Photo by Els Slots.

The Historic Monuments Zone of Querétaro comprises a well-preserved Spanish colonial town.

It has a specific 17th-century street plan and a number of 18th-century rich post-Baroque monuments. The layout of the town was split in two: a rectilinear street plan for the Spanish settlers, and small winding streets for the quarters of the indigenous population. The most prominent feature of the city is its enormous aqueduct.

Community Perspective: This is among the Mexican WH cities that reviewers enjoy the least. Highlights include the Santa Rosa de Viterbo church, the cloister of the Art Museum and the Aqueduct.

Map of Querétaro

Load map

Community Reviews

Write a review

Kyle Magnuson

California - United States of America - 02-Jan-24 -

Querétaro by Kyle Magnuson

Querétaro does not exhibit the type of intact historic core as experienced in San Miguel de Allende and therefore is rightly or wrongly judged as inferior. As a visitor, I also preferred San Miguel de Allende overall, but I noticed something odd while reviewing pictures. I took a lot more pictures in Querétaro, because there are way MORE historic sites or monuments in Querétaro (258 ha) than compared with the relatively small historic centre of San Miguel de Allende (43 ha). More of something rarely means quality, but then I think of the Museo de Arte de Querétaro, the Aqueduct, and Santa Rosa de Viterbo Church, and more. Are these sites inferior to what I experienced in San Miguel de Allende? These are monumental, impressive historic properties. Yet, this is not all Querétaro has to offer. So, what exactly was not satisfying about Querétaro? I would name the primary issue is that plenty of the walking routes (maybe the majority) are unrewarding with too much electric wires and low unremarkable buildings. Therefore, I think the "royal street" axis should be emphasized as a key walking route across the city. 

Calle 5 De Mayo & Calle Francisco Madero make up the primary "Royal Street" that crosses the city and is identified in the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro map of Querétaro. While walking this road from East to West depending where you begin you will see mostly restaurants, bars, and galleries (some quite nice) and then you will arrive to the Casa de La Corregidora at the Plaza de Armas/Plaza of Independencia (formerly Plaza de la Constitución). This is one of the most pleasant plaza's in the city and the Casa de La Corregidora is often open to the public (free). Inside you can see works of art that cover some of the key events in Mexican History, in which Querétaro often played a substantial role. This plaza was an important stopping point on the Camino Real as information panels will note. Continuing West you will notice the Templo de San Francisco de Asis. This is where the "royal street" branches off continuing West to Celaya and North to Zacatecas. As you make your way through Jardin Zenea (often overcrowded with vendors), you will come to a plethora of historic monuments with the La Casa De La Marquesa (left), Templo San José de Gracia (right), and Fuente de Neptuno straight ahead. As you reach Calle Ignacio Allende, to the North (right) is The Museum of Sacred Art (moderately interesting museum) which is housed in the Former hospital of San José de Gracia (founded in 1586) and to the left (South) is the Museo Regional de Querétaro and a bit further the iconic Museo de Arte de Querétaro (connected to the Templo de San Agustin). Continuing West, lastly you will come to the Catedral de Querétaro, San Felipe Neri. Just a few blocks South of here is both the frequently highlighted Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo and Templo de Santo Domingo. Here is a Google Maps walking route that highlights many of these historic sites.

An interesting site on the periphery is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Querétaro opened in 2018 (free). The building was part of the Church and Convent next door Templo y Exconvento de la Santa Cruz and later it was used to imprison one of the Conspirators of Querétaro. While the contemporary art may or may not grab your interest, the austere structure has been restored and is worth a short visit (even if an exterior shot). 

"The original Franciscan monastery of Santa Cruz was also expanded, and became the first Apostolic College of Propaganda Fide founded by the Holy see in the Americas." - ICOMOS Evaluation

Alameda Hidalgo is at the Southern boundary of the world heritage site and you have to cross the very busy Calle Ignacio Zaragoza to get there. The crossing icon is cute. This park with a golden Hidalgo statue at the center is a comfortable, relaxing park in an otherwise busy part of the city. There are plenty of park benches to rest your weary legs and the pathways are photogenic. The park is clean and well maintained, and deceptively large.

