Real de Catorce | Magical Town
Real de Catorce is one of the nation’s Pueblos Mágicos, Magical Towns, and is located in the state of San Luis Potosí in México. Some of México’s towns are named Pueblos Mágicos after their rich historical and cultural heritage. They’re also big touristic attractions. Though Real de Catorce has remained a site for local pilgrimage for centuries, it is visited by many national and foreign tourists.
The biggest city near Real de Catorce is Matehuala. There’s two choices to get to the Magical Town, the first is the most accessible one, by driving on a long cobblestone road that starts off the town of Cedral 20km northwest of Matehuala, on highway 62. From Cedral the cobblestone road runs most of the time in semi-straight lines with some winding along the way. The cobblestone road ends at Ogarrio tunnel that leads directly into Real de Catorce. For the adventurous one, the second choice is quite a ride, by getting in 4 x 4 vehicles to drive on an unpaved winding road that starts in the town of Estación Catorce. This “drive” takes about 45 minutes.
Real de Catorce – Pueblo Mágico | Photos: J.J. Del Mar
The main festivities of Real de Catorce are in the month of October and if you want to witness the San Francisco de Asís celebration, there are several hotels in town you can stay in. One of them is Hotel El Real, just a couple of blocks from San Francisco de Asís church. Real de Catorce is a good choice for your Srping Break, Easter or Semana Santa, and an escapade from nearby over-populated cities.
Hotel El Real
San Franciso de Asís Church
San Franciso de Asís church is where the main festivity and the celebration with traditional fireworks take place each year at Real de Catorce
San Francisco de Asís | Celebration with fireworks video
The oldest church in Real de Catorce, however, is Guadalupe church located by the town’s cemetery. Inside the church there are paintings dating from the early 1820s. One of them titled, Los Cinco Señores y las Ánimas del Purgatorio [The Five Lords And the Purgatory Souls] by Francisco Borja (1820) is said to have made the Pope uspset, so much so that funding for the church’s maintenance was cut. Today the church is no longer functioning as such, but remains as one of the principal touristic sites in this Magical Town. Important figures from Real de Catorce’s history are buried inside the church and at the adjacent cemetery.
Iglesia de Guadalupe
The municipality of Catorce, where Real de Catorce is located, grew its wealth due to its mines. At its peak, Catorce was the second largest silver producer in the world. The town even housed a mint; turned into hotel and restaurant today. The mines were nearly depleted and later abandoned by the 1900s. Ruins from the earliest mining times are spread out in all of Catorce. The economy of today’s Catorce is almost entirely based on tourism.
Catorce’s ‘Royal’ Mountain Top
Real de Catorce seats at an elevation of 2728m [8950ft] and some of the surrounding mountains are over 3000m high [10, 000ft]. From such an elevation, lower hills and towns are observed at the distance. It is cool even during the summer mornings and evenings.
Text and photos by J.J. Del Mar
Writer’s Look Lead Editor
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