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Founded as Santa Clara de los Cobres by the Augustinian missionary friar Francisco de Villafuerte in the year of 1553, its name changed in 1858 to Santa Clara de Portugal; then, in 1932, he was named Salvador Escalante, in honor of whom, on May 10, 1911, he led the uprising in arms in favor of the revolutionary movement of Francisco I. Madero. Finally, on January 27, 1981, the town recovered the name with which we now know it: Santa Clara del Cobre.
The prestigious coppersmith of the place goes back to prehispanic times. Contrary to what is usually supposed, it was not the Spanish missionaries who introduced the techniques to work the metal. Before the Europeans arrived in the region, the Purépechas already molded copper. The thousand-year-old technique, transmitted by generations, consists of hammering the red-hot metal on an anvil to achieve the desired shapes.
However, it was with the arrival of Bishop Vasco de Quiroga that the organization and progress of craft activities and crafts flourished in the region, perfecting the technique and introducing new forms of European production.
Year after year, in the first half of August, the Copper National Fair is celebrated, where artisans exhibit their best pieces in the village competition. Pots, jars, sculptures, huge pots to prepare traditional carnitas, bath tubs and even the kiosk in the main square, are some of the many objects in which the artisans transform with great mastery the copper of the place and give the town world fame .
In the National Copper Museum you can admire, in addition to an extraordinary collection of pieces, a group of artisans who recreate, along with the forge and the anvil, the ancestral procedures with which they elaborate their works.
Santa Clara also occupies a distinctive place in the imaginary of Mexican literature, since it was among its colonial streets that the writer from Michoacán, José Rubén Romero, placed the adventures of a magical and quixotic character: Pito Pérez.
Here, among its cobbled streets, you can enjoy the colonial architecture of its houses and public buildings, and its atmosphere, as if dissected in time; the daily life of a people that has known how to maintain its most precious cultural legacies.
What to Visit?
- Main Square This provincial square features beautiful forged iron benches, and it is the perfect spot to initiate your tour around this Magic Town.
- Temple of Our Lady of Sanctuary Despites its name, this temple is actually dedicated to Saint Clare of Assisi.
- Copper National Museum Here you can appreciate the works that have won awards in the local National Contest of Hammered Copper.
- Huatapera Chapel In Purepecha language huatapera means “hospital,” and each of these colonial buildings had to have a chapel aside. This the oldest one of this Magic Town.
What to do?
- Copper National Fair It takes place in the first half of August. There are traditional dances, music, parades, amusement rides, and also a National Contest of Hammered Copper, where the artisans display their works to get a winner.
- Corundas A kind of tamal with triangular form made of corn dough and wrapped up with corn leaves. They are served with spicy sauce and cream on top of them.
- Uchepos Another kind of tamal, but this one is sweet and very soft since it is made with baby corns.
- Tarasca Soup Fried pieces of tortilla in a delicious broth of beans and tomatoes. It is served with cheese, sour cream and chili on top of the soup.
- Barbacoa Roasted beef or lamb meat cooked slowly on its own juice, and which is served apart as a broth or consommé.
What to Know?
- In 1538, the conquistadors took control of this area, but the copper tradition began much earlier.
- Santa Clara del Cobre is the name of the County Seat, whereas the municipality is officially named “Salvador Escalante”.
- This name stands after the local celebrity, Salvador Escalante, who was the first one to take the arms on November 20th, 1910, as Francisco I. Madero had planned in its San Luis Plan.
- Copper goods and handicrafts
- Carved wood
- Embroideries and handmade fabrics
- Santa Clara del Cobre
- Angela Govela
- Raul Björk
- Locución en español
- Adriana Argüelles Reyes
- Jaime Omar García
- Locucion en inglés
- Barbara Fitters
- Matt Hickory
- James Stevenson
Tour through Santa Clara del Cobre with our photographsGallery
Visit a copppersmith workshop with this photospotPhoto 360
All you must know about Santa Clara here, in our audio guideAudiospot
More About Michoacán
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