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Metepec is a city and municipality in the State of Mexicomarker in Mexicomarker. It lies adjacent to the east side of the state capital, Tolucamarker. Mexico Citymarker lies further to the east. The name Metepec is from Náhuatl meaning hill of the maguey plants. However, it is also known in the Matlatzinca language as "Nepinta-Tuhi" meaning 'people of corn land' and in the Otomi language as "Ntaguada"."

The city

The downtown of the city lies at the foot of the hill that gives the city and municipality its name. There has been a community here since the Otomis and Matlatzincas settled in this part of the Valley of Toluca, and the Matlatzincas reached their cultural peak between 1120 and 1450 as part of the Teotihuacanmarker culture. The Aztecs conquered this community, along with the rest of the area by 1470 by the tlatoani (chief) named Axáyacatl. The Spanish arrived here in 1526 obliterating native rites that were done on the "maguey hill" and put a church there, now-called the Ex-convento de San Juan, renaming the area San Juan Bautista Metepec. According the Codex of Metepec the Spanish town was founded in the same year.

The Ex-convento de San Juan is the main religious structure in the town from the 16th century; however, other churches worth visiting include Las Capillas de El Calvario, La Santa Cruz, del Espíritu Santo, San Bartolomé, de San Salvador, de Santa María Magdalena and la Parroquia de San Mateo. The 24th of June is the feast day of Metepec's patron saint, John the Baptist. In addition since 1990 the city has an international arts and culture festival called Quimera, which occurs in October.

The Cerro de Maguey (Maguey Hill) has a number of small caves with names like "La cueva del diablo" (Cave of the Devil) that can be explored. While most of the food in Metepec is typical of the region (with dishes such as barbacoa, tamales, and huaraches) it does have a unique drink called "Garañona". It is made from 15 herbs and is a strong, sweet drink. The locals say it is an aphrodisiac. The only place that sells and distributes this drink is a bar called the "2 de Abril", located in the downtown.

Economic activities

Metepec is known for its pottery items and it is still of economic importance. The artisans of this area have organized into the Asociación de Artesanos de Metepec y la Unión de Alfareros de Metepec, A.C. (Association of Artisans of Metepec and the Union of Potters of Metepec). Principal crafts include objects made from clay, glass and includes saddlemaking. The city has about 300 craftsmen as well as 275 family workshops. The craft Metepec is best-known for is the Arbol de la vida or the "Tree of Life" which is a pottery representation of the tree from which Adam and Eve ate from in the Biblical story. Monday is market day in the downtown, called plaza, in which merchants go to sell fruit, vegetables and even few electronics. In recent years, the municipality has increase their economic importance, via shopping malls, commercial plazas and others.

These are some of the recognized establishments, restaurants, and plazas (sometimes in the same places) found abroad this municipality:

Wal-Martmarker, Sam's Club, Costco,Comercial Mexicana,Sears,Liverpool ,Chedraui, Soriana, Radio Shack, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Mercedes Benz, SEAT, Volkswagen, Cinemex and Cinepolis among others.

According to INEGI 2005 census figures, the city had a population of 164,182, while the municipality had a population of 206,005 inhabitants. The municipality covers an area of 70.43 km² (27.19 sq mi) and includes several smaller communities besides Metepec. Most commercial activity occurs in the city of Metepec proper and has grown considerably in the past years, along with its population.

The municipality

As municipal seat, the city of Metepec has governing jurisdiction over the following communities: Barrio Santiaguito, Colonia Álvaro Obregón, Colonia Llano Grande (El Salitre), Rancho el Carmen Progreso, San Bartolomé Tlaltelulco, San Gaspar Tlahuelilpan, San Lorenzo Coacalco (San Lorenzo), San Lucas Tunco (San Lucas), San Miguel Totocuitlapilcomarker, San Sebastián, Santa María Magdalena Ocotitlán, and Tepoluli.

The municipality borders with the municipalities of San Mateo Atencomarker, Santiago Tianguistencomarker, Tolucamarker, Chapultepec, Mexicomarker, Mexicaltzingomarker and Calimayamarker and has a territory of 70.43 square kilometers. Due to its altitude, average temperatures here vary between 14 and 30C with cold spells down to 7C that can occur as late as March or April.

Economic activities

Outside of the city of Metepec, the main economic activity is still agriculture, with 5,271.59 hectares devoted to crops. Fish farms comprise 208.18 hectares, with urban areas totaling only 1,193.16 hectares. Livestock raising includes cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, rabbits and various fowl such as turkeys and chickens. Most is raised for autoconsumption and for nearby localities. However, industrial activities have grown in importance with enterprises dedicated to food-processing, bottling, tobacco, clothing, paper products, construction materials, as well as machinery and other equipment.

History

During the Spanish conquest, Gonzálo de Sandoval and his Otomi allies, conquered Tolucamarker, Tenango, Tlacotepecmarker, Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca, Calimayamarker along with Metepec other Matlatzinca and Mexica population centers, whose lands were then abandoned by the natives. These lands were then redistributed among the Spaniards who participated in the Conquest and to those local chiefs that supported the Spanish. Lands in and around Metepec were given to Captain Juan Gutiérrez Altamirano, who brought the Franciscans in to evangelize the area, and then these lands passed onto the estates of the Counts of Santiago. The area was considered an "alcaldía mayor" (literally 'major mayorship') by 1560 with the village of Metepec as its seat. Records of municipal government transactions begin in the 19th century. Finally, the municipality of Metepec was created in 1821; although this was not ratified by the government of the State of Mexicomarker until 1827.

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