Walk Nine

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Plaza Civica on Mesones Street

Ready: We have covered San Francisco to Juárez to Mesones as part of Walk Number Two, so our information on this tour begins at the Plaza Cívica (turn right at the old gas pump you passed on the corner of Juarez and Mesones when you took Walk Two and cross the street). The statue of the man (Ignacio Allende) on the horse in Plaza Civica commemorates Allende’s saving of families loyal to Spain at the start of the battles with Spain, who barricaded themselves in the college located on the Northwest corner (this building on the North corner of the plaza is now an extension of the University of León ).

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'La Salud ' Church

The Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Salud ( 'La Salud ') anchors the plaza. See the symbol of the eye in the yellow triangle above the door. It served the College of San Francisco (just to the right of the church, now part of the University of Leon). It is dedicated to the Virgin of Health and is very popular for weddings, quinceañeras and first communions, which you may come upon being celebrated. This is the church associated with blessings for the vendors at the market.

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The Oratorio Church

The Iglesia del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri is to the left of 'La Salud ' at the southern end of the Plaza Cívica, at the Insurgentes Street corner. On this route you return up Loreto Street at the end of this walk, and this is a good time to visit this popular church with a long history dating from the early part of the 18th century. Looking out the doors of this church you will see the grand building of the San Francisco Church and its dome.

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Uphill on Mesones

Re-cross the street from the central part of Plaza Cívica to walk up Mesones Street. Being close to the market, you will find many fresh produce and small grocery stores along this route. Also, two ways to learn Spanish - one at the Black Cat Bar. Half a block up on the right side you’ll see the Black Cat sign—it’s one of those places your mother told you not to go, but you decide. And an excellent option is Academia Hispano Americana, further up the street at Mesones #4, a Spanish language school known for excellent results, also offering workshops on Mexican Culture.

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Colegio Street

Returning down Mesones, enter Colegio (Collage) Street which begins at the north side of Plaza Civica. This street leads to the market. It has many meat, fruit, vegetable and shoes stores-all good quality. For a traditional meal try Carnitas Don Toño #13 Colegio, for ‘carnitas’. They prepare the whole pig cooked Mexican style. Good ambiance to eat-in, or take-out for later. The chicken broiler also offers a nice to-go meal.

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Ignacio Ramirez Covered Market

You can’t miss the market entrance, just off Plaza Cívica down Colegio on the left. You will see the Virgin of Guadalupe statue that graces the entrance. Enter and explore. Don’t miss the flower sellers for great buys. The fruit, vegetable and food stands are kept clean and a torta (sandwich on a roll) or liquado (smoothie) are delicious when you sit down and enjoy yourself in this bustling scene.

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New Addition to The Market

Just outside the main building a new roof has been put over what used to be an outdoor plaza for those with non-permanent stands inside the market. The vendors in this area offer everything from boiled soy beans and peanuts, pomegranate seeds, nopal leaves, sage tea, epazote and farmers fresh cheese to all kinds of chilies.

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Artisans Market

In the newly covered market area, outside the main building you will find practical items like plastic buckets and hangers, but also many kinds of hand-crafted items from embroidered table cloths to Dolores Hidalgo-made talavera (ceramic ware).

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Artesana Plazas

At the south end of the covered ‘new’ market area you will see a stairway. This leads to the Artesana Plaza of vendors in three intersecting pedestrian-only streets where artisans sell for good prices, from wood carved masks, to tin star lamps to silver jewelry. At the end of the first plaza you will come to the The Quinta Loreto Hotel in Balderas Alley, which has a number of reasonably priced rooms arrayed around a small pool and gardens. It also has a basic, family-style restaurant.

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Loreto Street

After you have strolled the artisan craft isles, return to the Jardín area by way of Calle Loreto because it has many good crafts and artisan shops. Drop into #10 B, Kafeteria Muro Galería on the left side known for their homemade bread and value-meals. This walk ends at Loreto and Insurgentes Street corner where you can either catch a taxi to your next destination or walk up Relox or Hidalgo Streets to the Jardín.

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