The Mineral de Rayas was Guanajuato’s very first mine. It is named after the man who discovered it: the mule driver Juan Rayas, who in 1550 stumbled upon the legendary Mother Lode, whose rich seam brought worldwide fame to Guanajuato. However, it was only in the mid-seventeenth century that, under its third owner, Don José de Sardaneta y Legaspi, that it would achieve truly immense wealth. At over four hundred meters deep, it is one of the deepest mines in the world.
The name of Santa Fe de Guanajuato was known the world over thanks to the Mina de Rayas. It produced such vast amounts of wealth that the King of Spain named its owner Viscount Sardaneta and Marquis of Rayas. As well as silver, the mine yielded gold, copper and precious stones.
With its thick walls and buttresses, the Mineral de Rayas looks a little like a medieval fortress. In the yard at its entrance you can still see the entrance to the shaft and the elevator winch. One of the last improvements to made was its decorative patio and gardens. The area is still home to the ruins of the mine’s church, built on the orders of the first Marquis of Rayas.