Zacatecas, city (1990 pop. 100,051), capital of Zacatecas state, N central Mexico. With an altitude of more than 8,000 ft (2,438 m), it is situated in a deep ravine surrounded by arid hills. The climate is temperate. The city is characterized by colonial buildings and narrow, winding, steep cobbled streets, frequently broken by stone steps. Zacatecas is a distribution center for the mining country as well as the commercial center for the region. Founded in 1548, the strategically located city was a key point in the Mexican wars and revolutions of the 19th and early 20th cent. Its cathedral was heavily pillaged during these struggles.