Templo de la Compañía

It is said that the miners worked day and night to complete the building. The church of the Company of Jesus was one of the largest constructions by the Jesuit order in New Spain. The Jesuits first sited a hospice here, in 1732, while building on the church began in 1746 and was completed in 1765.

The project was overseen by the Bethlehemite friar José de la Cruz. The design is centered on a single tower which the master of works Felipe de Ureña subsequently decorated with its present facade in the ornate Churrigueresque style consisting of three doors and a series of niches for Jesuit saints. A large part of the building’s atrium, which served as a cemetery, was lost in the nineteenth century.

Its interior is divided into three naves. Like in many of the churches in the Bajío region, over time, its rich baroque altarpieces were replaced with neoclassical altars. One of the treasures the church has maintained is its magnificent collection of eighteenth century paintings consisting of works by artists such as Miguel Cabrera. The original cupola collapsed in 1808 and, in order for the church to continue in operation, it was decided to erect walls to divide off the sections with the most serious damage.

However, with the expulsion of the Jesuits from all Spanish territories in 1767 – a mere two years after the completion of the church – the Jesuit college and the guild schools were closed. The mineworkers rose in protest, but were harshly put down by the Spanish authorities and the subsequent punishment weighed heavily on the town for many years to come. These events are seen as one of the economic reasons behind rising in favor of the independence in 1810.