I will close with a short description of my picture of Querétaro's Aqueduct. Like other reviewers, I was not really satisfied with my pictures of the aqueduct as the historic arches all but disappeared in the "noise" of the city background. During the evening, the moon was particularly bright and the clouds were illuminated by the moonlight. Since the time was getting late and quite cold, my spouse opted to return to the airbnb while I marched on toward the aqueduct. I quickly made my way to the corner just below the Panteón de los Queretanos Ilustres and spent a good 15 minutes taking photos as the moon went in and out of focus and tried different settings on my relatively unsophisticated camera. During the brisk walk back to a not warm airbnb room (all properties we stayed at were unheated), I ended the evening with the satisfaction all too common for world heritage travellers, that feeling of visiting a WHS thoroughly.

Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.


Malta - 15-Feb-22 -

Querétaro by Clyde

I visited this WHS in January 2022. Querétaro (note the accent on the second e for the correct pronunciation!) main peculiarity among the inscribed colonial towns or cities of Mexico is its layout which is practically split in two: a rectilinear street plan for the Spanish settlers and small winding streets for the quarters of the indigenous population.

From its "historic monuments zone" the definite highlights not to be missed in my opinion are the Church of Santa Rosa de Viterbo, the Church of Santa Cruz (together with the nearby mirador over the high aqueduct with modern high-rise buildings in the background), the Former Convent of St Augustine, the Casa de la Ecala and the Casa de la Marquesa. The absolute highlight not to be missed when visiting Querétaro is definitely the Church of Santa Rosa de Viterbo, with its outstanding over-the-top interior with three gilded altarpieces and a throne-like main chair, as well as the equally interesting Mexican colonial Baroque exterior with indigenous features.

The mirador over the high aqueduct is perhaps more enjoyable after sunset when the eyesore of the high-rise buildings in the background vanishes. Here there is a big UNESCO WHS plaque of the Camino Real, There's another one dedicated to the Camino Real near the traffic lights just opposite the Church of San Francis of Assisi. On the other hand, the UNESCO WHS plaque of Querétaro is on the side of the Palacio de Gobierno.

The former church and convent of St Augustine now houses the Art Museum of Querétaro. Its highlight is the unmissable Baroque patio and cloister (closed on Mondays). This great and emblematic property was built in the 18th century from 1731 to 1743. In the Baroque courtyard there are several iconographic elements making it one of the most beautiful cloisters in the Americas. The Augustinians remained in the building until 1859. Following the reforms enacted during the government of President Benito Juarez, the building became property of the state and was used as miltary barracks, federal palace, post office and finance office, before becoming an art museum in 1987-1988.

The courtyard is divided in three levels: the lower cloister, the upper cloister and the sky. The lower cloister represents the world, the temporary work if the militant church, the sacrifice of Christ, as well as the history vocation and charisma of the Augustinian Order. The highlight of this level are the anthropomorphic figures known as "Hermes" that refer to the three stages of human life and spiritual evolution: youth, maturity and old age. On the keystone of the arches there are allusions to Saint Augustine as well as Augustinian saint distinguished by their work or miracles. The fountain of the cloister is one of the principal elements and it represents Christ as the source of eternal life. The upper cloister represents the church and its ministers. Young looking anthropomorphic figures represent the priests praying and manifesting the mystery of the Holy Trinity. They have a pipe in their mouths and spout rainwater which symbolically represents the cleansing of sins with divine grace. In the keystones, monks and nuns remind those who gaze at them of the duties of monastic life. Last but not least, the sky represents the kingdom of heaven, the dwelling place of God.

Even if you don't splurge to actually stay at the boutique hotel, do allow some time to have a look at the beautiful Casa de la Marquesa still adorned with old authentic frescoes and furniture in very good condition. Make sure to also visit the Casa de la Ecala if you have the time. After seeing the ubiquitous doll all over Mexico, I was glad to allow some time to learn more about it at the Museo de la Muñeca Artesanal in Amealco. Another strange thing to do is to try eating the traditional Pedos de Monja (chocolate pralines literally known as nun farts).

Larry F

United States - 02-Dec-21 -

Time of visit: November 2021

Duration of visit: 3 hours

Mode of transportation: by rental car, from San Miguel de Allende en route to Puebla

Review and experience

Lovely historic centre and definitely one of the cleanest city cores we visited in our 3-week stays in central Mexico. To our surprise, having done very little research ahead of time, the overall city of Queretaro was surprisingly large and modern, with many skyscrapers in scattered around the city. The city core was a pleasant contrast to the modernity of the broader city. It was calm, quaint, and not particularly packed with foreign tourists that we had otherwise experienced in San Miguel de Allende. 

