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The city of Monterrey is 540 metres (1 770 ft) above sea level in the northeastern state of Nuevo León. Monterrey translated from Spanish to English is "King Mount" or "King mountain" which refers to the city's topography and the large mountains that surround it. The Santa Catarina River—dry most of the year on the surface but with flowing underground water—bisects Monterrey from east to west separating the city into north and south halves and drains the city to the San Juan River and Rio Grande.

Monterrey is adjacent to San Nicolás de los Garza García and General Escobedo to the north; Guadalupe Juárez and Cadereyta Jiménez to the east; Santiago to the south; and San Pedro Garza García and Santa Catarina to the west. Their combined metropolitan population is over 4 080 329 people.

Monterrey lies north of the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. A small hill the Cerro del Topo and the smaller Topo Chico are in the suburbs of San Nicolás de los Garza and Escobedo. West of the city rises the Cerro de las Mitras (Mountain of the Mitres) which resemble the profile of several bishops with their mitres.

Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Mountain) dominates the view at the east of the city and is considered a major symbol of the city. Cerro de la Loma Larga—South of the Santa Catarina river—separates Monterrey from the suburb of San Pedro Garza García. At the summit of the Cerro del Obispado north of the river is the historic Bishopric Palace site of one of the most important battles of the Mexican–American War.

Natural areas

The mountains surrounding Monterrey contain many canyons trails and roads that cross deserts and forests and suitable trails are available to the general public. The Sierra Madre Oriental mountains south of the city are included in the "Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey" (National Park) which was added to UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program of Biosphere Reserves in 2006.

Cumbres de Monterrey includes:

Parque Ecológico Chipinque which contains forested areas (oak and oak-pine mainly).
La Estanzuela state park about 7 km (4 mi) south of Monterrey a river and forested area.
La Huasteca west of the city in the municipality of Santa Catarina.
El Potrero Chico Climbing Area north east of the city in the municipality of Hidalgo.
Garcia Caves – these caves are situated in Garcia Nuevo Leon and were discovered in 1843. Inside you can see amazing stalagmites formations and snail fossils.
Matacanes – can be found in the municipality of Potrero Redondo in Santiago Nuevo Leon. It is a 10 hrs walking tour in which you can find rappel descents underground rivers waterfalls among other obstacles.
Hydrophobia Canyon – similar to Matacanes with the only difference this is a 100% aquatic area.
Cascade Cola de Caballo – a spectacular waterfall in Santiago Nuevo Leon formed by water that runs down from the mountains of nearby Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey impressive rock formations and sprawling forests.


Monterrey has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). It is one of the warmest major cities in Mexico. Summers are generally hot spring and fall temperate and winters mild with temperatures rarely below freezing. The average high in August is 35 °C (95 °F) and the average low is 23 °C (73 °F). The average January high is 21 °C (70 °F) and the average low in January is 8 °C (46 °F). Rainfall is scarce in winter but more frequent during May through September.

Monterrey frequently experiences extreme weather changes; for example it sometimes reaches 30 °C (86 °F) in January and February the coldest months. The most extreme weather changes in summer occur with rainfall which can reduce temperatures significantly and the temporary absence of the northern winds in winter which can lead to abnormally high temperatures. Seasons are not well defined; the warm season may start in February and may last until September. In April and May 2011 temperatures reached 45 °C (113 °F) or higher causing fires and extreme heat. Snow is a very rare event although an accumulation of 50 cm (20 inches) in 8 hours occurred in January 1967. The most recent snowfall was on February 2021 Sleet and ice events occurred in January 2007 December 2009 January and February 2010 and February 2011 caused by temperatures around −5 °C (23 °F).

From June 30 to July 2 2010 Monterrey was hit by the worst natural disaster in the city's history when Hurricane Alex delivered more than 584 millimetres (23 in) of rain in 72 hours with areas reaching up to 1 metre (39 in) of rain during that same period destroying homes avenues highways and infrastructure and leaving up to 200 000 families without water for a week or more. The amount of water that fell was equivalent to the average precipitation for a year. This was about 3–4 times as much rain as Hurricane Gilbert produced in the city on September 15 1988. The death toll of Hurricane Alex was estimated to be around 20.


Monterrey and its metropolitan area are municipalities governed by a democratically elected Presidente Municipal (Municipal President) or mayor for a period of three years. The political environment is one of civility and in the last decade political parties have been alternating office. The current mayor of Monterrey is Adrian De la Garza Santos.

The City Council of Monterrey (Cabildo de Monterrey) is an organ integrated by the mayor the Regidores and the Síndicos. The mayor is the executor of the determinations of the City Council and the person directly in charge of public municipal administration. The Regidores represent the community and collectively define city policies. The Síndicos are in charge of watching and legally defending city interests as well as of monitoring the treasury and the municipal patrimony.

