Ogarrio Tunnel

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TOURIST INFORMATION

There are two main activities which the tourist can enjoy in Real de Catorce; the first takes place inside the town and the other in the surrounding mountains. Before going any further, it should be noted that this is a very peaceful place and that there is no night-life. It is an ideal place to relax and unwind from the stress of city life. In fact, it could be considered a healing environment. For this reason, walking is without a doubt the most important activity. The landscapes are marvelous and in about an hour you can walk to a hill known as "El Quemado", a sacred Huichol site of enchanting beauty. From here one can enjoy a marvelous view of the mountains and the desert below, which is an abundant reward for the effort. This is only one of the numerous trips which can be enjoyed. Another interesting one is a visit to the "Ghost Town", high above the Ogarrio Tunnel and past the old "Concepción's Mine". Here you will find the ruins of the old mine works, including mills and warehouses, always enjoying the unforgettable and uplifting panoramas. It is also possible to rent horses, saving yourself some of the effort but still enjoying the mountains of Real. Inside the town one can visit historic sites and meander through its cobblestone streets enjoying the magical atmosphere of the place.

These are some of the sites to visit:


© 2008, Mario Cipollini
El Quemado
El Quemado

 

THE PARISH CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

When the city's plan was sketched in 1780, a site was considered for the construction of a large church. At first, a chapel was built, located at the current vestry. The first stone of the Parish was laid on February 14, 1793. In the first five years, construction proceeded rapidly, due to the riches of the mines and the generous contributions from parishioners. In August 1797, the temple was already in use and mass could be celebrated. By 1798 the boom had declined and the work slowly went on. On September 7, 1800, when the first two tranches of the sanctuary were already completed, the dome caved in, and a woman was buried in the rubble. In 1807 the French architect John Crouset, which built the cathedral in Monterrey, took over the work. He abandoned it in 1814 when the church was nearing completion, with only a few details to be finished. The dedication ceremony took place on December 7, 1817, but the large amount of ornaments and wax caused a fire that damaged the building and some altars so the use of the temple became effective until 1820 or 1821... leer más

 

 

 

The Parish Church
The Parish Church

 

MINT HOUSE

The catorceños of yesteryear always had the dream of building their own mint house. A place to mint coins so the precious silver could avoid the long and dangerous trip through unsafe roads, full of bandits on the lookout of the precious metal, to other houses where they would be converted into money, and then have them returned to their place of origin. Carrying out this project would end the constant need of coins in Real, mostly of small coins as were the cuartillas de cobre (Copper quarters), of little value, but necessary to pay the workers at the mines. Long before the existence of the mint house, the catorceños were already coining, sometimes legally, but not always. The first coins appeared in 1808 and served as collaboration for the construction of the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Guadalajara. Wealthy people from Catorce corresponded with generosity and minted the coins in Real to support the cause. The second coin of year of 1811, is now a valuable and rare piece of 8 silver reales, sent to be coined by the insurgent Mariano Jimenez, on the last days of the year 1810, in his passing through the town to raise funds. Copper quarters were legally minted in 1815 by Captain Teodoro Parrodi; it was a local currency with no value outside the Real. The exchange became difficult because it had been produced in excess, as well as the ease with which one could forge it. Copper quarters called "Public Funds" were legally coined in 1822, as currency and as a necessary coin. Pieces of 2,4 and 8 reales were also minted in private houses. The same year when Don Santos de la Maza purchased land in front of the parish church, then called "Plaza del Carbón” (Coal Square), with the purpose of building the mint house, promising to give the building a beautiful facade. The house began its work in January 1865, but had a very brief life, it was active only 14 months, and it was shut down by orders of Emperor Maximilian, who was afraid that it would fall into the hands of Juarez´s forces. In its short life, 1.5 million pesos were minted.

 

 

 

 

Mint House
Mint House

 

EL PALENQUE (COCK FIGHTING RING)

A block from the Plaza Hidalgo to the north. It is an arena for cockfighting built in the style of a Roman amphitheatre. The site provides us with excellent acoustics and is very suggestive, so often there are cultural, musical or political events. The building is not the original, since the first, made of consumable material, was built in 1789. Years later, in 1805 Mr. Ward, ambassador to England, tells that when he was hosted in the town of Venado, route to Catorce, the sound of cocks being trained there to fight in the Christmas Holidays in Catorce did not let him sleep. By 1863, the entrepreneur Diego Gonzalez Lavín, in times of splendor, built a new stone palenque except for the stands that were made of wood. In 1977, the city council ordered some arrangements. The arena was rebuilt and the stands were made of stone.

Reference: Guia de Real de Catorce, INAH

 


El Palenque
El Palenque

 

THE PLAZA HIDALGO

In the town's original plan there were two large public spaces: one in front of the parish, and the Trade Square, currently Plaza Hidalgo. At first, this square followed the inclination of the street and had a fountain in the center. By 1885, there were several urban reforms: drinking water was supplied to the fountain, the Square was leveled to use it as a garden and they placed fifty two benches, some arranged in an efficient and peculiar way: benches and barred areas alternate, forming part of the square´s perimeter. In 1888, forged arches that serve as verandas, were added. In 1928, a kiosk replaced the old fountain. In its surroundings, the main businesses were established. The square operated as Real de Catorce's social and economic center.

