From top to bottom and from left to right: Fernando Soler City Theater, Saltillo Cathedral, Plaza de la Nueva Tlaxcala, Government Palace, Palace of the Congress of the State of Coahuila, Museum of the Birds of Mexico and Panoramic of the city.
From top to bottom and from left to right: Fernando Soler City Theater, Saltillo Cathedral, Plaza de la Nueva Tlaxcala, Government Palace, Palace of the Congress of the State of Coahuila, Museum of the Birds of Mexico and Panoramic of the city.
Coat of arms of Saltillo
The Athens of Mexico, The Detroit of Mexico
Location of Saltillo within the municipality
Location of Saltillo within the municipality
Saltillo is located in Mexico
Location of Saltillo in Mexico
Saltillo is located in Coahuila
Location of Saltillo in Coahuila
Coordinates: 25°25′23″N 100°59′31″W / 25.42306°N 100.99194°W / 25.42306; -100.99194
CountryMexico Mexico
StateCoahuila Coahuila
FoundedJuly 25, 1577
Founded asVilla de Santiago del Saltillo
Founded byAlberto del Canto
 • MayorJosé María Fraustro Siller
1,600 m (5,250 ft)
 • City807,537[1]
 • Metro
 • Demonym
GDP (PPP, constant 2015 values)
 • Year2023
 • Total$29.4 billion[2]
 • Per capita$28,400
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)

Saltillo (Latin American Spanish: [salˈtiʝo] ) is the capital and largest city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and is also the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. Mexico City, Monterrey, and Saltillo are all connected by a major railroad and highway. As of a 2020 census, Saltillo had a population of 879,958 people, while the population of its metropolitan area was 1,031,779, making Saltillo the largest city in the state of Coahuila, and the 14th most populated metropolitan area in the country.[3]

Saltillo is one of the most industrialized cities in Mexico and has one of the largest automotive industries in the country, with plants such as Tupy, Grupo Industrial Saltillo, General Motors, Stellantis, Daimler AG, Freightliner Trucks, BorgWarner, Plastic Omnium, Magna, and Nemak operating in the region. The city and its metropolitan area also house a large number of plants providing manufactured goods to various other multinational companies, including Tesla's new plant in Mexico, located less than an hour away in the neighboring Santa Catarina, Nuevo León. Saltillo is a prominent manufacturing hub noted for its commerce, communications, and manufacturing of products both traditional and modern.


Colonial era

Ojo de Agua Neighborhood
Parish of the Holy Christ of the Ojo de Agua, today recognized as the site of the founding of the city.

Founded in 1577 by Conquistador Alberto del Canto as Villa de Santiago del Saltillo, it is one of[4] the oldest post-conquest settlements in Northern Mexico. It can be ascertained that the name of the city comes from a small waterfall that draws water from a spring. Nowadays, the spring is located within the Parish of the Holy Christ of the Ojo de Agua and is still visited by the local population.[5]

In 1591, the Spanish resettled a community of their Tlaxcaltec allies in a separate town, San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala, located just across an irrigation ditch from Saltillo.[6] The measure was taken in order to aid stalled colonization efforts and cultivate the land. In its early years, Saltillo grew slowly due to the hostility of the indigenous Chichimeca people[7][8] and frequent water shortages. A hundred years after its founding, its population was only about 300 people, whilst the population of the adjacent Tlaxcaltec town, San Esteban, was about 1,750.[9][10]

In the eighteenth century, Saltillo was a commercial center on the northern frontier which served as a bridge from central Mexico to regions further northeast such as the New Kingdom of León, New Santander, Coahuila, and Texas.[11] It also supplied the silver mines of Zacatecas with wheat.[12] It never rose to great prominence, but it did develop a commercial core and an agricultural and ranching sector that supplied its needs, with surpluses that could be sold. Saltillo became administratively important at the end of the eighteenth century, when a branch of the Royal Treasury was established in the city.[13]

