Socavón La Esperanza, Calle Dovalí Jaime S/N, Col. Centro, CP 98000, Zacatecas.
In the city of Zacatecas, inside the Cerro del Grillo.
All year daily 10-18.
Club: All year Thu, Fri 16-22:30, Sat 21-2.
Adults MXN 150, Children (0-11) MXN 80, Students MXN 12, Seniors MXN 80.
|Classification:||Silver Mine, Gold Mine. Also copper, zinc, iron and lead.|
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System Coloured Light|
|Dimension:||L=3,000 m, VR=340 m.|
|Guided tours:||Ltrain=540 m, Lwalk=350 m.|
|Address:||Mina El Edén, Calle Dovalí Jaime S/N, Col. Centro, CP 98000, Zacatecas, Tel: +52-492-922-3002. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1546||discovery of a rich silver lode and foundation of the city Zacatecas.|
|1586||"El Edén" mine opened.|
|01-JAN-1975||opened to the public.|
|2004||basic renovation and remodeling of the show mine.|
The El Edén Mine is probably the most important silver and gold mine in the world. Since its opening in 1586, it has dominated the world market for three hundred years. The polymetallic deposit produced huge amounts of silver and gold, but also zinc, copper, iron, and lead. It flooded the European market and is responsible for the closure of numerous mines in Europe and the loss of many jobs. The mine followed the main lode right through the hill, crossing it completely. It was worked on seven levels, but today only the upper levels are still accessible. Levels five to seven are flooded, the tour uses level four where three more levels can be seen above.
The tour starts with a ride on a fake miner's train through its 540 m long tunnel Socavon La Esperanza (Hope Gallery). It's actually a sort of diesel tractor with wagons which have rubber tyres, and there are no railroad tracks. The tractor is designed like a cartoon steam locomotive, the wagons resemble carts which are used in mines to transport miners. Concerning the general conditions in the mines we guess there never was a mine train, miners reached their working place by walking.
Actually this is only one option, in a way the standard option. There are two entrances, and tours start from both entrances, so you either enter by train and leave by elevator, or you enter by elevator and leave by train. Using the elevator back to the surface on Cerro del Grillo (Hill of the Cricket), you will be only 200 m from the cable car station. The cable car will take you up the Cero de la Bufa (2,667 m asl) with its museum, shops, and a great view of the city. The trip can also be taken in the opposite direction, down with the elevator, through the mine and a fast ride out on the train. However, both trips are one way trips and if you have a car, you should be prepared to return to it on the surface by foot or public transport.
It actually makes no difference, so we will describe the most popular direction of the tour. Starting at Calle Antonio Dovali Jaime in the center of Zacatecas, visitors are equipped with hair nets and helmets. We have no idea why the hair nets, probably they think its less icky, but we think its just more complicated. Then the mine is entered on the fake train. When getting off the train, there is a sort of underground plaza. A little cavern with a mineral museum to the left, a bar in front and the start of the tour to the right. First the visitors have about 20 minutes to see the underground museum, which houses spectacular minerals from all over the world. A special section is dedicated to radioactive minerals, mainly uranium minerals, which glow in spectacular colours under UV light. They dubbed a green glowing uranium mineral kryptonite.
The tour is said to be focussed on the harsh living and working conditions of the miners and the techniques of mining. Actually enslaved indigenous people worked under horrific conditions, died young from accidents, tuberculosis and silicosis. The miners' life expectancy was between 30 and 40 years, but only in the 20th century, in the early years the slaves survived only a few years underground. The mine was accessed with a system of ropes, the miners carried a load of 30 to 40 kg of ores on their backs out of the mine. The underground walk leads through mining galleries with tools and machines, and mannequins showing how miners operated the machinery. Unfortunately, the exhibition is more like an art exhibition, with sculptures, strange art and design objects, and coloured light. It is the result of a complete remodeling in 2004 by Master Alfonso López Monreal, creating "a magical atmosphere full of light, sound and sensations, to the mining past that forged the destiny of a town." It seems they want to avoid overwhelming the visitors with the depressing truth by telling the heroic story of the (non-indigenous) miners instead. It's quite spectacular and as fake as the train. Its quite interesting that the Atlas Obscura page only describes the underground mineral museum, which is actually quite spectacular, ignoring the show mine completely.
A special institution is the underground nightclub La Mina Club which can be visited without a mine tour. They say it was the only nightclub in an underground mine of the world. It is located 320 m below the ground, is reached with a 540 m long mine train ride, and has state-of-the-art sound and light technology. The club is also listed as Discoteque El Malacate on older webpages, but the name was changed around 2016. The well-known location was once open every night, but currently it is open only on Thursday and Friday as a bar and on Saturday as a disco and dance club. They also arrange conventions, congresses, private parties, and special groups.
The mine is located in the centre of Zacatecas. The name Zacatecas originates from the Nahuatl language and describes a place where grass is abundant. The world zacatl means grass and tecatl means place of. The state is rich in all kinds of natural resources. The city has numerous spectacular historic buildings, which are the result of the wealth which was produced by the mine.