San Luis Potosí on the Mercury and Silver Route of the Intercontinental Camino Real
Secretary of Culture; Dirección de Patrimonio Mundial-INAH
San Luis Potosí
Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party.
The significance of the role played by San Luis Potosí on the Intercontinental Mercury and Silver Route, on which its outstanding universal value is based, was considered in defining the specific type of site proposed for the World Heritage List. For this reason the proposed site must be analysed as a fundamental component of a cultural itinerary.
The Camino Real (royal road) embraces the entire geographical network which united three continents during all of the Middle Ages. Europe, America and part of southeast Asia were very closely linked, comprising a structure which linked ports and cities, towns and travel routes for the purpose of guaranteeing the stability of the economic model based on trade monopoly and other cultural values of a more spiritual vein under the Spanish Monarchy. The same route regulating the flow of commodities and products also sparked human, cultural and religious exchanges giving rise to the concept of the "New World". Its true geographical dimension is expressed in terms of the radius of its scope affecting three continents, several archipelagos, two oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, historic roads and paths with their respective sections and scales.
Historically speaking, the Mercury and Silver Route included the extraction sites and destination points of that material and the roads and procedures established for its sea-land transport, as well as the methods discovered and employed for the optimisation of its use in the amalgamation of precious metals in America, the resulting distribution routes and its impact on the world economy at the time, together with other social and cultural implications.
The historical urban-mining set of San Luis Potosí as significant element in the mercury and silver route of intercontinental Camino Real. Present a many buildings from different periods ranging from 16th to 20th century. In the core zone are the administrative, religious and trade buildings and also long squares and installations from differents periods.
San Luis Potosí is surrounded by five indian quarter and the landscape is deserted. The principal mine, genesis of this city is Cerro de San Pedro, located around 24 km.
The area proposed for inscription is inclusive of the following sites:
1. The Casa Reales (the principal mayor house and administrative house) and the Governor palace.
2. The Real Cuja (18th century) and the administrative and domestic buildings of historical and typo1ogical value.
3. Identifiable mercury and silver royal road from the Real Caja in San Luis Potosí city to Mexico city into the proposed core zone.
4. The Cathedral (1718); the San Francisco church and remains of the franciscan monastery (17th c.); the San Agustín church and remains of the agustinian monastery (17th c.); the Compañía jesuit college (17th c.); the Beaterio (18th c.); the San Juan de Dios church (18th c.) and the Carmen church and remains of the monastery (18th c.).
5. The historical urban-mining set of San Luis Potosí, contains six squares: the Plaza de Armas; Plaza de los Fundadores; Plaza de San Juan de Dios; Plaza de San Francisco; Plaza de Aranzazu and Plaza del Carmen.
6. Near the Plaza de Armas are some trade buildings (19th and 20th centuries) by eclectic style.
San Luis Potosí is considered one of the most important cities in New Spain, for the population, dynamic trade development, industry, comunications and cultural influences from the United States and Europe was the pincipal reason for to continued economic and architectural development across the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Satements of authenticity and/or integrity
The historical urban-mining set of San Luis Potosí is characterised by a superposition styles which commenced with guachichil native group placed in the Gran Tunal (before 1592). Different historical periods during which technological and achitectural stylistic change during viceroyal and Independent México. Development cities and towns were very important to conquer the inhospitable north and they mining companies, principally, consolidated the pacification of this area.
Monks, army and people built an extraordinary project to conquer in this area and continue the Silver Route from San Luis Potosí to north of the viceroyal of Nueva España. The mining district of San Luis was one of the most important for the Spanish crown across three centuries after the Independence war, the Major district of Potosí built an important bridge of development in the north land.
Integrity is generally outstanding in the urban area, except in some streets and buildings. Even in this cases the integrity of this layout and the homogeneity of its morphology, has been conserved and allows one to gain insight into the city history.
Comparison with other similar properties
The Intercontinental Camino Real can be compared with other cultural itineraries but is differentiated in terms of its complex and wide-ranging historical functionality and geographical extension and for comprising the fundamental support system for relations between Europe and a significant portion of America. The Intercontinental Camino Real had an enormous socio-economic impact and sparked the development of cultural models on both shores of the Atlantic.
We noticed that after the consolidation of the mainly Spanish and Portuguese colonization, America based its development mainly on the formation processes of the urban settlements network produced intensively in the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries, with very limited human resources and very ambitious economic projects in a vast geographic environment.
This is how the San Luis Potosí shows its greatness through the architecture of its buildings, and the one of the city; and the strength of the institutions of the XVIII, XIX and XX century becomes evident through the permanence and character of each wall that shelters it.