The political parties with representation in the city are the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI the National Action Party or PAN the Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD the Labor Party or PT the Green Party Citizens´ Movement Socialdemocratic Party and Nueva Alianza.

Public safety

In 2005 Monterrey was ranked one of the safest cities in Mexico and one of the two safest in 2006. But since 2008 it has experienced violence related to turf battles between warring drug cartels. The year 2011 was the most violent in history. Drug dealers are a major concern although military offensives and police captures of important drug-cartel chiefs have weakened cartels trying to settle in the city. The city is safe to travel by day and night. In 2019 cartels were still fighting for control of the city potentially making Monterrey dangerous.

There are two police departments in the city the Police of the City of Monterrey (locally known as the Policía Regia) dependent on the municipal government and the State Public Safety. The Policía Regia protects the city's downtown and main areas while the State Public Safety is in charge of remoter areas. Since the 2011 attack on the Casino Royale security has been reinforced by military and federal police.


Prehispanic history

Before the European foundation of the city there was no established nation-state and the population consisted of some indigenous semi-nomadic groups. Carved stone and cave painting in surrounding mountains and caves have allowed historians to identify four major groups in present-day Monterrey: Azalapas Huachichiles Coahuiltecos and Borrados.


In the 16th century the valley in which Monterrey sits was known as the Extremadura Valley an area largely unexplored by the Spanish colonizers. The first expeditions and colonization attempts were led by conquistador Alberto del Canto who named the city Santa Lucia but they were unsuccessful because the Spanish were attacked by the natives and fled. The Spanish expeditionary Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva negotiated with King Philip II of Spain to establish a territory in northern New Spain that would be called Nuevo León the "New Kingdom of León". In 1580 he arrived in the newly granted lands but it was not until 1582 that he established a settlement called San Luis Rey de Francia (named for Saint Louis IX of France) within present-day Monterrey. The New Kingdom of León extended westward from the port of Tampico to the limits of Nueva Vizcaya ("New Biscay" now State of Chihuahua) and around 1 000 kilometers northward. For eight years Nuevo León was abandoned and uninhabited until a third expedition of 13 families led by conquistador Diego de Montemayor founded Ciudad Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey ("Metropolitan City of Our Lady of Monterrey") on September 20 1596 next to a water spring called Ojos de Agua de Santa Lucia where the Museum of Mexican History and Santa Lucía riverwalk are now. The new city's name was chosen to honor the wife of Gaspar de Zúñiga 5th Count of Monterrey ninth Viceroy of New Spain.

Monterrey's Coat of Arms shows an Indian throwing an arrow to the sun in front of Cerro de la Silla mountain. This represents a native ceremony performed at sunrise.

During the years of Spanish rule Monterrey remained a small city and its population varied from a few hundred to only dozens. The city facilitated trade between San Antonio (now in Texas) Tampico and from Saltillo to the center of the country. Tampico's port brought many products from Europe while Saltillo concentrated the Northern Territories' trade with the capital Mexico City. San Antonio was the key trade point with the northern foreign colonies (British and French).

After Mexican Independence (19th century)

In the 19th century after the Mexican Independence War Monterrey rose as a key economic center for the newly formed nation especially due to its balanced ties between Europe (with its connections to Tampico) the United States (with its connections to San Antonio) and the capital (through Saltillo). In 1824 the "New Kingdom of León" became the State of Nuevo León and Monterrey was selected as its capital. But the political instability that followed the first 50 years of the new country allowed two American invasions and an internal secession war during which the governor of the state annexed Coahuila and Tamaulipas states designating Monterrey as the capital of the Republic of the Sierra Madre as it did before in 1840 for the Republic of the Rio Grande.

In 1846 the earliest large-scale engagement of the Mexican–American War took place in the city known as the Battle of Monterrey. Mexican forces were forced to surrender but only after successfully repelling U.S. forces' first few advances on the city. The battle inflicted high casualties on both sides much of them resulting from hand-to-hand combat within the walls of the city center.

Many of the generals in the Mexican War against France were natives of the city including Mariano Escobedo Juan Zuazua (b. Lampazos de Naranjo NL) and Jerónimo Treviño.

Contemporary history

During the last decade of the 19th century Monterrey was linked by railroad which benefitted industry. It was during this period that José Eleuterio González founded the University Hospital now one of northeast Mexico's best public hospitals affiliated with the School of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL). Antonio Basagoiti and other citizens founded the Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey. A steel-producing company that accelerated the already fast industrialization of the city was founded in 1900 and became one of the world's biggest. The brewery Cervecería Cuauthemoc one of the milestone local enterprises was founded in 1890. In 1986 Monterrey hosted several games of the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

In 1988 Hurricane Gilbert caused great damage to the city; the Santa Catarina River overflowed causing about 100 deaths and economic damage.