That said, I completely agree with other reviewers perspective that this is among the weaker colonial towns in Mexico. Of 7 that I've visited to-date (Campeche, CDMX, SMA, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Queretaro), Campeche and Queretaro were my least favorite. That said, I don't think it necessarily should be de-listed. For Queretaro, I imagine its OUV lies in the city's origin and the peaceful cohabitation of the Spanish and the indigenous. I'm taking this at face value, as I'm sure there was still lots of persecution of the indigenous population that took place here. While the architecture didn't feel different on the two sides, the layout of the urban core on Google Maps was very distinct. Furthermore, the convent at the Regional Museum was one of the most beautiful ones I had seen on this trip!

Arturo Saavedra

10-Jun-20 -

Querétaro by Arturo Saavedra

A common issue when interpreting Latin American colonial cities is that there is frequently no accessible frame of reference that fully explains each urban ensemble's value. Neither the travel guide books nor the tourism departments try too hard to communicate each destination beyond the dubious hyperbole (the biggest / tallest / oldest in the Americas) and the cliché (the indigenous influence / the local adaptation). After reading the reviews of Querétaro, I think that this city has suffered a lot from these superficial approaches.

If Querétaro were to be compared with any other colonial city, this would have to be Puebla. Both cities were the main centers of artistic experimentation and the main nodes of dissemination of Baroque culture in New Spain. Puebla during the 17th century and Querétaro during the 18th. However, while Puebla's area of ​​influence included Oaxaca and Tlaxcala, the influence of Queretaro is evident in cities such as Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí and Salamanca. Although both traditions are encompassed within the term "baroque" they are completely different cultural expressions, produced by dissimilar societies. Puebla's Baroque is serious and devout, while Querétaro's is decadent and aristochratic.

Querétaro is characterized by the ingenuity of its architects in the construction of arches, of notable Islamic and Gothic heritage. During the Baroque period, there was no city in the Spanish Empire that experimented in such a way with polylobed arcades and mixtilineal doorways. The best examples are found in the Jesuit College and in the convents of Santa Rosa, San Francisco and San Agustín. We can also find some of these imaginative arches in various mansions. Among them, the houses "of the Marquise", "of the divine Sun", "of the tithe", "of Don Bartolo", "of the Marquis", "of the Count of Sierra Gorda", "of the dogs" and "of the five courtyards" stand out.

When it comes to ornamentation and sculpture, Querétaro adopted conventions from the most popular European styles of the 18th century. In particular, the churches of Santa Rosa and Santa Clara, with their altarpieces full of simulated curtains and lush plant motifs, are the two best examples of Rococo art in Mexico. However, the most spectacular sculptural ensemble in Querétaro (and one of the most original spaces in the Baroque world as a whole) is the Cloister of San Agustín. This work, a daring modern interpretation of classical forms, shows the degree of wealth and sophistication reached by Queretan "criollos" in the 18th century.

Compared to other Mexican historical centers, the protected area of ​​Querétaro is quite small. Instead, it is cleaner, better maintained, and kinder to pedestrians than more impressive places like Puebla and Mexico City. If you visit Querétaro on a route through the colonial cities of the Bajío region, one day is enough to see the highlights. However, two days are ideal to fully appreciate the details of its historic center. If you decide to spend a little more time on it, the surrounding region is also famous for its wine production and for the family oratories of the Otomi communities (on the intangible heritage list). It all makes for a good three days trip.

Frédéric M

Canada - 13-Dec-19 -

Querétaro by Frédéric M

I visited Mexico between February and April 2019. I visited most WH colonial towns around Mexico City and Querétaro was the fourth one.

Querétaro is the most underwhelming town among Mexican WH cities and the one I enjoyed the least. It felt quite like every Mexican town to me, and I couldn't see the OUV. Monuments and churches in the center were either closed or boring, excepting maybe el Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo who as an interesting baroque exterior. Jardin Zenea and Plaza de la Constitucion were pleasant public squares, but doesn't deserve a stop in town by themselves. Under reviews bellow describe well my thoughts about Querétaro.

Otherwise, the most remarkable site (and the reason why this city deserved two instead of one star) is the aqueduct. It is gigantic and impressive (not Padre Tembleque level, but better than Morelia). It is 1,28 km long and has 74 highs arches. The view is particularly great from the mirador near el Mausoleo de la Corregidora.

Querétaro is conveniently located between San Miguel and Mexico City. You can also get here from Guadalajara, Morelia, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosi. Former TWHS of Bernal is an easy day trip from here.

