Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

From New Spain Lode to Mexican Pueblo Mágico

The Overseer Parish
solitary walk
Vaquero at the top of one of the many ramps that flank Real de Catorce.
Real 14 lights
Passersby pass by the identifying letters of Real de Catorce
Inclined Parking
Jeep parked, for security, against a secular wall of Real de Catorce.
The Pueblo de Real de Catorce
The houses of Real de Catorce with the Parroquia de la Purísima Concepción highlighted.
Gallery of Miracles
The miracle wing of the Parish of Puríisima Concepción.
Illustrated Miracles
Miracles illustrated by believers and exhibited in the Parish of the Purísima Concepción.
cowgirl shadows
Visitors at the top of a slope in Real de Catorce.
Vaquero socializing
Cowboys socializing in the bandstand square of Real de Catorce.
blessed tunnel
Chapel that blesses the long Ogarrio tunnel.
Vaqueros and Cavallos
Horse owners lead them through the alleys of Real de Catorce.
At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, it was one of the mining towns that guaranteed the most silver to the Spanish Crown. A century later, the silver had been devalued in such a way that Real de Catorce was abandoned. Its history and the peculiar scenarios filmed by Hollywood have made it one of the most precious villages in Mexico.

On the last stretch from Route 60, the van pays the price of the antiquity of the destination.

The road remains a real boardwalk, made up of stones that are not smooth or not at all smoothed, making the vehicle and passengers shake even more.

With the time spent on that route, the driver learned to defend himself. He puts the two right wheels over the ditch that drains rare torrents of water. That way, he saves the van and saves us half the wear and tear.

We ascended, in zigzags, to furrow the colony of Joshua trees (yucca brevifolia) that surrounded us since we landed in São Luís, the capital of Potosina.

We are approaching the more than 2700 m that Real de Catorce is located. With weather coming from the south, the altitude validates the late-morning heat. Soon, it would change drastically.

We have reached the zenith of the road. An arched stone portal greets visitors with a “Welcome to Real de Catorce”. Ahead, we continue to see brown slopes of thorn bushes and cacti.

No sign of a town worthy of the name.

Beyond the portal, almost in the shadow of the mountains, a line of cars grows, waiting for permission to proceed. There we noticed the imminence of the Ogarrio tunnel that we had heard so much about, the long underground passage to the town.

We expect little. The traffic coming from there to here runs out in a flash. With the green flag hoisted by a young signalman, we followed in the tail of the caravan that entered.

We traveled 2km excavated in the rock, always with the marks of pickaxes and dynamite explosions yellowed by artificial lighting. Until we return to the fulminating light, despite the dryness of the tropical settings.

After all, we had crossed the imaginary line of the Tropic of Cancer, a mere fifty-odd kilometers to the south.

Real de Catorce's Pueblo Mágico Fever

In the early afternoon of a Sunday, we came across a crowd of foreigners who crossed, here and there, on Calle Lanzagorta, in the grid of parallel streets, alleys and alleys that branched off from this central axis.

Countless stalls and shop windows outside displayed and shoved Mexican snacks of all kinds and more, handicrafts and even naturalistic remedies for a myriad of ailments.

With effort, we went through the Parish of the Purísima Concepción, towards Plaza Hidalgo, with its already expected bandstand, the urban heart of the town. From there, still, when we were surprised by the unexpected gathering, in search of the hotel where we were going to stay, we gained courage and faced one of the poorly paved slopes that emerge from the square to the west.

"We have tamales, señores! Micheladas, cheladas, tejuinos, atolls” seduced us with revered specialties from Mexico, the vendors attentive to the sweat and saturation that we were already showing.

We avoid giving in. Instead, we bow our heads, face the mob again. We towed the bags down the path to the reserved rooms. Under the jocular gaze of the many local knights.

Those who lead groups of aspirants to the top of the old mines and back. And those waiting for customers, in animated conversation, on the edge of Plaza Hidalgo.

Today, the confusion that grips Real de Catorce lasts as long as weekends and Mexican holidays last.

With each return from working days, the village is given over to its fourteen hundred inhabitants, almost all of whom are supported by the pesos left by the ephemeral incursions of outsiders.

The Argentine Origin, something chaotic by Real de Catorce

Already in its mining genesis, the town it was all a chaotic, greedy mob that resisted any semblance of order.

Since, at least the beginning of the XNUMXth century, there was a hamlet in the region. At a certain point in colonial history, fourteen soldiers of the Spanish Crown were ambushed and killed there by Chichimeca warriors, an indigenous ethnic group that the Spaniards had long sought to subdue.

We go forward to 1773. Two miners, Sebastián Coronado and Manuel Martinéz are believed to have discovered silver on the slopes of the current Sierra de Catorce. Vast veins would be tested, as wide as those found in the neighboring areas of Zacatecas and Guanajuato.

just as it had happened elsewhere in Mexico, thousands of prospectors, miners and only adventurers flock to the place, eager to make a fortune.

For several years, newcomers settled in and accumulated. They subsisted due to the greed of silver, in what was becoming, before all eyes, a domain without law or king, of the Mexican Altiplano.

