Monterrey is the third largest city in Mexico and the capital of the state of Nuevo León. It is the commercial, industrial, educational, and transportation hub of northern Mexico, also third in economic importance after Mexico City and Mexico State. Although it is historically an industrial and commercial city (in fact most foreign visitors come for business purposes), tourists will be surprised at the wealth of cultural and entertainment attractions that the city has to offer.
Monterrey traces its modern history to its founding in 1596, when Diego de Montemayor founded the city, together with 12 first families. The story is told by a mural on one of the modern grey concrete and black glass government office towers downtown, just off the Macroplaza. The mural seems odd in its juxtaposition of Spanish conquestadors set next to a modern city of skyscrapers and factories. It does capture the spirit of Monterrey though --- a city that isn't so much a product of its past as it is a product of its future. Monterrey is an aggressively modern city, unlike most destinations in Mexico. Although it does have some colonial era sights, and its Barrio Antiguo district preserves a sense of Monterrey as it was in its once "sleepy town" days, the city is very much a product of the industrial age of the late 19th and 20th centuries.