The city has hosted international events such as the 2002 United Nations Conference on Financing for Development with the participation of more than 50 heads of state and government as well as other ministers and senior delegates from over 150 countries. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Monterrey Consensus which has become a reference point for international development and cooperation. In 2004 the OAS Special Summit of the Americas was attended by almost all the presidents of the Americas.

In 2007 Monterrey held the Universal Forum of Cultures with four million visitors. In 2008 Monterrey held the FINA World Junior Championships.[citation needed]

In 2010 Monterrey was hit by another damaging storm Hurricane Alex which was considered worse than Hurricane Gilbert with record-breaking rain bringing floods and causing severe economic damage. Damage estimates totaled US$1.885 billion and $16.9 billion MXN. Reconstruction and urban renewal ensued. Recently the Nuevo León Development Plan 2030 was presented along with some other metropolitan projects.[citation needed]

In August 2011 the city was the scene of a terror attack on a casino in which more than 50 people were killed.


Monterrey has several neighborhoods. The most populous include:

Mitras Centro Norte & Sur
San Jerónimo
San Bernabé
Valle Alto
Del Paseo
Loma Larga
San Agustin
Vista Hermosa
Alta Vista
The commercial areas include:

Carretera Nacional

simple explanation


Left: View of the city include two skycraper Hidalgo Avenue and San Pedro Garza García area Estadio BBVA Cerro de la Silla (Mount Saddle) Nuevo León Government Palace Obispado Palace Museum Right:Monterrey Metropolitan Cathedral San Pedro Garza Garcia business area Puente de la Unidad (Unidad Bridge) Banorte financial herritage building in Paole Mier area (all item from above to bottom)


Sultana of the North The City of the Mountains The Industrial Capital of Mexico Old Monterrey
Work Tempers the Spirit

Location of Monterrey within Mexico
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Monterrey (Mexico)
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Monterrey (North America)
Coordinates: 25°40′N 100°18′W / 25.667°N
 / 25.667; -
Country Mexico
State Nuevo León
FoundedSeptember 20 1596
Founded asCiudad Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey (English translation: Metropolitan city of Our Lady of Monterrey)
Founded byDiego de Montemayor
Named forGaspar de Zúñiga 5th Count of Monterrey
 • MayorAdrián de la Garza

 • City324.8 km2 (125.4 sq mi)
 • Urban
958  km2 (370 sq mi)
 • Metro
7 657.5 km2 (2 956.6 sq mi)
540 m (1 770 ft)
 (2015 )
 • City1 109 171
 • Density3 415/km2 (8 845/sq mi)
 • Urban
4 295 000
 • Urban density4 500/km2 (11 600/sq mi)
 • Metro
4 689 601
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST )
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT )
Website(in Spanish)
The words "Ciudad de Monterrey" shown on the flag and seal translate to "City of Monterrey" in English.

Monterrey (/ˌmɒntəˈreɪ/; Spanish pronunciation: [monteˈrej] (listen)) is the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León Mexico. The city is anchor to the Monterrey metropolitan area the second most productive in Mexico with a GDP (PPP) of US$123 billion and the second largest metropolitan area in Mexico with an estimated population of 5 341 171 people as of 2020. According to the 2020 census the city itself has a population of 1 142 194. Monterrey is one of the most livable cities in Mexico and a 2018 study found that suburb San Pedro Garza García is the city with the best quality of life in Mexico. It serves as a commercial center of northern Mexico and is the base of many significant international corporations. Its purchasing power parity-adjusted GDP per capita is considerably higher than the rest of Mexico's at around US$35 500 compared to the country's US$18 800. It is considered a Beta World City cosmopolitan and competitive. Rich in history and culture it is one of the most developed cities in Mexico.

As an important industrial and business center the city is also home to many Mexican companies including Arca Continental Grupo Avante Lanix Electronics Ocresa CEMEX Vitro OXXO FEMSA DINA S.A. Gamesa Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery and Grupo ALFA. Monterrey is also home to international companies such as Cognizant Siemens Accenture MSCI Ternium Sony Toshiba Carrier Whirlpool Samsung Toyota Babcock & Wilcox Daewoo British American Tobacco Nokia Dell Boeing HTC General Electric Johnson Controls LG SAS Institute Grundfos Danfoss Qualfon and Teleperformance among others.

Monterrey is in northeastern Mexico at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental. The uninterrupted settlement of Monterrey was founded by Diego de Montemayor in 1596. In the years after the Mexican War of Independence Monterrey became an important business center. With the establishment of Fundidora Monterrey the city has experienced great industrial growth.

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