Reference: Guia de Real de Catorce, INAH

 

 

The Plaza Hidalgo
The Plaza Hidalgo

 

THE BULLFIGHT RING

The first bullfight ring was built so that bullfights could be enjoyed as part of the celebrations, which lasted from the 13 th to the 20 th of February of 1791, organized to celebrate Charles IV arrival to the throne. The funder of the expensive work was Jorge Parrodi, of Italian origin, who arrived as a young man to New Spain, where he married and became rich with the mining business. He arrived at Real when it was founded and was owner of the mine of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows). Due to the large gap in the site that was chosen for the bullring, a part was debased, and the other was leveled for which a stone wall 43 meters long, 4 meters high and with a width of 1 meter and a half for firmness was built. The bullfight ring was formed like a polygon eight sides figure, leaving the “tablados” on the four larger sides and leaving four doors in the opposite intermediates, , one of them used as a place for keeping the bulls that were to be presented. The Plaza was painted blue and white, and on the side facing south, a large ephemeral facade was placed, constructed and painted in stone cardboard, 16 meters long, six meters wide and 11 meters tall, designed by Nicolas Zapata. It represented the perspective of a colonnade with five large arches on two floors. Symbolic figures like the portraits of the kings and major authorities of Real were to be found. The entrepreuneur Diego Gonzalez Lavín renewed the bullfight ring in 1863, as he was in possession of a contract for organizing bullfights. The original octagonal coliseum was replaced by the current arena.

 

 

 

 

The bullfight ring
The bullfight ring

 

THE CEMETERY

The cemetery is one of the oldest buildings of Real. It consists of two sections, one dedicated to San Francisco and another to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In the first, the Franciscans built a chapel in 1775, when the place was called Los Alamos and the rich veins of ore had not yet been discovered nor did it have many dwellers. In that old part is the old vaulted chapel of El Descanso (the Rest), that maybe belonged to that old chapel. Now it has a neoclassical facade, built perhaps by the same architect who did the himafronte of the parish church, since it has the same stylistic guidelines: classical portico columns, entablature and triangular pediment with a niche at the center. On the wall of the cemetery near the remate (end), you can see the painted strip decoration. The entries, while similar, are different: the one for the old part has an image of Saint Francis, moreover, it is decorated with burial motifs and has dark stone around its entrance arch. This arch undoubtedly comes from a treaty in architecture. It has nine sides and implies a great knowledge on the art of cutting stone. The other facade bears the Virgin de Guadalupe; has white stone, while the other is black. Despite the century that separates the construction of both facades, they harmonize because the second took into account the constructive elements of the first and reinterpreted them with the plastic vocabulary of the last third of the nineteenth century. The two gate bars are made with high quality wrought iron work, similar to what was then done in Zacatecas... leer más

 


The Cemetery
The Cemetery

 

OGARRIO TUNNEL

Paradoxically, just before the last golden era of Catorce ended, the Ogarrio Tunnel was inaugurated, it considerably shortened the distance between the Real and the east side of the mountain where many mine shafts can be found, as Santa Ana, El Refugio, Boqueiro and Ave María. It facilitated the transportation of minerals to the estates of Potrero, Cedral and Matehuala, located in the eastern plains where it was refined. Ogarrio, is the name of the de la Maza family hometown, located near Santander in northern Spain, it was Mr. Irizar, the family's property administrator, who named the tunnel. He and his son Roberto designed and built it; they used the Dolores mineshaft and re routed it towards Real de Catorce In the inside a double tram pulled by mules carrying ore from the vein of St. Augustine and the Catorce passengers was installed. The inauguration was very stylish, There was a homage for don Vicente Irizar, sponsor of all the mining innovations carried out during those fifty years in the St. Augustine and Santa Ana mines, and crowned with the Ogarrio Tunnel. In January of 1982 the current floor and lighting was placed thanks to the state governor Carlos Jonguitud Barrios.

 


© 2008, Livio Bersano
Ogarrio Tunnel
Ogarrio Tunnel

 

 

THE MUSEUM

The Parish Museum is located on Lanzagorta Street, in front of the Parish Church; it was born on the decade of the eighties thanks to the will and effort of one of the most beloved parishioners of Real: father Jose Robledo Landeros. In those days, because of poverty and ignorance, the catorceños were selling antiques, which were part of the history of the place, at any price and without realizing the value they had. Father Robledo put an end to this situation. He told the villagers to sell the antiques to him, with the intention of founding a small museum, which would be one of the main attractions of Real. Although austere, it has an interesting collection of tools used in mines, as well as samples of different minerals. It displays objects of everyday use, musical instruments and bands that Catorce had, remnants of a tramcar of the Ogarrio Tunnel and other curiosities. It also has a good selection of old photographs.

 


Remnants of a tramcar of the Ogarrio Tunnel
Remnants of a tramcar of the Ogarrio Tunnel

 

Peyote
Peyote
Peyote
Peyote
Peyote