Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Copala Part 1

Ugh! all the machinery is back running full force. Dust and diesel in the air. with the door closed it isn't so bad. 
After much delay I'll finally start writing about Copala. It is just that I took so many pictures it is hard to sort them out. To refresh your memory Copala is #2 on the map. Up the old Highway 40 to Durango. It is a nice drive if you like curvy roads. Of course as the passenger I love them. Bill as driver, maybe not so much. 
A little about the town. In 1565 the Spanish arrived in the area and took it over for Spain. 
A short time after that prospectors discovered silver veins and the town of Copala was founded to serve the mines. It was named after a mythical city of gold that the Spanish had been searching for. In 1616 the town was destroyed by an uprising of the Tepehuan Indians but was soon rebuilt. 
The mines are all closed now but the little town is very picturesque and we like to visit it. One of the old abandoned mines way up on a hill. Almost taken over by the vegetation. 
Durango straight up the Devil's Backbone - nickname for the highway - and Copala a SHARP right turn on to the cobblestone road leading into town.
Oops, almost missed the turn.
It is like driving into a jungle. 
The quite narrow cobblestone road leading into town. 
It is quite a ways before you reach the town. This building used to be a restaurant named Daniels. It was very popular for its banana cream pie for years. But Daniel passed away and the place closed. BUT - Alejandro's Restaurant now has the banana cream pie. More about that later.
Kind of a story of the town. 
Now into the town, continuing up the cobblestone road. The main street through town. Looks like the house on the left is going to put on an addition, they have their bricks on the front porch. The bougainvilleas around town are amazing. 
Interesting old buildings. Fronts finished and painted, sides just the bricks. The road is getting narrower and narrower. 
Looking down one of the side streets. Most of the homes have the tile roofs. Little one room stores pop up along the main street. 
Even the road through town has lots curves in it. the sidewalks are higher than the road to provided safe passage for pedestrians during the rainy season when the streets are awash with water.
Nearing the town plaza and church. The building is now a restaurant owned by a friend of ours. The last time we were here this building was closed. At one time it was a mining museum and/or hotel.
Around the corner and there is the church. This church is the oldest in the state of Sinaloa  built in 1748. It faces the central plaza. It is a great example of an early colonial Mexican Catholic church. In its prime Copala had a population of 10,000. Now there are around 400 residents. I've read anywhere from 200 to 600. It is hard to tell how many buildings are here as the streets run up and down the mountainous terrain. 
Jesus standing up on the upper right, as you look at the church, corner. A bush is now growing out of the building just under him. 
This half of a man sticks out from the front of the church and looks straight down at people going into the church through the main door. Some where I read, or someone told me, that he was there to detect evil trying to enter the church. Your guess is as good as mine. Look at the detailed work on the building.
Looking straight up at him. Do you think he is wearing glasses?
Inside the church look out one of the set of side doors. The doors are quite big. The view is magnificent. 
Some of the statues and religious pieces in the church. 

A look at the main altar. It is very unusual. Kind of has a blueish background with darker blue or black squiggles [for lack of a better word] over it. Lots of gold leaf too. I have never seen this particular style any where else. 
A closer look at parts of the altar. A lot of detailed work on it. 

Every time I look at it I see something new. 
Outside on the walk way around the church. Looking down on some of homes hidden by the vegetation. 
From the back of the church looking towards the front bell tower. 

The top of the bell tower. Notice the piece missing on the right. 
Here it is on the ground. Wonder when it came down.
Looking out in the other direction from the walk around the church.
Carvings made by some of the families in the town. They are made out of a tree bark. The bark has like thorns on it. The thorns are incorporated into the carvings, becoming buildings. The silver pieces are fro the area mines. 
The front of the old mining museum. Now a restaurant. 
This is the showroom of artist Alejandro Rodriguez. We've known him for many years. He was one of the inspirations for Bill to start working with the leather masks and Wind Spirit wall art.
Inside the showroom looking out towards Alejandro's living area. 
We have been going to Copala for many years, you can read about one of our first trips there by clicking here.   Or read about the last time we were there a couple of years ago. Click here. We had lunch in Alejandero's first restaurant then. 
And I'm going to stop now and continue with our day there in the next post. 

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