Historical aqueduct

Merchants, most of whom were Iberian Peninsula-born Spaniards, constituted the most important economic group, handling a wide variety of goods and selling in shops.[14] They were the provincial branch of the transatlantic merchant sector, with ties to Mexico City merchants. Peninsular merchants in Saltillo married into the local elite society, acquired rural properties, and sought local office.[15]

In the late seventeenth century, an annual trade fair was established, which carried Mexican livestock and manufactured goods to places as far as China and Europe. Saltillo could produce wheat commercially as long as there was access to water, but as with many other parts of the North, drought was a consistent threat. In the eighteenth century, there was a demand for draft animals, which Saltillo supplied.[16]

Early Mexico

In 1824, Saltillo was made the capital of the state of Coahuila y Tejas, substituting Santiago de la Monclova as such. Three years later, Mexican Constituting Congress sanctioned that the city's name be changed to Leona Vicario, after one of the few female figures of the Mexican War of Independence. However, in 1831, a new State Congress decree merged Leona Vicario with the contiguous town of San Esteban (renamed Villalongín) and the name was changed back to Saltillo.[17]

For nearly a decade, Saltillo held the administrative seat of a territory which included Coahuila alongside most of the territory of the current U.S. state of Texas until it was lost in the 1836 in the Texas Revolution. The Republic of Texas continued to have border disputes with Mexico's Centralist Republic, which continued to object to its independence. Peace was further disturbed by Comanche and Apache raiding, private vendettas, and separatist movements. On October 23, 1840, the Battle of Saltillo took place when 110 Texians and Tejanos crossed the Rio Grande to attack the city's government in support of an attempt to create a separate Republic of the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico.[18]

In 1845, Texas was annexed by the United States and its disputes with Mexico, aggravated by the Polk Administration, soon expanded into the Mexican–American War. The first phase of the war ended in September 1846 with Gen. Zachary Taylor's hard-won siege and occupation of Monterrey in Nuevo León. The War Department ordered him to remain there, but Taylor violated the armistice and went with Gen. William Worth and 1200 men to occupy Saltillo on 16 November to protect the approaches to his main army in Monterrey.[19] Antonio López de Santa Anna had been allowed through the blockade of Veracruz to bring the war to a swift conclusion but had instead rallied the Mexican army and moved north. Gen. John E. Wool was sent to nearby Agua Nueva on December 21 and the indecisive Battle of Buena Vista occurred 12 miles (19 km) from Saltillo between February 22 and 23,1847, after which López de Santa Anna's army was forced to move south to protect San Luis Potosí and counter a seaborne invasion by Gen. Winfield Scott.

Porfiriato and Mexican Revolution

Modernity reached Coahuila with the arrival of the railroad in 1880, during the Porfiriato. In 1890, telegraph, telephone, and street lighting networks were created in addition to the construction of cultural buildings, including theaters and plazas, and buildings of a social nature such as hospices, civil hospitals, and sanitary structures consisting of drinking water and drainage systems.

During the 1910–1920 Mexican Revolution, Saltillo was occupied in separate events by the forces of Victoriano Huerta, Francisco Villa, and then by those of Venustiano Carranza. Hundreds of peasants were forced to join these various groups. As a result, many fled to Texas, including aristocratic families.

20th century

In 1923 the Antonio Narro Agrarian University was founded.[20] Two decades later in 1943, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education was established in the city, then in 1951, the Technological Institute of Saltillo and in 1957, the Autonomous University of Coahuila was established.

Saltillo's agricultural climate in the second half of the 20th century was rapidly transforming into industrial activity; huge orchards disappeared and factories began to dominate the landscape.

In the second quarter of the twentieth century, Saltillo changed from agricultural and textile activities towards industrial activities, with the creation of companies such as CIFUNSA, CINSA, Éxito, and Molinos el Fénix, among others.

