25 August 2009

Real de Catorce III

August 23, 2009

Real de Catorce was very nearly a ghost town at one time earlier in the 20th Century after the silver mines had closed. Very many of the buildings in the city are still in ruins, which makes for fascinating walks about. There is one long east-west street through the middle of town full of the usual souvenir shops, but that stuff is all quite well confined to that area.

When people began to reoccupy Real de Catorce, they would not demolish the old ruins and build something completely new. Rather, they would clean up the site and make use of what good masonry remained from the 1700's or early 1800's by simply adding onto it with additions of concrete or cinder block. That is the sort of thing that makes purist preservationists freak out, but what the hell?

This is a quite beautifully restored building above us, now a hotel.

Right next door to that hotel is another building on which work has only started. (And it appears that the money has already run out.) If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see that the original wrought iron work is still in place in the windows of the top floor.

Hotel San Francisco Toilets and Showers.

The hotel in which I am staying right now, Hotel San Francisco at 150 pesos per night (11.63 Dollars American), is a good example of what I am talking about. I will see if I can show you with pictures.

The outer walls and many of the interior walls are original antique masonry. This place appears to me to have been a home at one time.

As you look down into the original courtyard of the building, you can see the laundry room, bathroom and washstand constructed of concrete and cinder block that were added recently in the corner.

Here is a ceiling of concrete that was poured on forms in between the old walls to make a new room.

Plumbing and other "modern" fixtures are simply affixed to the exterior.

This is the inside of my room so that you can see the spartan results. That is a faux window. If you pull back the curtain, all you see is more masonry.

"Death Fight"

The art work in my room is a cock fighting poster.

One can still find many traces of the older, more elaborate construction. This is the base of what once was a decorative arch at the end of the second floor balcony.

This is typical old decorative, exterior masonry work.

The old masons and stone cutters made some strange choices at times, however. The guys who installed these two stones in this corner of the balcony decided for some reason lost in antiquity not to trim off the ends.

San Francisco at watch above the main courtyard.


Candy Minx said...

What a great set of pictures. Here I thought I posted a lot of pics on my blog. I think I'm in your dust!

I love how the buildings and materials are reclaimed.

It must have been nice to change up your locations a bit huh?

Señor Steve said...

The change of scene for a bit was indeed nice, Candy. I needed to get out of town for a few days.

Thank you for the nod. Do not miss the pictures that are going up here tomorrow morning.