San Luis Potosí City

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San Luis Potosí
City & Municipality
Flag of San Luis Potosí
Official seal of San Luis Potosí
Nickname(s): La Ciudad de los Jardínes
(City of Gardens)
Location of San Luis Potosí in central-north Mexico
Location of San Luis Potosí in central-north Mexico
Country Mexico
State San Luis Potosí
Founded November 3, 1592
 • Mayor Mario García Valdez
 • Municipality 385 km2 (149 sq mi)
Elevation 1,850 m (6,070 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Municipality 685,934
 • Metro 1,040,822
 • Demonym Potosino (a)
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)

San Luis Potosí, commonly called SLP or simply San Luis, is the capital of, and most populous city in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí. The city lies at an elevation of 1,850 metres (6,070 feet). It has an estimated population of 735,886 inhabitants in the city proper, and a population of approximately 1,021,688 in its metropolitan area which is formed with the neighbour city of Soledad and some other small townships inside the urban area. This makes the metropolitan area of Greater San Luis Potosí the eleventh largest in Mexico.

The city of San Luis Potosí is located in the west-central part of the state of San Luis Potosí, at 22.16°N, 100.98°W. The municipality has an area of 1,443.14 square kilometres (557.20 square miles). It is part of the macroregion of Bajío.[1][2][3]

The city is named after Louis IX of France (also known in Mexico as San Luis Rey de Francia; Saint Louis, King of France), who is the city's patron saint. Potosí was added in reference to the fabulously rich mines of Potosí, Bolivia, discovered some forty years before the city was founded, as the exploitation of silver and gold mines in Cerro de San Pedro near San Luis was the main reason for the founding of the city in 1592.[4]

Nowadays the city is one of the main industrial centres in central Mexico with a prolific manufacturing industry. A number of foreign industries have chosen to invest in San Luis Potosí in the last decades thanks to its strategic location for trade, as the city is located halfway between Mexico City and the United States border, as well as in the middle of the triangle formed by Mexico City and the other two largest cities in Mexico, Guadalajara and Monterrey.[5]

Besides its industry-based economy, recently the city has been promoted as a touristic destination in central Mexico by state and federal programs. San Luis Potosí's historic downtown displays a great mixture of different artistic styles in many buildings and it's a major example of colonial architecture in Mexico. In 2010 the historic center of the city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site within Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.[6]


Pre-colonial period

In pre-Hispanic times the territory now occupied by the state of San Luis Potosí included two cultural areas: Mesoamerica and Aridoamerica. While the south of the state was occupied by the Otomi kingdoms, its northern and central-west regions, where the city of San Luis now is located, were inhabited by Chichimeca. Chichimeca is a generic term given to various nomadic ethnicities which inhabited the northern fringes of the Aztec Empire which is now northern Mexico. As they were nomadic peoples they did not build large cities or have permanent settlements like most Mesoamerican civilizations. They are described by historians as very warlike peoples, living in continual wars among themselves. These tribes spoke different languages but their customs were similar.[7]

After the arrival of Spanish conquistadores into the territory now formed by the Mexican nation, it still took them about a century to colonize the northern territories in Aridoamerica. When the Spaniards founded the first settlements in the region in late 16th century, they had to struggle against constant attacks from Guachichil tribes. Extremely belligerent, these tribes attacked traders who traveled to Zacatecas in newly created routes. Conquistadores and religious missionaries called the place where San Luis now is located "El Gran Tunal" (Grand Place of Tuna fruit). Finally, in 1589, peace between Chichimeca peoples and Spanish settlers was reached thanks to efforts made by Miguel Caldera and Brother Diego de la Magdalena, which marked the end of the Chichimeca War.[7][8]

Universidad St.

Colonial period

A Franciscan mission was established in the zone in 1583, nine years before the city's founding. In early 1592 the mines of Cerro de San Pedro were discovered. The lack of water in Cerro de San Pedro made impossible a new settlement in that specific area, as well as the proper exploitation of the minerals. A short distance away there was a valley where water was abundant. This originated the creation of a new township to facilitate the labors of mining extraction. The legal foundation of the town of San Luis Potosí was made in November 3, 1592, according to a charter commission raised by Viceroy Luis de Velasco and given to Miguel Caldera (considered the historic founder of the city) and Juan de Oñate.[9]

For a time in 1863 during the French invasion of Mexico, San Luis Potosí served as the capital of the republican government under President Benito Juárez.