The true industrial explosion occurred in the '70s and '80s with the arrival of the car industry to the region. Companies such as General Motors and Chrysler, along with their respective satellite companies or suppliers, came to Saltillo. Since then, Saltillo and its Metropolitan Zone (Ramos Arizpe and Arteaga) are known as the "Detroit of Mexico". However, a movement is currently underway to diversify the industry, with the arrival of pharmaceutical companies, household appliances, chemicals, ceramics, and even parts for the aerospace industry.


The city of Saltillo is the municipal seat of the municipality of Saltillo. The current mayor is José María Fraustro Siller, from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI).


El Cerro del Pueblo (The People's Hill) and its 4-metre (13 ft) cross overlook the city. The city's elevation makes it colder and windier than the neighboring city of Monterrey. Saltillo lies in the Chihuahuan Desert near the city of Arteaga. The city is flanked by the Zapalinamé mountains, which are part of the Sierra Madre Oriental. According to local legend, by looking at the relief of the mountains one can see the relief of Zapalinamé, chieftain of the Guachichil tribe who rose against the Spaniards in 1584.[21]

Orography and hydrography

San Lorenzo Canyon

Composed of geological formations of the Jurassic period, the San Lorenzo Canyon, located southeast of Saltillo in the Sierra de Zapalinamé, is a tourist attraction for outdoor activities and extreme sports such as rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking, hiking, mountaineering and camping.

Arroyo de los Ojitos

It begins south of Francisco Coss Boulevard, crosses the Venustiano Carranza Boulevard, passes between the Liverpool and Home Depot buildings, and is channeled through Nazario Boulevard Ortiz towards Benito Juárez Street.

Arroyo de la Tortola

It begins its course in the Magisterio neighborhood, towards the temple of Santo Cristo del Ojo de Agua, crosses the center of the city between the streets Arteaga and Matamoros near the Coahuila school, then converges with the channel that descends near Antonio Cárdenas Street (or South Abasolo), is channeled underground through the Topo Chico neighbourhood, down through Nava Street and then by Luis Echeverría and down again by Abasolo Norte and connects in Nazario Ortiz with the Charquillo.

Arroyo del Charquillo

It starts from the eastern end of the Ateneo street, goes down behind the sports San Isidro passes to the side of Campo Redondo, crosses the lake of the Sports City towards the Tecnológico de Monterrey and continues until converging with the Cevallos stream at the Boulevard Moctezuma or Pedro Figueroa.

Cevallos Creek

It starts in the Zapaliname mountain range, from the Lomas de Lourdes neighborhood, it passes along the Luis Echeverría Oriente Boulevard, passes behind the Mercado de Abastos, crosses on one side of Plaza Sendero, then descends along Tezcatlipoca street, passes near the Club Campestre and converges with the Navarreña stream on the road to Monterrey and on the way to the Valdés.

Arroyo de la Navarreña

Starts in the mountains near the Vista Hermosa neighborhood, crosswise through neighborhoods such as Founders and Morelos, goes down the side of the Corona Motel on Fundadores Boulevard, pass by the Dolores Pantheon on Jesus Valdés Sánchez Boulevard and continues towards the South, surrounding the Country Club on its east side and the Country Club subdivision and continues to the city of Ramos.

Land El Aguaje

Located in the San Lorenzo Canyon southeast of the city of Saltillo. Composed of geological formations originated between the Upper Jurassic and Quaternary that facilitate the intense infiltration of water to the subsoil, thus allowing the constant recharge of the aquifers that supply drinking water to the city of Saltillo.On July 3, 2008, the Government of the State of Coahuila decided to buy the property, which was granted to Mexican Wildlife Protection in bailment on July 23, 2012, for its management and conservation.[22]

Sierra La Concordia

It is the highest mountain in the municipality, reaches 3,462 meters above sea level.

Sierra Catana

The Sierra Catana mountain reaches 3,104 meters above sea level.


