Real de Catorce Tour 26/50: The Cemetery
Real de Catorce (or "Villa Real de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Guadalupe de los Alamos de los Catorce," to give the town its full title) is located 284km from San Luis Potosí off federal Highway 57. At 2,756m, the air is crisp and the Sierra Madre majestic.
Real de Catorce blends in to the rocky crags of the high canyon in which it sleeps.
You approach by road through the 2.3km-long Ogarrio tunnel, which connects the town with the other side of the Sierra. It's only wide enough for one vehicle at a time, with a passing place in the middle; men stationed at each end control the 'traffic'. Some larger buses cannot get through, so you may have to hop on a minibus at the tunnel entrance. As you enter the tunnel, mine-shafts lead off into the mountain on either side; close to one there is a little shrine where a lone candle seems always to be burning.
Once out the other side, and your eyes adjust to the brilliant light, you feel as if you had just taken a journey back in time: the uneven stony streets are lined with derelict, shuttered, roofless mansions and, further out, crumbling foundations and broken stretches of wall. There are no modern shops, no supermarket, and until the recent shooting of the movie 'The Mexican' (with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt), the entire town had only one telephone line.
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© Photo By Carlos Bravo, All rights reserved.