Zacatecas is a city in Mexico, the capital of the state of Zacatecas. It was founded 1548, two years after the nearby discovery of silver, and became an officially-recognized city in 1584.
The city is built in a deep, narrow ravine, 2496 m (8050 ft) above sea level, with narrow, crooked streets (callejones in Spanish) climbing the steep hillsides, and white, flat-roofed houses. The colonial center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features elaborately decorated buildings, old palaces, residences and mansions; cobblestoned streets, colonial fountains and wrought-iron lanterns. The more modern outer suburbs are a mix of cinderblock shanties and gated communities for the wealthy. The city is centered on the Plaza de Armas, a small open square bordered by the cathedral and old 18th century mansion that houses the governor's palace. Other small plazas and parks (jardines) dot the city, among them the Jardín de la Independencia and the tiny (19 m²) Jardín de Juárez where the municipal palace is installed. Churches abound, and many have recently been converted into art galleries or museums.