Mining Sanctuary

Tlalpujahua is a town extracted from the mines. The gold and silver of these mountains were the reasons why their houses, churches and streets were erected.

With Nahuatl origin: Tlalli means "land" and Poxohuac, "sponge". Perhaps it was the abundant quarry in this area that made the Nahuas compare their landscape with that of the sponge.

It had barely been 6 years since the Spaniards arrived in Michoacan lands when they rediscovered the mines that indigenous people had previously exploited in the area. Immediately the Emperor of Spain, Charles V, created assignements for European miners to take advantage of the area.

It was at that time, around 1593, that the administrator of the mines decided to draw a city and begin with the construction of buildings. Among them, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Carmen, temple of which the tlalpujahuenses say there is no more between Mexico and Morelia one more beautiful.

Mining flourished until the time of Independence, where a son of Tlalpujahua, Ignacio López Rayón, played a very important role. He was secretary of the priest Miguel Hidalgo, and on his death, he continued tireless with his struggle. He became general in chief of the insurgent army, and became one of the political leaders of the movement. Today, the home of his family is the museum where the emblematic passages of the life of the place are exhibited.

Campo del Gallo was the name of the area where the Rayón brothers established, in the middle of the forest that surrounds the town, a fortress for the construction of weapons that would serve the independence cause. At present, this place of camping and ecological tourism has been given the name of: Rayón National Park.

Mining declined with the armed struggle, but at the end of the century, a new bonanza came when a French engineer named Francisco J. Fournier discovered the exuberant Mina Dos Estrellas, which from 1908 to 1913 was one of the most productive in the world and the most modern in America to use new technologies such as electricity and dynamite.

But at dawn on May 27, 1937, the mine took all the gold it had given them when a mass of rubble overflowed and destroyed a third of the town, killing more than 300 people.

¿Qué Visitar?

What to Visit?

  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Built in the eighteenth century with monumental dimensions, this church holds both the altarpiece and the image from the previous temple that miraculously survived in 1937, when a third part of this town was buried by a mudslide.
  • Lopez Rayon Siblings Museum It is located in the ancient house where these heroes of the Independence were born in the eighteenth century.
  • Bell Tower of the Carmel Along with the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, this bell tower were the only survivors of this temple during the mudslide that buried this neighborhood in May of 1937.
  • Las Dos Estrellas Mine In the late 1800s, this mine was the richest one in the world, and now you can visit its tunnels and ancient workshops, and also, you can learn the mining History of this Magic Town in the Museum of the site.
¿Qué hacer?

What to do?

  • Festivities of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Join the people of Tlalpujahua on July 16, when there are mass peregrinations, masses, public rosaries and all the town sing serenades to their patroness.
  • Christmas Ball Fair This Fair takes place from October to December to exhibit the beautiful Christmas balls that these skillful artisans produce since decades ago. There are exhibitions of this product and also of Christmas trees and all kind of ornaments.
Comida Típica

Typical Food

  • Beef barbacoa Roasted beef served with its juice or broth, which is called "consome."
  • Corundas A kind of tamal with triangular form made of corn dough and wrapped up with corn leaves.
  • Uchepos Another kind of tamal, but this one is sweet and very soft since it is made with baby corns.
  • Enchiladas placeras This delicious dish consists of tortillas fried in hot sauce and served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese and a piece of fried chicken.
  • Liquors of fruits
  • Sweetened fruits
¿Qué Saber?

What to Know?

  • The name of Tlalpujahua is formed by two Aztec words –Tlalli and Poxohuac, which together mean "In the spongy or fluffy soil."
  • The friar Vasco de Quiroga was the one who negotiated with the Viceroyalty of New Spain that this village should belong to the Bishopric of Michoacan.
  • In 1937, a mudslide buried a third part of the town, and this tragedy initiated a recession period for this community.

Popular Craft

  • Christmas balls of blown glass
  • Feather works
  • Pottery
  • Carved wood
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