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 findesemaneros 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.

WHERE TO STAY IN REAL DE CATORCE

hotelruinasdelreal.com

hotelpalaciodelgambusino.com

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.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Safari
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Muktinath to Kagbeni, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Kagbeni
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal,

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
Sirocco, Arabia, Helsinki
Architecture & Design
Helsinki, Finland

The Design that Came from the Cold

With much of the territory above the Arctic Circle, Finns respond to the climate with efficient solutions and an obsession with art, aesthetics and modernism inspired by neighboring Scandinavia.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Adventure
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.
Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Ceremonies and Festivities
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Key West Wall, Florida Keys, United States
Cities
Key West, USA

The Tropical Wild West of the USA

We've come to the end of the Overseas Highway and the ultimate stronghold of propagandism Florida Keys. The continental United States here they surrender to a dazzling turquoise emerald marine vastness. And to a southern reverie fueled by a kind of Caribbean spell.
Meal
Markets

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Parade and Pomp
Culture
Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

Russia dedicates the last Sunday of July to its naval forces. On that day, a crowd visits large boats moored on the Neva River as alcohol-drenched sailors seize the city.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Sport
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Plane landing, Maho beach, Sint Maarten
Traveling
Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

The Jet-powered Caribbean Beach

At first glance, Princess Juliana International Airport appears to be just another one in the vast Caribbean. Successive landings skimming Maho beach that precedes its runway, jet take-offs that distort the faces of bathers and project them into the sea, make it a special case.
small browser
Ethnic
Honiara e Gizo, Solomon Islands

The Profaned Temple of the Solomon Islands

A Spanish navigator baptized them, eager for riches like those of the biblical king. Ravaged by World War II, conflicts and natural disasters, the Solomon Islands are far from prosperity.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Hué, Communist City, Imperial Vietnam, Imperial Communism
History
Hue, Vietnam

The Red Heritage of Imperial Vietnam

It suffered the worst hardships of the Vietnam War and was despised by the Vietcong due to the feudal past. The national-communist flags fly over its walls but Hué regains its splendor.
VIP lights
Islands
Moyo Island, Indonesia

Moyo: An Indonesian Island Just for a Few

Few people know or have had the privilege of exploring the Moyo nature reserve. One of them was Princess Diana who, in 1993, took refuge there from the media oppression that would later victimize her.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Literature
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Nature
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
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.
Cachena cow in Valdreu, Terras de Bouro, Portugal
Natural Parks
Campos do GerêsTerras de Bouro, Portugal

Through the Campos do Gerês and the Terras de Bouro

We continue on a long, zigzag tour through the domains of Peneda-Gerês and Bouro, inside and outside our only National Park. In this one of the most worshiped areas in the north of Portugal.
Conflicted Way
UNESCO World Heritage
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Characters
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Sesimbra, Vila, Portugal, castle
Beaches
Sesimbra, Portugal

A Village Touched by Midas

It's not just Praia da California and Praia do Ouro that close it to the south. Sheltered from the furies of the West Atlantic, gifted with other immaculate coves and endowed with centuries-old fortifications, Sesimbra is today a precious fishing and bathing haven.
Miyajima Island, Shinto and Buddhism, Japan, Gateway to a Holy Island
Religion
Miyajima, Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism with the Tide

Visitors to the Tori of Itsukushima admire one of the three most revered scenery in Japan. On the island of Miyajima, Japanese religiosity blends with Nature and is renewed with the flow of the Seto Inland Sea.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
A kind of portal
Society
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Wildlife
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
PT EN ES FR DE IT