Saltillo has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). Saltillo is located in the Chihuahuan Desert but temperatures are cooler than other desert cities in Mexico because it is located at an altitude of 1,600 meters (5,250 ft). Summers are slightly hot with cool nights, and winters are sunny but cool. Rainfall is scarce but more prominent in summer. Snowfall and sub-freezing temperatures are not unknown, but do not occur every year.

Climate data for Saltillo (1951–2010, extremes 1949–2018)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.5
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 19.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 4.5
Record low °C (°F) −14.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 15.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 3.4 2.7 2.1 3.4 5.2 6.4 8.8 9.0 8.2 5.1 2.9 3.2 60.4
Average snowy days 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3
Average relative humidity (%) 58.7 55.2 52.3 51.6 54.9 60.2 65.4 68.4 75.6 68.5 60.2 57.1 60.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 221.1 221.2 267.1 268.6 287.0 273.7 250.7 252.0 215.5 243.6 240.5 216.2 2,957.3
Source 1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional,[23][24] World Meteorological Organization (relative humidity and sun 1981–2010)[25]
Source 2: Colegio de Postgraduados (snow days)[26][27][28]


Sarapes being made
Saltillo tile in the historic city center

Saltillo's most famous exports are Saltillo tile and the locally woven multi-colored sarapes. Mercedes-Benz and General Motors both have assembly plants there and Chrysler operates a truck assembly plant, a sedan assembly plant, two engine facilities, and a car transmissions plant. Of all the vehicles made in Mexico, 37.4% of cars and 62.6% of trucks are assembled in Saltillo.[29] Saltillo is home to the Grupo Industrial Saltillo, an important manufacturing conglomerate that makes home appliances, silverware, and auto parts.

The General Motors plant manufactures vehicles for export to Japan, Canada, and Central America as well as for domestic purchase. It builds the Chevrolet C2, Chevrolet Monza, Chevrolet Captiva, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Vue hybrid, Saab 9-4X and Cadillac SRX.[30] As of 2016 the plant produces about one third of the firm's full-sized pick-up trucks.[31]


Local government palace
Inside the government palace

Saltillo's main universities are the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, the Instituto Tecnológico de Saltillo, the Tec de Monterrey Saltillo Campus, El Instituto de Filologia Hispanica, the Universidad Carolina and the Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro.

Sites of interest

Saltillo Cathedral


Plaza de Armas fountain


Church of Santo Cristo del Ojo de Agua.


In Saltillo there are about 22 museums, including: Museum of the Presidents' Coahuilenses, Campus of the University Cultural Heritage, 'Pinacoteca Ateneo Fuente' of the Autonomous University of Coahuila, Museum-Parish Archive, Hall of Natural History.


Matlachinada 2014. Event held every year, with Matachines from all over the state of Coahuila.

Saltillo's local culture shares many features with the larger Northern Mexican culture. However, it has various particularities that denote a great cultural and historical wealth. Some of them are highlighted below.


The danza de matachines is a carnivalesque dance that, in addition to being performed in Saltillo, is performed in various locations ranging from the US state of New Mexico to the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Nuevo León and Chihuahua.[35] As a cultural manifestation, this dance has controversial origins. Cruz Viveros, an academic from Veracruz, points out that it must have arrived in America with the Spanish Conquest, since it is similar to the Moorish dances that were already used in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France since the Middle Ages. According to him, in Mexico the dance would have been subject to a process of redefinition with which it would have been intended to attribute an indigenous origin. From this moment on, the event in which it takes place began to be called matlachinada, whereas the dancers, were dubbed matlachines (both terms supposedly derived from the Nahuatl word "matlatzinca").[36]

Regardless of its possible European origins, the dance that is performed in Saltillo in honor of the Holy Christ, incorporates in its costumes and choreography various elements that, at least, belong to the Mexican imaginary of "the indigenous" and, at most, can be attributed to the Tlaxcaltecs. Among these elements we find bows and arrows, headdresses with multicolored feathers, little stones, decorated skirts and sandals. In addition, the dance is organized by the inhabitants of the Ojo de Agua neighborhood, formerly inhabited by people of Tlaxcaltec origin.

