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Real de Catorce, a special corner in Mexico

Real de Catorce is a beautiful town located in the Sierra de Catorce, in San Luís de Potosí, Mexico. It is a mining town located almost 3000 meters high which today is one of the main tourist attractions in the country. In it you will find an impressive natural environment, a unique architecture and an interesting history. Do you want to discover this beautiful town?

Real de Catorce: from a mining town to a tourist town

Real de Catorce emerged as a mining town after the discovery of an important vein of silver. With the name of Real de Minas de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción de Guadalupe de los Álamos de Catorce, It was established as one of the most important silver mines in the country.

Previously it was already inhabited by a group of indigenous people, to whom the viceroy of New Spain had given these lands so that they could cultivate them. However, with the discovery of the silver vein in the 18th century, Real de Catorce began to grow rapidlyto the rhythm of the miners who came to him to find riches.

It even had its own mint, but it all ended when an aquifer mantle was drilled in one of the prospections and the mine was flooded. Thus, little by little, the town of Real de Catorce was left abandoned, to the point of becoming a ghost town.

Despite this, its great architectural and historical potential led to the restoration of its monuments and the opening of an important museum dedicated to the life of the miner. Since 2001, it has been part of the network of magical towns promoted by the Mexican Ministry of Tourism..

What to see in Real de Catorce

1. Temple of the Immaculate Conception

It is a temple of colonial architecture, an imposing church to which thousands of devotees come to pray to Saint Francis of Assisi. This, also known as Panchito or el Charrito, has been one of the main reasons for the recovery of Real de Catorce, since when the town was abandoned, thousands of people returned each year to worship the saint.

Originally it was a small chapel, but the importance of the saint caused this impressive church to be built. Thus, in 1783 the first stone was laid. Nevertheless, in 1817 it suffered a terrible fire which caused the loss of the profuse decoration it contained.

Currently, it is the scene of a great party from the second half of September to the end of October. It is then that a great festival is celebrated in honor of the saint, attended by the faithful, merchants and professionals to pay ‘mandas’ or make requests.

2. The Mint

So much wealth was accumulated in this small town in the Sierra de Catorce, that it even had its own mint, although it worked for a very short time. Coins of two, four and eight reales were minted there. The one for eight reales was very special, since it was ordered by the miners of Real de Catorce as a contribution for the construction of the Guadalajara sanctuary.

3. The cemetery or the pantheons

It is one of the oldest spaces in this mountain town. In it you can see tombs from before the 18th century, when the silver vein was discovered. In it is the chapel of Descanso, which has a beautiful neoclassical façade.

4. The museum

Opposite the church of La Concepción is the parish museum. Try to show what life was like for the inhabitants of this Mexican municipalityin addition to protecting the rich cultural legacy they possessed.

With the closure of the mine and the economic crisis that followed, the residents began to sell the antiques they owned, but they were unaware of their value. Thus, the local priest managed to buy them and found this museum. There you will find everyday objects, tools for the mineold photographs, musical instruments, etc.

5. Other places to discover in Real de Catorce

Another of the places that you should discover in Real de Catorce is the palenque or coliseum of roosters. Cockfights were held in it and it was recovered for its tourist visit. Also, do not miss its streets and houses because you will discover precious examples of popular and noble architecture made of stone.

In addition, you can take a nice guided tour of the abandoned mines and the impressive landscape of the area. Also you can go through the Ogarrio tunnel, it is the main access road and has a length of 2300 meters. Inaugurated on April 2, 1901, its construction is due to Roberto Irizar and its promoter was Don Gregorio de la Maza y Gómez de la Puente.

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