The Plan of San Luis Potosí, issued November 20, 1910, was the opening shot of Mexico's revolution against the dictator Porfirio Díaz. The Mexican presidential election of 1910 was stolen when Díaz had his opponent Francisco I. Madero arrested and imprisoned. Madero fled and issued the Plan of San Luis Potosí, declaring the election void and calling upon Mexicans to take up arms against the government.

Today, the downtown is one of plazas and colonial architecture. The "Plaza de Armas" is the site of a cathedral and governor's palace (1770). The nearby "Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen," with its colorful tiled domes and famous altars, is considered among Mexico's finest churches. In addition, San Luis is home to the bullring Plaza de Toros Fermin Rivera.

Outside the city center, a modern industrial city has begun to grow.

The Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (UASLP) is in the city. Based on a Jesuit College founded in 1624, the Instituto Científico y Literario was raised to the category of a university in 1923, and is recognized as one of Latin America's best universities.


San Luis Potosí features a semiarid climate (BSh) under the Köppen climate classification. Due to its high altitude, the city experiences only a handful of hot days each year. While the climate exhibits noticeably cooler (January and February) and warmer periods (April and May) of the year, temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the course of the year. The bulk of the city’s precipitation is seen from May through October. San Luis Potosí receives, on average, 400 mm of precipitation annually.

Climate data for San Luis Potosí (1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.0
Average high °C (°F) 20.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.0
Average low °C (°F) 5.5
Record low °C (°F) −7.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 13.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.2 1.6 1.5 2.9 5.6 7.4 7.9 7.0 8.4 5.0 1.8 1.9 53.2
Average relative humidity (%) 56 52 47 48 55 62 68 66 68 66 61 60 59
Mean monthly sunshine hours 222 232 270 255 281 263 293 249 201 224 231 211 2,932
Source #1: Servicio Meteorológico National (humidity 1981–2000)[10][11][12]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961–1990)[13][lower-alpha 1]

Local cuisine

Potosinos (as residents of the city are referred to) are proud of their bright orange enchiladas potosinas, often served fried with refried beans and guacamole.

The nearby town of Santa María del Río provides the state with its sparkling mineral water, Agua de Lourdes. The water fills both store shelves and the cocktails of Potosinos, who claim the water can cure a hangover.

The city today

San Luis Potosí, with a population of approximately one million inhabitants, is the tenth-largest metropolitan area in Mexico. The city is a major commercial and industrial center. It lies in an economically advantageous area at the heart of the "triangle" formed by the three largest cities in Mexico: Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. In recent years, the city has attracted the attention of European and American investors; its political, social, and economic stability has convinced large multinational companies to assume a presence there and even buy land in the outskirts of the city.

Recently, according to a survey conducted by the magazine The Investor, San Luis Potosí and its metropolitan area was the third-best place to live in Mexico.

The city has experienced one of the fastest increases in demand for housing.
Panorama of the city (2007)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historic Center of San Luis Potosí Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria II, IV,
Reference 1351
UNESCO region Latin America and the Caribbean
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Inscription history
Inscription 2010 (34th Session)

Important buildings

Besides having hundreds of classically designed buildings, the city is also home to some of the most modern and interesting buildings in Mexico.

Cathedral of San Luis Potosí
Casa de la Cultura, in Av. Carranza
Iglesia de San Agustín
National Museum of the Mask, view from la Paz theatre
San Francisco Garden
Monument to the Flag in the Avenida Venustiano Carranza

In recent years the city has faced a boom in the construction of buildings and museums. Among the most prominent are the Laberinto Museum of Science and Arts, which was an investment of more than $200 million pesos, in 9000 m2 of land, located in the Tangamanga I Park. The project was designed by architect Ricardo Legorreta and promoted by the governor of San Luis Potosí, Marcelo de los Santos Fraga. It is a museum of aesthetic proportions similar to that of the Papalote Museum of Children in Mexico City, with the addition that the materials used in its construction, especially the quarry, make it a real Potosino manufacturing building. The floor of the museum occupies a total of 6.5 hectares which have gardens with species endemic to the region and a central source. Its interior is divided into a total of six rooms arranged in galleries whose proportions will allow visitors to make an interactive tour that will switch themes of the art museum with samples of science and technology.

