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Camino Real

The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is a 1400km section of the Silver Route stretching from Mexico City to New Mexico in the US.

The route was actively used from the mid-16th to the 19th centuries, mainly for transporting silver extracted from the mines of Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí, and mercury imported from Europe.

The site comprises 59 different locations, including bridges, haciendas, chapels, temples, a hospital and several cities.

Map

Visit September 1997, January 2014

If you've seen any of the major colonial cities, even if you've only been to the center of Mexico-City, you can tick off this one too. It's actually such a pity that the Mexicans have included these large city centers into this Camino Real-site, as it takes away the focus of what this is about. It would have been better to single out certain monuments along the way.

While visiting San Miguel de Allende, I made an effort to go and see the "Former Royal hospital of San Juan de Dios". This building is additional to the area that is already inscribed with the San Miguel de Allende & Atotonilco WHS. San Juan de Dios lies in a quiet and original quarter a bit outside of the city center. I was happy to find an inscription monument for the Camino Real WHS here at the little square where the church and former hospital are located.

Construction of the Royal hospital of San Juan de Dios started in 1753. The "hospital" also consists of a church (of course!) and a cemetery. It was located in a strategic location at an obliged point of pass to the Tierra Adentro. It sustained all ill travelers, no matter what race they were, where they came from or how poor they were. The church nowadays is still a parish church, but the former hospital seems to have been taken over by a elementary school (although the nomination file says it has become a civic hospital).

Community Reviews


Ian Cade - January 2015

Hooray! a visited site for practically no effort. I feel like this is some sort of cosmic repayment for all those empty European fields I've trekked to feigning interest in some rotten wood or a concrete post. My main experience of it is through four already inscribed historic centres, so it didn't really feel like I was seeing anything at all.

However, sat in our hotel in San Miguel de Allende I decided to check the maps of places inscribed that weren't already part of a WHS, and found out one was less than 500m away. Sadly for anyone wanting to read about some new found remote oasis it was the church Els visited above. Our experience was essentially the same, we saw a nice church and a closed school, and well that is about it.

The one place of note we have seen on the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro isn't actually part of the WHS listing, and that was its terminus in Santa Fe in the USA. It was one of the more interesting cities in that country that I have visited. I would recommend a look around if you are visiting Taos pueblo, or if you have an interest in Georgia O'Keefe. There were signs around illustrating its role on the Camino Real and it certainly felt like there was a Mexican influence on the centre.

So that is about all I can say about this site, we got some idea of its previous role and the building of places to aid travellers, but on the whole I feel like I have just been given an extra tick on the list without doing much to earn it.

Site 2: Experience 4


Solivagant - August 2010

Well, with the inscription of this site Mexico has really outdone France both in getting places inscribed twice (5 here are already on the list - Mexico City, Queretaro, San Miguel, Guanajuato and Zacatecas!) and in creating an inscription which encompasses so much of the country. No wonder ICOMOS had some “problems” with the nomination and wanted it referred for, among other matters, re-consideration of “the inclusion of the five already inscribed World Heritage properties”.

That said it contains many of Mexico’s great colonial sites – but I wonder how many of the additional sites are really worthwhile and to what extent they are riding on the coat-tails of the overall concept. We have really only visited the southern part. My photo taken in 2008 is of a sign “advertising” the Camino Real taken in the, already WHS inscribed, city of Zacatecas (about a third of the way up!)

The real driver behind the nomination (and various web sites show that it has been a 10 year project) seems to have come from the state/city of Durango – which happens to be celebrating its bicentenary this year. As Durango proudly proclaims “10 States are included in the project (but) Durango has 16 sites (more than any other)” - The full list is given as “Chihuahua has five, 16 Durango, 5 Zacatecas, 2 Aguascalientes, 3 Jalisco, 3 San Luis Potosi, 4 Guanajuato, 3 Queretaro and two state of Mexico” –yes I know this is only 9 states but I quote accurately – possibly the Centro Federal is the 10th! Durango’s list includes several haciendas, missions, churches towns and mines – as well as the city of Durango itself. So, to make a full assessment of the site, I guess it is necessary to visit its northern parts and make one’s own decision about the ICOMOS request that Mexico “Further justify the selection of sites that make up the nomination to clearly define how they contribute to conveying the outstanding universal value of the property”. Another peculiarity about the inscription is that, although the Camino Real went from Mexico City to Santa Fe, and indeed its northern finishing point is an important part of its historical significance, none of those parts within the US state of New Mexico is included. The loss of these historic parts of their country is of course still a raw subject in Mexico which regards the US annexation of much of its territory after the Mexican-American War of 1846-8 as little short of theft! The US does “look after” its part of the route and proclaimed the “404 mile (646 kilometer) section of the route within the United States …. as a National Historic Trail on October 13, 2000”. But there seems to have been no consideration of joining with Mexico when the US was considering its new T List a couple of years back, and, unusually, ICOMOS didn’t raise the issue in its conclusion, though normally it identifies trans-boundary possibilities at every opportunity!!


