Durango city, beneath the Cathedral Basilica.
Entrance 1: Calle Lic. Benito Juárez 313.
Entrance 2: Av 20 de Noviembre 302.
All year Tue-Sat 10-21:30, Sun 13-21:30.
Adults MXN 25.
Paseo Túnel Minería Durango, Calle Lic. Benito Juárez 313, Zona Centro, 34000 Durango, Dgo., Tel: +52-618-137-53-61, Fax: +52-,
Museo Túnel de Minería en Durango, 20 de Noviembre y Francisco I Madero, Col. Centro, Dgo., Mexiko
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1552||the Spanish captain Ginés Vázquez de Mercado discovered the iron ores of Cerro de Mercado.|
|08-JUL-1563||the Governor and Captain General of the Government of Nueva Vizcaya, declared the town of Durango founded.|
|1621||existing chapel becomes the cathedral.|
|17th cty||cathedral rebuilt at the height of the city’s mining prosperity.|
|2011||mining museum opened to the public.|
The Paseo Túnel Minería Durango (Durango Mining Tunnel Walk) is actually a show mine located below the Cathedral Basilica of Durango. The Cathedral Basilica of Durango was founded as the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the early colonial period. In 1621 the chapel became the cathedral, but in 1634 in burned down. It was rebuilt a full century later at the height of the city’s mining prosperity.
Ŧhe mining tunnel below the cathedral was once mined for silver. Today it is used as a museum for 400 years of mining in the area. The tunnel has two entrances, one on the Plaza de Armas in front of the Cathedral. It is a glass elevator located half way down Calle Lic. Benito Juárez, beneath the pavilion in the center of the park. The other entrance is a similar glas elevator in front of the arquidiócesis (archdiocese) building in Av 20 de Noviembre. It is located in the middle of a small triangular plaza in front of the building. The tunnel is reached by taking the elevator 10m down.
The 280m long tunnel contains machines, tools and minerals that were donated by mining companies in the region. There are hydraulic hammers, iron tubs, drain pumps, historic lams, and mine carts. The mineral exhibition contains typical local minerals like quartz, blue calcite, and hematite. Maps, historic photographs, technical sheets, and explanatory texts explain the exhibits and the history of local mining. Visitors are equipped with neon green vests and white hard hats to give them the right miner feeling. The mining museum is also named Museo Túnel de Minería en Durango.
One of the legends told in the museum is the story of the little mummy of the vampire boy, found outside a cave in the town of Nombre de Dios. Another tells about an angry bull which shows golden horns, red eyes and fires from its snout. According to legend it prevents the curious from entering a tunnel that would take them to waterfalls of gold and silver. The miners at Mercado hill sometimes saw the Chaneque, a spirit or creature which protects nature. The mummified chaneque which is on display has a great resemblance to wooden sticks bound with masking tape. As the museum assures that all exhibits were found in different parts of the area, it seems to be some kind of miners totem. The miners had many superstitions, one of them was women in the mine would cause its walls to collapse. There is an old sign at the entrance denying women access to the mine. Obviously this does not apply for the museum, there is even a reduced entrance fee for women on Wednesdays.
Another weird exhibit, which is not mine related, is the 30cm long scorpion. According to legend, this scorpion once hid in a cell in the state prison and several prisoners died mysteriously. But finally a prisoner managed to capture the deadly scorpion. This is the origin of the story about the giant scorpions of Durango.
The old mining tunnel is said to have been used as a secret passage. We guess there must be a connection or entrance from the cathedral and a hidden exit. But to find out about this secret you have to visit the tunnel yourself.