOY TODAY
Walking through the town I can imagine what it could be like to walk through places like Italy or Romania, where the old-vintage-style houses given off centuries of history.
Around the town you will appreciate the view of a few distinct murals, exalting the out standing cultural art of Zumpango Del Rio, México.
Walking to the center of the town you will find their famous Alameda, a tiny park, which during the day is surrounded by Chamoyadas stands, selling natural flavor ice treats decorated with the fruit of your choice (cherry, tamarind, pineapple, strawberry, coconut, mango, cucumbers, passion fruit etc). Also stands with beautifully decorated pottery, home made pizzas and benches to sit and enjoy your Chamoyadas, or maybe a natural fruit ice-cream, which in my opinion are very tasty, meanwhile enjoying a view of natural beauty around the park.
A MERCADO FULL OF CULTURE
All around México you will find various mercados, but the mercado of Zumpango is always full of life. People from other smaller towns travel there to stock up groceries because of the variety of fruit, vegetables, meat and spices they can find. For those who love to find tradicional attire from the region, in many models and colors, Zumpango Del Rio is the place to go. People who live in the city of Chilpancingo visit Zumpango Del Rio to eat their unique Gorditas, a round dough fried in pork grease stuffed with cheese, meat of your choice, chicken, and different salsas.
If you are looking to try new and delicious dishes, every thursday the state of Guerrero has the “Jueves pozolore” tradition. Distinctly in this area, besides the normal grain Pozole, you will find Elopozole, made of corn grains. Very sweet corn mix with chicken and red chili soup, seasoned with onions, oregano, slide peppers and tostadas (fried corn tortillas).
At night you will have many other places to entertain your self, like the coffee shop Aroma café with a menu of tasty cakes, waffle specials, Caffè lattes, fruit smoothies, carrot cakes and many different choices to feed your cravings, while you enjoy a cozy family environment.
Even at night, every single day the Alameda is full of families simply enjoying the colorful lights of the park.
Whether you decide to go during the day or at night, the town of skulls has many new things to offer, unique of its area. Go where no one else has been, a town which found its home over gravestones.