Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Ciudad Juárez (map), or simply Juárez, is a booming city on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border. Formerly called El Paso del Norte, the city is today the seat of the municipality of Juárez within the state of Chihuahua. Covering 188 sq km (72.6 sq mi), Ciudad Juárez has a population of 1.3 million people. Its population growth outstrips that of Chihuahua, which in turn surpasses the average growth rate of Mexico as a whole.

More on Ciudad Juárez

Ciudad Juárez is located to the south of El Paso, Texas. It experiences an arid climate with annual precipitation totaling just 220 mm (8.6 in). Wettest month is July, with 58.3 mm (2.2 in) of rain. June and July are the hottest months here, with average high temperature regularly exceeding 35.5°C (95.9°F). On the other hand, average low temperature drops to -1.9°C (28.6°F) in January.

The location of Ciudad Juárez right on the border with the United States makes it a choice site to set up assembly plants, particularly those which are labor intensive. Today there are over 300 assembly plants in the city alone. It has also become a major industrial center employing non-skilled as well as skilled labor.

Although it only began to grow rapidly in the past few decades, Ciudad Juárez is able to trace its history as far back as 1659, when it was established as El Paso del Norte (meaning “northern pass”) by Spanish explorers seeking a route through the southern Rocky Mountains.

The earliest Europeans to settle here were Roman Catholic missionaries who set up the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe here. Along with Spanish settlers, the settlement was populated mostly by the Suma Indians and Jumano Indians which were brought there by the Spanish as slaves.

Originally a single settlement, El Paso del Norte was split in two in 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which established the Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and the United States. In 1888 El Paso del Norte was renamed Ciudad Juárez in honor of Benito Ju&aacure;rez, who served as president of Mexico for five terms. By 1910, Ciudad Juárez has become the biggest border town in Mexico, yet until 1930, the people of Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, Texas, could move freely across the border.

The growth of assembly plants in Ciudad Juárez has brought an influx of migrant workers from different parts of Mexico. While on the one hand it has fueled the local economy, on the other it has also created large slum areas in and around the city. Furthermore Ciudad Juárez has gained a dubious reputation for violent crimes. Due to this, many travel guides continuously remind travelers against making a visit to Ciudad Juárez and to avoid non-touristic places of the city.

Visiting Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

You can fly to Ciudad Juárez, landing at the Abraham González Airport (CJS), which receives flights from major cities in Mexico. If coming from the direction of Texas, you can reach Ciudad Juárez by taking Interstate 10 to El Paso. If you’re a day tripper, you can park your car near the Stanton Street Bridge (expect parking fee of around $3.00) and walk across the bridge to Ciudad Juárez. That way, you don’t have to suffer having to find parking place in congested Ciudad Juárez. As the city is within Mexico’s

zona frontera, Americans do not need a passport or visa for visiting it from El Paso. Pedestrians are rarely stopped.

Places of Interest to visit in Ciudad Juárez

  1. Antigua Presidencia Municipal
    This is the Old City Hall of Ciudad Juárez built in the 1940s.

  2. Benito Juárez Monument
    Memorial to the city’s namesake, built in 1906 and restored in 1930.

  3. Centro Escolar Revolución
    An Art Deco building in the Chaveña neighborhood of Ciudad Juárez, it features beautiful stained glass windows.

  4. Chaveña Fountain
    Stone fountain built in 1895.

  5. Federal Customs House
    Historical building that hosted the summit between President William Taft and Porfirio Díaz in 1909, the first between a president of the United States and a president of Mexico.

  6. Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
    The old Catholic mission house, today the oldest building in Ciudad Juárez.

  7. Museo del Concorde
    Museum exhibiting the different parts of the Concorde supersonic aircraft.

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