The Mine of El Eden: The Natural Richness of Zacatecas

Verónica Santamaría

Mina El Eden

The mining and colonial city of Zacatecas was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993, primarily because of its beautiful historic city center. It is an exceptional place to visit because of its extraordinary characteristics and it has been voted as one of the most interesting cities in the world. It is a 'must see' for those who are interested in the history of the mining industry in Zacatecas and the best way to do this is by visiting the famous "Mina El Eden", located 10 minutes from the historic center. Mining ended at ''El Eden'' in 1960 and nowadays it is the most important tourist attraction in the state, where you can take a step back into the grandiose mining past of Zacatecas.

El Malacate

Mina El Eden stands out not only because of its grandeur but also because it offers an educational 'cultural and recreational' area. The mine was reopened in 1975 as a tourist attraction, after being remodeled with hanging rope bridges, stairs, a funicular train, special lighting, a section where you can see a mining demonstration, as well as a museum where a beautiful collection of rocks and minerals from the region are displayed. The entertaining stories and legends told by the expert guides are not to be missed, along with the innovative El Malacate Discotheque, which is located in a vault that was once used to grind the minerals and is now a state of the art nightclub. Access to the discotheque is via a small train through La Esperanza Cavern, a tunnel 656 yards long.


When visiting the mine, the adventure begins from the moment the train descends 350 yards into the heart of La Bufa Hill. The tour is approximately a mile long and features galleries, hanging bridges and tunnels, allowing one to imagine the complicated working conditions the miners had to suffer many years ago. The tour is enriched by an interesting and detailed explanation that describes the mining activity here, which was at its peak during the 17th and 18th centuries, with gold and silver being the main products extracted from the mine. It features a total of 7 floors but the tour takes place on the 4th floor, from where you can see how flooded the lower levels of the mine still are.


At the end of the tour you will have the option of coming back to the mine entrance or getting dropped off 100 yards from the funicular railway, from where you can then continue on a breathtaking journey, crossing from El Grillo Mountain to the hillside of La Bufa, some 280 ft. above ground. It is a total distance of 710 yards from point to point, during which time you can admire the sensational panoramic view of the city and the beautiful architecture of Zacatecas, its spectacular colonial buildings and winding streets.


The land of Zacatecas also has many non-metallic mineral deposits for industrial use, such as kaolin, onyx, quarry stone and quartz, but the extraction of silver, lead, gold, copper, zinc and cadmium from the mines of Zacatecas is what brings the most wealth to the region. Mina El Eden is the only mine in the country that allows visitors to enter, providing a look into the indescribable beauty and the great natural richness of this underground world. This mine is a must see when traveling to Zacatecas, it's a fascinating tourist attraction and one of the most interesting mining sites in the world, that still today preserves the mining heritage that makes this wonderful city.