Sarape de Saltillo

The sarape (serape, or jorongo) is a rectangular garment, for male use, with or without opening for the head and multicolored stripes which are reminiscent of a rainbow. It is one of the most representative objects of Mexico. The serape is a garment of traditional Mexican men's clothing, usually brightly colored and with traditional patterns. It is usually made of wool fiber that maintains heat more efficiently, but is also woven from cotton. The thickness of the yarn chosen for the fabric, as well as its material, the elaboration of each necessary knot and the final size of the serape, are variables that influence the final weight and feel of the serape. It is traditional from various parts of Mexico, as in Saltillo. In fact, it was colonizers of Tlaxcalan origin who took the serape to Coahuila from Zaragoza, Zacatecas and probably to New Mexico.

It serves as a coat, blanket, bedspread, tablecloth or cape. It also decorates walls and floors, as a tapestry or carpet. Another use is to put it on the horse before climbing to the saddle.

Pulque bread

Pulque bread is a tradition deeply rooted in the town and is highly sought after by the people of Saltillo. Its preparation, based on wheat flour, water or milk, egg and, sometimes, lard is similar to that of other Mexican sweet breads. However, it differs by including pulque, which is a fermented drink obtained from the agave plant, as a fermentation agent. This gives it a characteristic flavor, sweetness and moisture. With this dough, pecan empanadas, chorreadas, muffins, braid bread, bishops, etc. are made. Although for many the city of Saltillo is synonymous with this bread, in reality its production constitutes, along that in a handful of neighboring towns, a relatively isolated focus of its production in Northeastern Mexico. Such is the case that outside of Saltillo, pulque bread can be found in the Mexican states of Hidalgo, Puebla, Querétaro, Mexico City, Oaxaca and, of course, Tlaxcala.[37]

The Saltillo Rondalla of the UAAAN

The city of Saltillo is known for its rondalla, being the highest representative of the Rondallesque movement in Mexico for more than four decades. The 'Rondalla de Saltillo' went beyond transposing the established limits and creating its own style. It has multiple recordings and has toured several countries, it is characterized by using guitars, requintos, double bass, and vocals. The poet Marco Antonio Aguirre arrived at La Rondalla de Saltillo in 1966 and wrote his story with tours, and 30 recorded albums.


Francisco I. Madero Ballpark

Saltillo is a city with a long baseball tradition. In fact, some sources indicate that the sport began to be practiced in town at the end of the 19th century.[38] However, its representative team, the Saraperos de Saltillo, did not arrive in the Mexican Baseball League until 1970. They had their origins in a dinner held by the members of the Pro-Works Committee of the Saltillo Cathedral, whose president was Mr. Jorge Torres Casso. They currently hold three championships, in 1980, 2009 and 2010, and eight division titles, in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1988, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010.

Other professional clubs based in Saltillo are:

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Dinos Saltillo American football 2016 LFA Estadio Olímpico Francisco I. Madero
Saltillo F.C. Soccer 2019 Serie A de México Estadio Olímpico Francisco I. Madero
Saltillo Soccer F.C. Soccer 1995 Liga TDP Estadio Olímpico Francisco I. Madero


Saltillo Metropolitan Area air traffic is served by Plan de Guadalupe International Airport. It takes 15 minutes to get from downtown Saltillo to the airport. It has several cargo airline flights per day, but no passenger flights. There is a comprehensive bus system in Saltillo along with many taxis.

Sister cities

The following are sister cities of Saltillo:

Notable people

Rubén Aguirre
Karla Wheelock

During the twentieth century the city received the nickname of "the Athens of Mexico" for its large number of prominent intellectuals.


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