Currently the two tallest buildings in the capital are the EME Building and the Muniz Werger Building. The EME Building was built in 1988 and measures 64 metres to the top floor, with the spiral 75 meters, and with the antenna 98 meters. It has 17 floors, with 10 levels of parking at the street for a capacity of 1500 cars, and it houses mixed offices. The Muniz Werger Building, which measures 58 meters to the top floor, 65 meters with the spiral, and 80 meters with the antenna, has 15 storeys and 2 elevators. Its construction began in 1991 and finished in 1993, and it is considered the most modern building in the city.

There are currently two buildings under construction and five buildings in the project. Corporate Tangamanga, which measured 41 m, will have 14 floors; its construction began in 2005 and will end in 2008. This building houses offices and mixed Star Medical Tower, 40 metres and will have 8 floors. The buildings that are planned are: the first is World Trade Center of San Luis Potosí, to be 30 floors and its height 130 m; its construction will begin in mid-2008. Also planned is the Marriott Hotel San Luis Potosí, to be 17 floors and its height between 80 and 100 m; followed three residential towers in the area: Sierra Azul, a height of approximately 40 meters with a total of 30 floors; plus a building called residential Vallarta, an 8-story tower that is located at Avenida Carranza; and another residential tower located in Lomas of about 7 floors.

Commerce and transportation

Various supermarket chains operate in the city, such as, H-E-B, Commercial Mexicana, Costco, Walmex (Wal-mart, Sam's Club, Superama, Vips, Bodega Aurrera and Suburbia), Chedraui, Home Depot, to mention a few.

The principal commercial centers of the city are Plaza Tangamanga, Plaza el Dorado, Plaza Sendero, Plaza Citadella and Plaza Sanborns San Luis.

In the city, various banks also operate, such as, BBVA Bancomer, Banamex, HSBC, Banorte, Santander-Serfin, Actinver, Scotiabank-Inverlat, and BanRegio.

The city's transportation consists of a public system based on urban buses that move throughout the metropolitan area. Besides the public transportation, the city contains one of the highest concentrations of taxis. Ponciano Arriaga International Airport is the city's main airway point. It is located around 17 km (11 mi) from the city's downtown, and it is the state's most important airway terminal.

According to a Friday, March 30, 2012 online Associated Press news article in the online edition of the Peoria, Illinois-based Peoria Journal Star: "The logistics subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. (which is based in Peoria), the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, said Friday it opened a parts distribution center in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The 500,000-square-foot facility will employ up to 150 people and is expected to start operating in the middle of next year. The city has access to major airports and a rail hub, and is at the crossroads of major highways. Caterpillar said the opening is the first of many investments planned to enhance its parts distribution operations in Central and South America. The facility in Mexico will be the sixth new parts distribution center. ..."[14]

Higher education and scientific research

The institutions of higher education that offer degrees at the bachelor level are:

  • El Colegio de San Luis
  • Escuela de Educación Superior en Ciencias Históricas y Antropológicas Eduard Seler
  • Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, A.C. (IPICYT)
  • Instituto Tecnologico de San Luis Potosí (ITSLP)
  • Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey - Campus San Luis (ITESM)
  • Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosí (UASLP)
  • Universidad del Centro de Mexico (UCEM)
  • Universidad Cuauhtemoc - Campus San Luis Potosí
  • Universidad Interamericana del Norte - Campus San Luis
  • Universidad Interamericana para el Desarrollo - Campus San Luis
  • Universidad Marista - Campus San Luis Potosí
  • Universidad Pedagogica Nacional - Campus San Luis Potosí
  • Universidad Politécnica de San Luis Potosí (UPSLP)
  • Universidad Potosina
  • Universidad Tangamanga
  • Universidad Tec Milenio
  • Universidad Tecnológica de San Luis Potosí

IPICYT, UASLP and El Colegio de San Luis are also world class research institutions that offer doctoral degrees.

Local news media

Newspapers: El Sol de San Luis, Pulso, El Heraldo de San Luis, La Prensa, San Luis Hoy, La Jornada San Luis and Tribuna.

Twin towns – sister cities

San Luis Potosí has the following sister cities in Mexico and abroad:[15]


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  1. Station ID for San Luis Potosi, SLP is 76539 Use this station ID to locate the sunshine duration

External links