Aguascalientes ( ˈaɣwaskaˈljentes (help·info)), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Aguascalientes (Spanish:Estado Libre y Soberano de Aguascalientes, literally: Hot Waters), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 11 municipalities and its capital city is Aguascalientes.
It is located in North-Central Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Zacatecas to the north and Jalisco to the south. Its name means "hot waters" in Spanish and originated from the abundance of hot springs in the area. The corresponding demonym for the state and its inhabitants is hidrocálido or aguascalentense.
The state is located about 480 km (300 mi) from Mexico City.
It covers 5,471 square kilometers (2,112 sq mi) and has a little more than one million inhabitants. Most of its inhabitants live in the densely populated metropolitan area of its capital city.
The state as it is now was created on October 27, 1857 when it was separated from Zacatecas after the tale says that the wife of the governor of the state promised to give a kiss to the President of the time, in exchange for the separation of Aguascalientes from Zacatecas, which explains the shape of a kiss the state has. It bears the name Aguascalientes taken from its largest city and capital also called Aguascalientes.
Although this state is not often billed as a tourist center, international visitors, as well as citizens from all over Mexico, are attracted to the San Marcos Fair, which is considered the national fair of Mexico and contributes much to Mexico's economy.
Recently, its capital city has gained the reputation as a great destination for its superb colonial architecture visible in the colonial centre, as well as the modernity and dynamism in the outskirts.
The city also hosts many conventions every year. It benefits from its excellent central location. The city is also famed for its environment of relaxation, and for its safety and cleanliness, as it is often described by people when traveling to this part of the country for conventions or tourism.
Most tourists go to the capital. A few tourists explore the former mining towns in the north of the state (in the municipalities of Asientos and Tepezalá), which are now almost ghost cities. The haciendas, hot springs, and baths scattered around the state are also of historical and recreational relevance.
The state has a Natural Protected Reserve in the higher mountains called Sierra Fría. Located at a height of 2,500 to 3,000 meters (8,202 to 9,843 ft) above sea level, it comprises oak and pine forests. Its attractions include observing exuberant landscape and wide ravines, in which, there are pumas, lynxes, boar, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, raccoons and many other animals. There are steep-sided cycle paths, camping and picnic areas as well as several hunting clubs. It is the mountain climate and fauna that attracts locals for camping activities. In winter, the temperature sometimes falls to −4.44 °C (24.01 °F) when the weather is poor. Usually, Sierra Fria is the only part of the state that gets snow during winter.
In the city of Aguascalientes one of the best sunsets in the world can be seen in the Cerro del Muerto; the hill resembles the shape of a man lying down. The city of Aguascalientes is called "el corazón" which means "the heart" of Mexico because it lies in the middle of the country. This city is often considered, by its locals, to be one of the safest and cleanest in Mexico. Also, the city of Aguascalientes is known as "the land of the good people".