Ian Cade

UK - 25-Jan-15 -

Querétaro by Ian Cade

We only had a quick stop for lunch on New Year's Day 2015. As such there were a large amount of families out celebrating their day off. It leant the centre a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere but also meant the city's churches were closed.

As with other reviewers here the highlight was the weird church of Santa Rosa de Viterbo which seemed to show a quirky indigenous take on traditional European baroque architecture.

A stop in a cafe and a reviving empanada helped fuel us as we strolled around the pleasant squares dotted throughout the centre.

It provided a welcome break on our trip up the Camino Real and I think it would be a pleasant place to spend a bit more time.

[Site 6: Experience 7]

Els Slots

The Netherlands - 06-Jan-14 -

Querétaro by Els Slots

Queretaro I found the least interesting one among the Spanish-colonial cities of Central Mexico. It seems quite an affluent city though, probably nice enough to live in. I understand that it has quite a lot of people from Mexico City move there for better living circumstances.

If you're driving around Central Mexico hunting for WHS, Queretaro is a convenient stop and I spent one night here. Did my sightseeing in the afternoon - it took me two hours to find my way around the several tree-lined plazas and look at some churches. The nicest is the Santa Rosa de Viterbo: it has really weird, curved buttresses (see large photo above).

As we're working right now on a Top 50 Missing list on the Forum of this website (for sites that mysteriously haven't made it into the WH list yet), we could also introduce a Top 50 Removals: sites that have made it in when no one from an AB or the WHC seems to have been looking. Queretaro surely would get my vote for that list.

Jorge Ivan Giraldo

United States - 27-Mar-06 -

Queretaro, beautifull city. When you talk about Queretaro, you are talking about one style. The baroche of Queretaro is different from others...maybe more exquisite, tasteful and deeper. Queretaro had been a baroche laboratory. Santa Rosa de Viterbo Churche is a great sample of that. One of the nicer buldings in Latin America is the San Agustin convent, today a museum. Divine......exquisite, refined.....

The waterduct with the colection of urban funtains give the city an especial atmosphere.


UK - 01-May-05 -

Querétaro by Solivagant

Queretaro undoubtedly has a pleasant city centre. Its calmness belies its situation at the heart of a growing conurbation of over 1 million people. That said, in terms of suitability for UNESCO inscription, I regard it as the “weakest” of the inscribed provincial historical cities in Central Mexico which we have seen. And (whilst not being the ultimate arbiter on such matters!) Michelin only grants it 2*, (together with Zacatecas and Morelia) compared with 3* for Guanajuato, Puebla and Oaxaca.

The “edge” which Queretaro claims over other Colonial “Centros historicos” lies (Quoting from the ICOMOS evaluation) in its being a “remarkably hybrid town”. We are told that “some commentators talk of a harmonious way of life or cohabitation between the 2 cultures”. Apparently 2 distinct layouts can be seen in the city’s plan – 20 blocks on the Spanish side of rectangular grid and 30 blocks on the indigenous side with curved and irregular streets! This, we are told, foreshadowed “the bicultural Mexico of today and the emergence of a new form of coexistence in the New World” Hmmmm? I am afraid I regard this as a lot of politically correct wishful thinking! I can see the slight differences in street layout on the map but, as we walked around, the distinction certainly didn’t herald any great change in atmosphere. In any case would it justify inscription even if it did?

The centre possesses a number of attractive buildings but Michelin identifies only 3 structures as justifying 2*.

a. The St Rose of Viterbo church. This is indeed an impressive structure from inside and out. It is situated a few blocks away to the SW of the main historic area and should be visited – its massive flying buttresses are particularly striking.

b. The cloister of the Art Museum (photo 1). This building was originally a monastery and the caryatid statues are worth looking at in detail

c. Its most famous structure - The Aqueduct. (photo 2). This was built around 1726 at over 1 km long. It isn’t absolutely clear whether it is included in the definition of the “city centre” but I guess it must be. It now sits in the middle of a busy 4 lane highway and is clearly heavily restored but still manages to impress as a fine piece of civil engineering. The problem of water impacted a number of the new cities in Mexico - Morelia and Zacatecas each has its own Aqueduct remains but none is as “complete” as Queretaro’s.

There are a number of other interesting buildings. We rather liked the “Casa de la Marquesa” – a lovely mansion in Moorish style now a Boutique hotel” But, generally, apart from the Aqueduct, the city buildings are relatively “low key”.


