Real de Catorce

June, 2003

It is hard to go back to Real and not take the same pictures over again. What follows is a brief overview of the town and the surroundings.

This is the Iglesia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, the smaller church northwest of town. Built in the 1780s, it is older than the Catedral de la Purisima Concepcion. From the outside it presents a stark and lonely appearance.

The inside however, is quite colorful.


This is the interior of  La Parroquia de la Purísima Concepción. Though nominally dedicated to Saint Mary, it houses an altar to St. Francis of Assisi. People come from all over to visit this altar. And on October 4th, the feast day for St. Francis thousands of pilgrims flock to this small mountain town to pay their respects. Even on a quiet weekend you will see penitents on their knees shuffling towards the image of St. Francis. Even though these worshipers pay no attention to anyone else, I find that at times like this that being a gringo with a camera is rather uncomfortable.

Behind the altar is this room. The walls are filled with retablos. These retablos all consist of brief thank you notes to St. Francis, illustrated with a scene of his intercession. Some are quite elaborate, others quite crude, but they all are fascinating. This is the first trip that I have had the nerve to bring in the camera and tripod.

Indoor soccer played outside. On pretty much any evening of the week this is the scene to be at. By beating on the walls of the court, the spectators raise quite a spectacular ruckus whenever a goal is scored.

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