Landa de Matamoros

Landa de Matamoros
Church in Landa
Church in Landa
Coat of arms of Landa de Matamoros
Coat of arms
Landa de Matamoros is located in Mexico
Landa de Matamoros
Landa de Matamoros
Location in Mexico
Coordinates: 21°10′55″N 99°19′13″W / 21°10′55″N 99°19′13″W / 21.18194; -99.32028
Country Mexico
Municipal Status1941
 • Total840.2 km2 (324.4 sq mi)
Elevation (of seat)1,040 m (3,410 ft)
Population (2005) Municipality
 • Total18,905
 • Seat1,418
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (US Central))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (Central)
Postal code (of seat)76360 (in Spanish)

Landa de Matamoros is a town in Landa de Matamoros Municipality located in the northwest of the state of Querétaro in central Mexico. It is part of the Sierra Gorda region, which consists of rugged mountains, canyons and wide diversity of flora and fauna, with the municipality's flora representing about 25% of all the plant diversity in Mexico. In the pre-Hispanic period, the area was heavily influenced by Huastecas and local cultures, later dominated by the Chichimecas, especially the Pames. Complete Spanish domination came late, in the mid 18th century, but two of the five Franciscan mission complexes built to solidify this domination were built in the municipality. Today, Landa de Matamoros remains rural and impoverished with a high rate of emigration out of the area, especially to the United States. Remittances sent by relatives from there now form most of the municipality's economy.

The town

Landa de Matamoros sits at the foot of a chain of small mountains with crags at an altitude of 1,040m [1][2] just off Highway 120 about 210 km from the capital of Querértaro. The town of Landa de Matamoros is considered to have first been occupied by a group of Purépecha from Michoacán who migrated north.[2] In the pre-Hispanic period, it had an important tianguis market, which traded merchandise from other parts of the La Huasteca and what is now Tampico.[1] Today, Landa is a small community with cobblestone streets centered on a traditional main square in front of the mission. Landa's main economic activities include agriculture, livestock and services, including government services. It is also head of a district called Centro Estratégico Comunitario Micrregión 01, which oversees economic activities of thirteen communities with just under 2,000 people.[3]

The town of Landa is best known for having one of the five Franciscan missions in the Sierra Gorda, which were made a World Heritage Site in 2003. This mission is dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It along with the others are noted for their highly decorated Baroque facades, which contains indigenous elements. They were built under the direction of Junipero Serra in the mid 18th century, with the Landa mission built last, in the 1760s.[4]

The Museo de Arte Agropecuario (Museum of Agricultural Art) is located in Landa has three exhibition halls. One room exhibits the fossil remains of a mastodon, which was found under the mission church during restoration work in 1984. The other two contain historical photographs, as well as implements related to farming, livestock, forestry, commerce and home. There is also an area with for temporary exhibits and a handcrafts store. The museum offers guided tours, conferences and summer courses.[5] There is also the municipal auditorium and a cultural center called a Casa de Cultura.[3]

The most important annual celebration is the feast of the patroness of the community, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. At least a thousand migrants return each year to Landa to celebrate, with many of these come from Texas especially Corpus Christi, Houston, Austin and Dallas, bringing their pickup trucks and cowboy clothes with them, but a number also come from Florida and Atlanta. The town hosts a major dance for the occasion, in part to honor the returnees. The event is held during the first half of December. The event often features musical styles popular in Texas.[6]

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