Even in 1996 ICOMOS didn’t seem 100% convinced :- “The case for the inclusion of Queretaro on the World Heritage is a strong one by virtue of its original unique town plan and the quality of its buildings. The nomination does however raise the general problem of Spanish and Portuguese colonial towns in the Americas, a number of which figure in Tentative Lists submitted by states parties in the Americas” ICOMOS then recommended a “Comparative analysis” of such towns to help it in considering the many others which it could foresee! As far as I can make out, this eventually emerged in 1998 as a report – "The Urban Architectural Heritage of Latin America". Written by an Argentine, it foresaw a very large number of towns across Latin America being inscribed (including 6 or 7 in Mexico)!! I found it inconclusive, poorly argued and somewhat muddled. I particularly liked the following phrase "In this case it would be sufficient to restrict the criterion for nomination to those towns that maintain high standards of excellence with regard to the heritage and which could also be integrated into a cultural tourism circuit". This perhaps proved too open ended for ICOMOS and it seemed to get no further! It was, in any case overtaken by 2004 document "Filling the Gaps". From that long document I select 2 quotes

a. “In Latin America, there is relative abundance of references to the Spanish colonial period, while some of the indigenous cultures are still not represented”.

b. “All States Parties should be especially rigorous in their selection of certain well-represented categories of property”

I suspect that Latin American colonial towns might find it a bit harder in future to gain inscription and that Queretaro did well to get in when it did!

Site Info

Full Name
Historic Monuments Zone of Querétaro
Unesco ID
2 4
Urban landscape - Colonial

Site History

1996 Inscribed


The site has 1 locations



The site has

Art and Architecture
Individual People
Religion and Belief
WHS Hotspots
WHS on Other Lists
World Heritage Process


Community Members have visited.

Alberto Rodriguez Gutierrez Alessandro Votta Alexander Barabanov Alexander Lehmann Amclhr Amitlchoudhuryjbp Ana Lozano AniaCh Anna Wludarska Argo Ari Kailash Atila Ege Bob pateman Bram Cleaver CFSalazar Carlo Sarion Carlos Sotelo Caspar Dechmann Ceezmad Clem C Clyde Craig Harder Czhou63 DOn Szumowski Daniela Hohmann Delphine Delaunay Dimitar Krastev Djpatten Don Irwin Donald M Parrish Jr Els Slots Erik Jelinek Eva Kisgyorgy Everett FGKJR1492X F_Teno Fan Yibo Feldhase Ferbstone Fernando LZ Filip Murlak Francky D'Hoop Frank Britton Frédéric M G.L. Ingraham Gennady Nezhdanov Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck GeorgeIng61 Gi Gwythyr Hanming Harry Mitsidis Headventure Howard Howard Brayer Hsaenzjr1 Hurrvinek Iain Jackson Ian Cade IgnacioM Ingemar Eriksson Ivan Rucek Izzet Ege Jana and Matt Jarek Pokrzywnicki Javier Coro Jay T Jean Lecaillon Jennifer Prout Jens Jgera Joel on the Road Jonathan Zimmermann Joshuakirbens João Aender Jsalda Judith Tanner KAO Karin Heyl Karol Estrada Kbooth Kelise Kelly Henry Kevin McFarland Kim, Soo-youn Kjdavis Kurt Lauer Kyle Magnuson Lara Adler Larry F Lucas Del Puppo Luis Filipe Gaspar Luis Salazar Lukas_PV MMM MWaters66 Malcolm Mamc Mars51 Martina Rúčková Matthewsharris Michael Ayers Michael Novins Michael anak Kenyalang Michal Kozok Michal Marciniak Miguel Marquez Mihai Dascalu MikeWaters Mikko Minkegirl Nan Niall Sclater Nihal Ege Nomad99 Omnisppot Petteri Philipp Peterer Randi Thomsen Reza Roberto Diaz Roger Ourset Roman Bruehwiler Ruben Mend Ryan watkins SHIHE HUANG Sazanami Sclowitz Sergio Arjona Shandos Cleaver Sibariam Simisingh3 Simon Penton Solivagant Stanimir Stanislaw Warwas Svein Elias Szucs Tamas Tamara Ratz Thomas Buechler Thomas Kunz Tino A Offner Tonioto Triath Uwebart Van Hung VisionMX123 Wait About WanderGirl Westwards Wojciech Fedoruk Xavier b Zos M Zoë Sheng