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La Biblioteca’s Hacienda Tour Takes Visitors on a Trip to México’s Past

By Karla Ortiz

The Biblioteca’s Hacienda Tour is one of the oldest and most distinguished activities of the library, a charitable activity that collects funds for the library so that it can award scholarships each year to young Mexicans. It is one of the library’s most beloved and interesting activities.

The tour draws hundreds of locals and tourists curious about Mexican history who upon completing each route are undoubtedly left with a desire to continue learning and visiting the region’s preserved haciendas, which have seen both wars and festivals throughout history.

The Hacienda Tour consists of a visit to the churches and haciendas of whichever municipality or community the tour visits that day. But Attorney Santiago González, who is a lover of the history of México and who has specialized in the history of various haciendas found in the central part of the country, has made it his mission to explain every detail of a tour site’s history.

One of the most impressive haciendas on the Library’s tours is the Hacienda de la Sauceda, located in the community of San Luis de la Paz. The first stop on this route is in the town center to visit some of its important chapels. Here one can see the importance of this town in the 1800s, where the Chichimecas would pass through and some battles took place. It’s located along the Camino Real a Tierra Adentro, a 3,200-kilometer route famous for its valuable deposits of silver and other minerals, the second longest of such roads in the world. It once spanned from México City to what is now US territory—in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Fortunately, after the conquest of the city of Teotihuacan, the conquistadors began to look for gold, advancing northward toward México City, following pre-Hispanic routes which later would become the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro,” González said. “Jilotope’s frontier began at what we know as the Gran Chichimeca. Nomadic groups traveled around these lands and the nearest frontier between the conquistadors and the Chichimecas, which is now the population of San Luis de la Paz,” said González.

“Between 1500 and 1600, there appears a Franciscan of the order of Michoacán, previously called Villadolid,” he continued. “Gonzalo de Tapia, a Jesuit missionary and founder of the first permanent mission of Jesuits in New Spain, begins to convert the indigenous people to Catholicism. Since he was a very intelligent man, he spoke many dialects and gained the confidence of the Chichimecas. So in one of the biggest battles of the north frontier of this municipality the great battle of San Luis de la Paz began.”

Later, says González, de Tapia began to teach the indigenous people how to cultivate the earth as well as play music and do craftwork like wood carving, knitting with wool, and working with animal skins. It is here that Hacienda La Sauceda began, where a whole gamut of elements that beautified this property came together.

The chapel inside has been said to be so miraculous that during a Black Plague epidemic in the 1800s, the only ones who did not die were the ones who venerated St Joseph here.

“It is one of the most ancient chapels,” explained González.

This chapel is so well preserved that it still has the furniture and beds that were used in the times when the hacienda was functional. Its grand size makes it seem like a small town. Inside one can see ancient artifacts like antique irons, some which were heated over an open fire and others which were placed over burning coals. To come inside the hacienda is like traveling back in time. And with the benefit of Santiago’s lectures, you will not miss a single detail.

Don’t miss the next Hacienda Tour, and live the experience of old México.




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