This article is about the Mexican city; for other uses, see Monterrey (disambiguation).
Monterrey is the capital city of the Mexican state of Nuevo León, well known for its industries, particularly beer, finance, glass, and steel. Carta Blanca, Bohemia, Sol, Casta, Indio, XX, and Nochebuena are examples of the beers produced in the city. Vitro figures as one of the most important glass factories in North America. Cemex, the world wide conglomerate of cement, concrete, and building materials, has its headquarters there, as well as Banorte, the only large Mexican bank controlled by Mexicans. The steel industry used to be led by the "Compañía Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey", popularly known as Fundidora, which went broke in the mid-1980s. Today, the remains of the Fundidora factory have been transformed into the beautiful Fundidora Park, which hosts a Champcars race once a year.
Monterrey is located in northeastern Mexico, and has about 1.1 million inhabitants, although the metropolitan area (San Pedro Garza García, San Nicolás de los Garza, Apodaca, Guadalupe, Escobedo, and Santa Catarina) add another 2.5 million.
Located at 25°40'N 100°18'W, in the Northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León. Monterrey is the capital of the state. The Santa Catarina river bisects the city, and is dry for most of the year, except during occasional heavy rainstorms.
Monterrey is nicknamed la Ciudad de las Montañas ("City of Mountains") as it is surrounded by them. The Sierra Madre Oriental crosses south of the city, in the suburb of San Pedro Garza García. A small, dead volcano, the Cerro del Topo, and its smaller Topo Chico are located in the suburb of San Nicolás de los Garza. West of the city rises the Cerro de las Mitras, so called because the profile of a bishop with his mitre (mitra) can be seen along its upper edge. East of the city, the iconic Cerro de la Silla dominates the view. South of the Santa Catarina river, the Loma Larga separates Monterrey from the suburb of San Pedro Garza García. North of the river, the summit of the Cerro del Obispado is the site of the historic Bishop's Palace (Obispado), where one of the most important battles in the Mexican-American War was fought.
- El Palacio del Obispado, the Bishop's Palace, hosting a regional museum.
- La Gran Plaza, the largest in the world.
- El Faro del Comercio, the Commerce Beacon.
- La Basílica del Roble, one of the three basilicas of the city.
- El Palacio de Gobierno, where the office of the governor is located.
- El Museo de Historia, which exhibits a large collection of artifacts from Pre-Columbian days until present.
- MARCO, the Museum of Contemporary Art.
- La Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, with its XIX Century buildings and where the national Baseball Hall of Fame is located.
- The Monument to the Sun by Rufino Tamayo, located at the rear of the City Hall.
- The Barrio Antiguo, the colonial sector of the city where one can also find bars, cafés and restaurants. On November of every year the Festival Cultural Barrio Antiguo takes place in the Barrio Antiguo with artists from different places of the world.
- El Río Santa Catarina: despite being called "río" (river) the Santa Catarina is pretty much dry, except for the times it rains. The river channel is now home to soccer and baseball fields, a running track and on weekends a market. The market, which is more of a flea market, is located under El Puente del Papa, which gives the market its name.
- Opened in 2003, the controversial Puente Atirantado is a suspension bridge that crosses the Río Santa Catarina and joins San Pedro Garza García with Monterrey. It was highly controversial due to its cost, its design (which appears to have been cribbed from Santiago Calatrava), and the fact that the river it crosses is dry.
In the mid 1500s, the area was unexplored by the Spanish and known as Extremadura Valley. Several unsuccessful expeditions led by Alberto del Canto had tried to colonize the area. An expedition led by Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva established a settlement in the area called San Luis Re di Francia but was frustrated by the Inquisition and the persecution of the Sephardim among the colonists. A third expedition of twelve families led by Diego de Montemayor founded Ciudad Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey (Metropolitan City of Our Lady of Monterrey, now only Monterrey) on September 20, 1596, next to a spring called Ojos de Agua de Santa Lucia, where the National Museum of Mexican History is now located.