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Site Info

Full name: Camino Real de Tierra Adentro

Site History

Locations

The site has 57 locations. Show all

  • 'Architectonic ensemble of the Town of Chalchihuites
  • 'Architectonic ensemble of the Town of Mapim
  • 'Architectonic ensemble of the Town of Nazas
  • 'Bridge La Quemada
  • 'Bridge of Atongo
  • 'Bridge of Atongo
  • 'Bridge of El Fraile
  • 'Bridge of Ojuelos
  • 'Bridge of San Rafael
  • 'Cave of Las Mulas de Molino
  • 'Cemetery in Encarnaci
  • 'Chapel of San Antonio of the Former hacienda of Juana Guerra
  • 'Chapel of San Mateo of the Former hacienda of La Zarca
  • 'Chapel of San Nicol
  • 'Chapel of the former hacienda of Buenavista
  • 'Chapel of the former hacienda of La Inmaculada Concepci
  • 'Chapel of the former hacienda of La Limpia Concepci
  • 'Chapel of the Refugio of the former hacienda of Cuatillos
  • 'Former college of Nuestra Se
  • 'Former college of San Francisco Javier in Tepotzotl
  • 'Former convent of San Francisco in Tepeji del R
  • 'Former hacienda of Chichimequillas
  • 'Former hacienda of Ci
  • 'Former hacienda of Cieneguilla
  • 'Former hacienda of Pabell
  • 'Former hacienda of Pe
  • 'Former hacienda of San Diego de Navacoy
  • 'Former hacienda of the Limpia Concepci
  • 'Former Royal hospital of San Juan de Dios of San Miguel de Allende
  • 'Historic centre of the city of Durango
  • 'Historic centre of the city of Lagos de Moreno and bridge
  • 'Historic centre of the city of San Juan del R
  • 'Historic centre of the city of San Luis Potos
  • 'Historic centre of the city of Zacatecas (World Heritage, 1993)
  • 'Historic ensemble of the city of Aguascalientes
  • 'Historic ensemble of the city of Sombrerete
  • 'Historic ensemble of the Town of Ojuelos
  • 'Mine of Ojuela
  • 'Protective town of San Miguel and Sanctuary of Jes
  • 'Sanctuary of Plateros
  • 'Sierra de
  • 'Sierra de
  • 'Stretch of the Camino Real between Nazas and San Pedro del Gallo
  • 'Stretch of the Camino Real between Ojocaliente and Zacatecas
  • 'Stretch of the Camino Real between the bridge of La Colmena and the Former hacienda of La Ca
  • 'Temple of Nuestra Se
  • 'Temple of Nuestra Se
  • 'Temple of San Miguel of the town of Villa Ocampo
  • 'Temple of San Pantale
  • 'Temple of the town of San Jos
  • 'Temples in the town of Cuencam
  • 'Temples in the town of Nombre de Dios
  • 'Town of Aculco
  • 'Town of Ind
  • 'Town of Pinos
  • 'Town of San Pedro del Gallo
  • 'Town of Valle de Allende

Connections

The site has 26 connections.

Architecture

  • Baroque Former convent of San Francisco in Tepeji del Río - Baroque murals by Juan Correa and Francisco Martinez ; Durango - large Baroque Cathedral (AB ev)
  • Mudejar style Ojuelos - a square with 19th century arcading in Mudejar and Neoclassic style (AB ev)
  • Neoclassical architecture Ojuelos - a square with 19th century arcading in Mudejar and Neoclassic style (AB ev)

Constructions

  • Cemeteries Cemetery in Encarnación de Díaz - has a central patio surrounded by portals with crypts and mausolea decorated with neo-classical sculpture (AB ev)
  • Hospitals Former Royal hospital of San Juan de Dios of San Miguel de Allende (dating from 1770)
  • Notable Bridges Puente de San Rafael
  • Pictographs Cave of Ávalos - rock paintings, and many of the around ninety images depict horsemen and lassoed quadrupeds; Cave of Las Mulas de Molino This cave has an extensive group of paintings with black pigment. (AB ev)

Geography

  • Linear inscriptions It does include 4 "linear" stretches of road -some are less than 1km but there is also "Stretch of Camino Real between Nazas and San Pedro del Gallo This 64km stretch is the longest that has been preserved." (AB) It is described as a "Heritage route" rather than a "Linear Cultural Landscape"

History

  • Camino Real "Camino Real de Tierra Adentro was the Royal Inland Road, also known as the Silver Route. The inscribed property consists of 55 sites and five existing World Heritage sites lying along a 1400 km section of this 2600 km route, that extends north from Mexico City to Texas and New Mexico, United States of America. The route was actively used as a trade route for 300 years, from the mid-16th to the 19th centuries, mainly for transporting silver extracted from the mines of Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí, and mercury imported from Europe."

Human Activity

Religion and Belief

  • Cathedrals San Luis Potosi (Baroque 1670-1740) and Durango started 1675 Baroque
  • Christian Pilgrimage Sites Cuencamé is renowned for the miraculous image of the Cristo y Senor de Mapimi and the annual pilgrimage, processions and dances associated with it. (AB ev)
  • Franciscans Former convent of San Francisco in Tepeji del Río - established in 1560 by the Franciscans (AB ev)

Timeline

  • Built in the 16th century Defined first as far as Zacatecas, the original terminus, between 1540/50 in order to link its silver mines with the coast. A number of the route's inscribed towns were developed to protect this road. It was then extended as far as El Paso by 1598. It was in regular use as the main route into New Mexico for 300 years. See

Trivia

WHS Hotspots

World Heritage Process