Friday, September 25, 2009

Mineral de Pozos - A Ghost town coming back to life....

Mexico has recently seen the Renaissance of many former ghost towns; the most famous being Real de Catorce up in the desert nine hours North of Mexico City. Mineral de Pozos, however, is far closer to home only four hours away from DF, and only forty five minutes from the charming colonial town of San Miguel de Allende....

In its heyday in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the town was an extremely important silver mining town with the silver being transported back to the Colonial rulers in Spain. With the silver gradually becoming more expensive and less economic to mine, Mexican Independence in 1810, and the bitter fighting in this area a century later during the years of the Mexican Revolution, the town entered into a long, slow decline with the population eventually dropping from 80,000 to 400. Buildings fell into disrepair and the whole town had a distinct air of rack and ruin.....

Striking facades stand open and exposed against blue skies, weathered walls and crumbling buildings are at every twist and turn of the empty, cobbled streets...

But today this is only half the story, and is balanced out by some much better preserved architecture...

and some quite charming streets set against the clarity of the desert-like light and bluest of blue skies...

After years in the doldrums of decline and decay, the last decade has seen a gradual return to life, and the pueblo fantasma is now a thriving community with a number of restaurants and cafes, at least 15 art galleries and many more artists' studios, a Real Estate office, businesses, a few Bed and Breakfasts, and the piece de resistance at its centre, the beautiful hotel " Posada de las Minas". Gradually the community is growing again; but this time with artists, photographers, and sculptors (many of whom have relocated from neighbouring San Miguel), and there is even a permanent "gringo" resident community (13 here compared to allegedly 30,000 in San Miguel.)


There are art walks, an annual calendar of festivals and events, activities such as hiking, biking, tours of the abandoned mines and ruins, and horseriding in the vicinity, but development is still at a very early stage, perhaps because as yet there are no direct bus services here.... so a great time to visit!! You can get here either by indirect second class buses from San Miguel or you can negotiate a taxi ride. For more windows on the world click here for My World Tuesday posts, and for more about that gorgeous place to stay in Pozos, check out the next post later this week...

19 comments:

Peter said...

What remains or has been put back in good shape looks just fantastic! A place to visit - or live! Have only visited some very northern parts of Mexico, a long time ago. Must go back!

Wendy said...

Looks like another good find Catherine.

eileeninmd said...

Thank you for the tour, it looks like a lovely place. Is it real hot there?
Thanks for sharing your part of the world.

Sylvia K said...

Well, San Miguel definitely has it's gringo community -- got where it was hard to even find a real Mexican restaurant, but I loved it in spite of the fact that I, too, was one of those "gringos". This is such a great post and I'm so glad to see some of those ghost towns coming back to life. Marvelous photos as always, Catherine!

Thanks for sharing!

Have a great week!

Sylvia

Stine said...

Interesting how some places lose their population then grow again. It's kind of like a slow-moving tide. It's wonderful to hear good news coming out of Mexico!

Catherine said...

Hi peter, wendy, eileen, sylvia and stine - thanks for stopping by and this ghost town is well worth a visit before it gets too full of life - ie swamped with tourists!!

Owen said...

That looks simply incredible... How I would love to go poke around all over Mexico, I'm sure it is covered with fascinating spots like this... Grahame Greene's books left me seriously hungry to go exploring. Just a shame there is so much violence there these days with drug wars and such...

Catherine said...

Hi Owen - yes Mexico is absolutely saturated with places like this - and now that i know the country pretty well, I am really beginning to explore off the beaten track...very rewarding - you really should try it out for yourself!!

Island Rambles Blog said...

Wonderful Colors and nice shot of the ghost town, nice historical posting...would love to see the world there like you do. cheers

Lawstude said...

either way, the place looks like a photographers delight. from the rustic feel of the ruins to the very-much-alive tome of the new ones. thanks for sharing.

magiceye said...

very interesting

koala said...

Wow, that's a fascinating story about a ghost town.

diane said...

It must be great to see a ghost town come to life again. Great photos.

J said...

That reminded me a bit of the backstreets of china - with a bit more sunshine. Hmm, I wonder how much it would cost to relocate to Mexico, sounds like an awesome place to live.

Fly Girl said...

I like the contrast between the old and worn and the new and vibrant. The town sounds very intriguing.

Catherine said...

hi everyone - thanks for all your appreciative comments this week..ghost towns in Mexico are really fascinating places to visit and return to..

A Cuban In London said...

I loved this walk. I am a fan of ruins although in Cuba we have some that unfortunately were never meant to be. Many thanks for the tour.

Greetings from London.

♠ ♠ France said...

Bonjour un blog que je viens juste de découvrir bravo

RetiredinPozos said...

Catherine, we do appreciate your focus on Pozos with the short history, great pictures and the discussion on the new emerging Pozos. We are also thankful that you didn't call Pozos the new San Miguel.
We want to improve on Pozos by inviting people that appreciate the history and beauty of this great place that although not unique in Mexico has such a draw for us that we have built in the mine area.