That was the case until the colonial government appointed Silvestre López Portillo, commissioner in charge of evaluating the mining potential of the Sierra de Catorce and, years later, also of the foundation of Real de Minas de la Purísima Concepción de los Catorce.

The State Authority and Colonial Order by López Portillo

It was López Portillo who outlined the current structure of the village, who distributed the property titles among the many claimants.

And who, out of his own pocket, for some time, paid for successive urbanization works, until, finally, mining began to guarantee profits that covered whatever the expense.

It is known, moreover, that in 1784 and following years, the annual production of silver from Real de Catorce was 8.6 tons, one of the most abundant in the Hispanic New World.

Under the supervision of the Virreinato's central authorities, López Portillo transformed the rowdy encampment into the discerning village that we continued to discover.

The Cold Peace that Comes to Real de Catorce, with the End of the Weekend

Gradually, until the end of Sunday, almost all the findesmaneros stampede. Business owners tear down stalls and shop windows. Real de Catorce enters a mode of rest, more faithful to how, before the advent of tourism, the History had left her.

The dawn is accompanied by a cold front that, during the winter, descends from the Arctic, crosses the United States and, frequently, covers with snow and freezes the north of Mexico.

The fact that the sun stopped smiling at Real de Catorce, little or nothing discourages us. Instead, we dedicated ourselves to exploring some of its intriguing interiors.

Starting with the large and sumptuous Parróquia de la Purísima Concepción, with its golden-coloured nave, built on wooden floors.

The Catholic monument hides a troubled past. That of the collapse of its dome in 1800, which killed a believer, the fire of 1817 and the ban on worship during the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

Saint Francis of Assisi and the Art of his Miraculous Worship

It also hides a kind of popular exhibition, always growing, in a side wing dedicated to the alleged achievements of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Strange as it may seem, despite the condominium with Jesus Christ and the Our Lady of Guadalupe, Panchito ou Charrito, as the faithful treat him, has long been the most venerated religious figure in Real de Catorce and its surroundings.

We entered the miracle-working space of the church.

There we find hundreds of paintings made by the believers, most of them with a childish or thanks to , illustrations of the same number of interventions considered divine in which God, through the Saint, interceded and saved the lives of Mexican faithful of all ages.

There we can appreciate paintings that portray from the tragedy of the child who, during a break in a car trip, was lost in the rainforest and was found days later, alive, the worker of PEMEX (Petróleos Mexicanos) spared in an accident in which, were it not for the Divinity, would have perished.

At the base of one of the huge panels, at earthly height, accessible to believers, we notice another sub-exhibition, in which dozens of statuettes of Saint Francis of Assisi, Christ, the Virgin of Guadalupe and other miracle-working sanctities are lined up. .

About closing time, the employees at the church store counter make us leave through the central door of the nave.

When we do so, we leave the spiritual dimension, returning to the materialist dimension in the genesis of Real de Catorce, the one that, we must remember, financed the magnanimous parish.

From Real da Nueva España to the Pueblo Mágico Mexicano

Opposite the main façade of the church, facing the height where the mines expanded, we find the Casa da Moeda do Pueblo.

It was built in 1863 with the aim of, on the verge of so much silver, officializing the production of coins and medals that had already taken place since the beginning of the century and which intensified with the outbreak of the War of Independence (1810-21), conflict in which the insurgents needed to finance the fight of the all-powerful Spanish Crown.

Real de Catorze changed from Spanish to Mexican in August 1821. With the XNUMXth century coming to an end, the village had around fifteen thousand inhabitants, ten times more than the current population.

It had its own bullring and several of its stores sold luxury goods imported from Europe.

A few years later, silver betrayed her.

We will see how, in the 2nd part of this article dedicated to Real de Catorce.


Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), Chihuahua, Mexico

The Deep Mexico of the Barrancas del Cobre

Without warning, the Chihuahua highlands give way to endless ravines. Sixty million geological years have furrowed them and made them inhospitable. The Rarámuri indigenous people continue to call them home.
chihuahua, Mexico

¡Ay Chihuahua !

Mexicans have adapted this expression as one of their favorite manifestations of surprise. While we wander through the capital of the homonymous state of the Northwest, we often exclaim it.
Izamal, Mexico

The Holy, Yellow and Beautiful Mexican City

Until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, Izamal was a center of worship for the supreme Mayan god Itzamná and Kinich Kakmó, the one of the sun. Gradually, the invaders razed the various pyramids of the natives. In its place, they built a large Franciscan convent and a prolific colonial houses, with the same solar tone in which the now Catholic city shines.
Chihuahua a Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

On Creel's Way

With Chihuahua behind, we point to the southwest and to even higher lands in the north of Mexico. Next to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, we visited a Mennonite elder. Around Creel, we lived for the first time with the Rarámuri indigenous community of the Serra de Tarahumara.
Goiás Velho, Brazil

A Gold Rush Legacy

Two centuries after the heyday of prospecting, lost in time and in the vastness of the Central Plateau, Goiás esteems its admirable colonial architecture, the surprising wealth that remains to be discovered there.
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
Campeche, Mexico

