"The Pearl of the Western" - Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Guadalajara is a city in western Mexico, the capital of the state of Jalisco and the main municipality in the Guadalajara metropolitan area (ZMG). It is located in the center of Jalisco, in the geographical zone known as the Atemajac Valley. Guadalajara is the second most important city in the country.
Guadalajara is bordered to the north by the municipalities of Zapopan and Ixtlahuacán del Rio, to the east by Tonalá and Zapotlanejo, to the south by Tlaquepaque and to the west by Zapopan. The total population of the municipality of Guadalajara is 1,494,134 inhabitants, making it the fifth most populated in Mexico. The Guadalajara metropolitan area (made up of eight municipalities) has a total of 4,434,252 inhabitants and has the second highest amount of people in the country. It is the ninth biggest urban area in Latin America and the second most densely populated municipality in the country. It is behind only the Mexico City metropolitan area.
Culturally, Guadalajara is considered the most emblematic Mexican city and it has contributed greatly to the iconography of the country. Mariachi, tequila and charreria (Mexican rodeo) are all from Jalisco and are the most representative symbols of Mexico in the world. All have their base in Guadalajara or in surrounding towns in Jalisco.
Guadalajara is also known for its rich and varied gastronomy, its colonial architecture, its folklore and its religious traditions. Jalisco's capital may be predominantly Catholic and the site of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara but it is also the headquarters of the Light of the World Church.
Guadalajara will be the host of the Pan American Games 2011. Previously, the city has hosted other international events like the first Ibero-American Summit in 1991; the Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union Summit in 2004; the International Summit of Cultural Promotion in 2005; the North American Leaders' Summit in 2009 and the International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010. Guadalajara was named American Capital of Culture in 2005 and Educator City in both 2006 and 2010. Also, the city hosts the most important book fair in the Spanish-speaking world: the Guadalajara International Book Fair.
The city houses the most important technology cluster in the country and one of the most important in the world. It is known as the Mexican Silicon Valley because of its strong electronics industry and because it is the Mexican capital of I.T. and software development.
FDI Magazine rated Guadalajara as a "city of the future" in 2008, above all other Mexican cities. This was based on the city's young population, low unemployment rate, high amount of recent foreign investment and the amount of confirmed upcoming projects. Guadalajara was also seen as having the second highest economic potential of any North American city in 2009, only superseded by Chicago. The city's economic potential combined with its culture makes Guadalajara a focal point for development and tourism for all the country.