Cuauhtemoc Tourist Attractions
The countryside around Cuauhtémoc (2100 m (6892 ft); population: 42,000; fiesta: June 13th, Día de San Antonio), 105km/65mi west of Chihuahua, is home to Chihuahua's 50,000 strong Mennonite community. Most still speak "Plattdeutsch", a Low German dialect, and make a living from arable farming and cattle rearing.Founded in the 16th c. by the Dutch reformer Menno Simons, the sect first established communities in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. At the beginning of the 18th c. some Mennonites, forced out of their Frisian homes, made their way to southern Russia by way of Danzig (Gdansk). There too they soon found their privileges - religious freedom, their own schools and exemption from military service - curtailed, as a result of which they emigrated to the USA and Canada. In 1921 Canada required the Mennonite community to participate in the State school system. Once more a number of groups felt forced to move on, this time to a new home in Chihuahua where they set up model farming communities. Measures introduced by the Mexican government in 1976 caused some of the stricter members of the sect to uproot themselves yet again, this time seeking refuge in Texas. The Mennonites still living around Cuauhtémoc are not "Conservadores" (who, for instance, reject electricity as the work of the devil). Although highly conservative in dress - the men wear blue dungarees and the women high-necked dresses, with straw hats trimmed with ribbons over their headscarves - they have accepted the benefits of electricity, cars and tractors. Their villages of simple, spotlessly clean houses are called 'campos' and have no names, only a number. Best known among their agricultural products are butter, cheese, ham and apples. The local newspaper is published in German.