During the years of Spanish Rule, Monterrey was a place that connected trade between San Antonio (nowadays in Texas), Tampico, and Saltillo. 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 the Mexican Independence War, Monterrey rose as a key economical 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). However, the anarchy that followed the first 50 years of the new country allowed for two American Invasions, and a secession war. Monterrey became capital of the State of Nuevo León, which during its endeavor to become an independent country, annexed the state of Coahuila.
Most of the generals in the Mexican War against France are indigenous to this city, including Mariano Escobedo, Juan Zuazua and Jerónimo Treviño.
During the last decade of the 19th Century, the city of Monterrey gained access to the railroads, which benefitted industry. It was during this period that José Eleuterio González, "Gonzalitos", founded the Colegio Civil, an early effort to create a university in Nuevo León.
Eugenio Garza Sada also founded, in 1943, the largest private university in Latin America, the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, ITESM, or Tec). This university has evolved into one of the leading business schools in Latin America, and it also excels in engineering disciplines.
By the mid 20th century, in a country where state-owned companies sustained the economy, Monterrey shone brightly as one of the most important economic districts in the land due to its strong private sector and fierce sense of independence.
In the last decades of the 20th century, El Norte, a newspaper founded by Junco de la Vega, became important due to its efforts to denounce government corruption, and due to its principles of independence in journalism. Today, the newspaper has evolved into the Reforma news group, comprising the original El Norte, Reforma in Mexico City, Mural in Guadalajara and Palabra in Saltillo.
In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert caused great damage to the city, flooding the Santa Catarina River and causing deaths and economic damage.
In 2002, the United Nations' Forum for Economic Development was held in the city, grouping heads of state and heads of government from over 50 countries. Cuban President Fidel Castro left the meeting before U.S President George W. Bush arrived: Castro alleged the Mexican government asked him to leave to prevent an uncomfortable encounter between the two.
Typical Monterrey cuisine includes machacado con huevo, a dish prepared with dry beef, eggs, and salsa. Perhaps the most traditional dish from Monterrey is cabrito al pastor, a young goat cooked in embers based on the Jewish cuisine of the founders of the city.
The most famous university in Monterrey is The Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM), the largest educational system in Latin America with 33 campuses and agreements with other universities in America, Europe and Asia. The University of Monterrey (UDEM) is also the second most important private university in the country with international recognition.
Monterrey has two football (soccer) team in the Mexican league, the Club de Futbol Monterrey, known as the Rayados. Another team, the Tigres of the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León play in the nearby city of San Nicolás de los Garza where this public university is located. The city also hosted many official games during the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Baseball has a long history in the city, where it became the most popular sport during the early 20th century. Monterrey has twice been champion of the Little League World Tournament and often hosts Major League games. In the Mexican league, the Sultanes are one of the strongest teams every season and in the year 2003, they unsuccessfully attempted to buy the Montreal Expos franchise in the MLB.
Monterrey also has a basketball team, Fuerza Regia, which plays in the Mexican and hosts a Champ Car race once a year in Fundidora Park.
Famous people from Monterrey include:
- Alfonso Reyes, Mexican poet and essayist.
- Eugenio Garza Sada, businessman and philantropist.
- Alejandro Junco de la Vega, journalist.
- Ricardo Salinas Pliego, businessman.
- Lorenzo Zambrano, businessman.
- Felipe de Jesús Benavides, businessman.
- Gabriel Zaid, author.
- Julio Galán, painter.
- Valentín Canalizo, Mexican President in the 19th century.
- Eloy Cavazos, torero.
Contrary to popular belief, Monterrey, Nuevo León is not the only city of that name that exists; there is also a city with that name in Colombia (Monterrey, Colombia; airport code MOY). Monterrey is sometimes known as "Old Monterrey" since it was founded before Monterey, California, USA, which is spelled with only one "R". In Spain, the name of the original city that inspired both New World cities is written Monterrei, with an "I" at the end.