Campeche Upon Can Pech

As was the case throughout Mexico, the conquerors arrived, saw and won. Can Pech, the Mayan village, had almost 40 inhabitants, palaces, pyramids and an exuberant urban architecture, but in 1540 there were less than 6 natives. Over the ruins, the Spaniards built Campeche, one of the most imposing colonial cities in the Americas.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.
Tulum, Mexico

The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

Built by the sea as an exceptional outpost decisive for the prosperity of the Mayan nation, Tulum was one of its last cities to succumb to Hispanic occupation. At the end of the XNUMXth century, its inhabitants abandoned it to time and to an impeccable coastline of the Yucatan peninsula.
Mérida, Mexico

The Most Exuberant of Meridas

In 25 BC, the Romans founded Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania. The Spanish expansion generated three other Méridas in the world. Of the four, the Yucatan capital is the most colorful and lively, resplendent with Hispanic colonial heritage and multi-ethnic life.
Cobá to Pac Chen, Mexico

From the Ruins to the Mayan Homes

On the Yucatan Peninsula, the history of the second largest indigenous Mexican people is intertwined with their daily lives and merges with modernity. In Cobá, we went from the top of one of its ancient pyramids to the heart of a village of our times.
Campeche, Mexico

A Bingo so playful that you play with puppets

On Friday nights, a group of ladies occupy tables at Independencia Park and bet on trifles. The tiniest prizes come out to them in combinations of cats, hearts, comets, maracas and other icons.

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.

Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Yucatan, Mexico

The Sidereal Murphy's Law That Doomed the Dinosaurs

Scientists studying the crater caused by a meteorite impact 66 million years ago have come to a sweeping conclusion: it happened exactly over a section of the 13% of the Earth's surface susceptible to such devastation. It is a threshold zone on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula that a whim of the evolution of species allowed us to visit.
Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

The Mayan Capital That Piled It Up To Collapse

The term Uxmal means built three times. In the long pre-Hispanic era of dispute in the Mayan world, the city had its heyday, corresponding to the top of the Pyramid of the Diviner at its heart. It will have been abandoned before the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatan. Its ruins are among the most intact on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexico: Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
orthodox procession
Ceremonies and Festivities
Suzdal, Russia

Centuries of Devotion to a Devoted Monk

Euthymius was a fourteenth-century Russian ascetic who gave himself body and soul to God. His faith inspired Suzdal's religiosity. The city's believers worship him as the saint he has become.
Family in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 1 - Hobart, Australia

Australia's Backdoor

Hobart, the capital of Tasmania and the southernmost of Australia, was colonized by thousands of convicts from England. Unsurprisingly, its population maintains a strong admiration for marginal ways of life.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Apia, Western Samoa

Fia Fia – High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

From New Zealand to Easter Island and from here to Hawaii, there are many variations of Polynesian dances. Fia Fia's Samoan nights, in particular, are enlivened by one of the more fast-paced styles.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Ross Bridge, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 3, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania from Top to Bottom

The favorite victim of Australian anecdotes has long been the Tasmania never lost the pride in the way aussie ruder to be. Tassie remains shrouded in mystery and mysticism in a kind of hindquarters of the antipodes. In this article, we narrate the peculiar route from Hobart, the capital located in the unlikely south of the island to the north coast, the turn to the Australian continent.
Conversation between photocopies, Inari, Babel Parliament of the Sami Lapland Nation, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Embassy, ​​Nikko, Spring Festival Shunki-Reitaisai, Toshogu Tokugawa Procession, Japan
Nikko, Japan

The Tokugawa Shogun Final Procession

In 1600, Ieyasu Tokugawa inaugurated a shogunate that united Japan for 250 years. In her honor, Nikko re-enacts the general's medieval relocation to Toshogu's grandiose mausoleum every year.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Soufrière and Pitons, Saint Luci
Natural Parks
Soufriere, Saint Lucia

The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

Perched above a lush coastline, the twin peaks Pitons are the hallmark of Saint Lucia. They have become so iconic that they have a place in the highest notes of East Caribbean Dollars. Right next door, residents of the former capital Soufrière know how precious their sight is.
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Color Maneuvers
UNESCO World Heritage
Alone, South Korea

A Glimpse of Medieval Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace stands guarded by guardians in silken robes. Together they form a symbol of South Korean identity. Without waiting for it, we ended up finding ourselves in the imperial era of these Asian places.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Bather rescue in Boucan Canot, Reunion Island
Reunion Island

The Bathing Melodrama of Reunion

Not all tropical coastlines are pleasurable and refreshing retreats. Beaten by violent surf, undermined by treacherous currents and, worse, the scene of the most frequent shark attacks on the face of the Earth, that of the Reunion Island he fails to grant his bathers the peace and delight they crave from him.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Walter Peak, Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand  

When Counting Sheep causes Sleep Loss

20 years ago, New Zealand had 18 sheep per inhabitant. For political and economic reasons, the average was halved. In the antipodes, many breeders are worried about their future.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.