San Cristóbal de las Casas is in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The city today however is still the cultural capital of the state, and was designated a 'Pueblo Mágico' by the Mexican government in 2003. It has retained much of its Spanish colonial character in its street plans and architecture.
Founded by the Spanish in 1528, San Cristóbal de las Casas was the political capital of Chiapas until the end of the 19th century, when that role was transferred to Tuxtla Gutierrez. It has a large indigenous population made up primarily of Tzotzil- and Tzeltal-speaking Mayans.
For many visitors, San Cristóbal is associated with the Zapatista uprising and its charismatic leader Subcomandante Marcos, who suddenly seized control of the city center in January 1994 demanding justice and equal rights for the state's large and neglected indigenous population.