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The Underground Chapel of Palmillas, A Hidden Treasure

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The Underground Chapel of Palmillas, A Hidden Treasure


San Luis de la Paz, Gto. Monday, February 20, 2012. Four hundred meters away from the decorated Temple of Palmillas, which we talked about yesterday, there is an underground chapel in the slope of a hill.  Just like a treasure, it is hidden under the earth, and it is not easy to find it.  It was built with that intention, to pass unnoticed, during the Cristero War, in the first half of the 20th century.  It was one more reason more for Palmillas, municipality of San Luis de la Paz, to win in 2007 the Conservation of the Cultural Built Heritage of the State of Guanajuato Award.

The Cristero War occurred from 1926-29, but in some places like in our region lasted until the 1930s. Because of the anti-clerical laws imposed by the federal government, which limited the Catholic religion, thousands of believers took up arms.  Since the rebels were persecuted, they took refuge in places of difficult access to the army, like the Sierra Gorda.  In Palmillas, Cristeros built this underground chapel with the goal of protecting the sacred vessels, and other religious relics.  Furthermore, clandestine Holy Masses were performed there, in those difficult years for the Church.

The underground chapel has a narrow entrance, which was covered with branches to pass unnoticed.  Thus, only the locals and the Cristeros knew that it existed.   It has the form of a Latin cross.  It measures 3 meters long by 1.20 meters wide and more than 2 meters high.  It has an altar and a dome with its lantern built like a hole, which gives lighting and ventilation to the place.  From the outside, it is impossible for people who do not known about this space, to identify the hidden chapel.  It is another unknown touristic attraction of our land.


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