Once the mine at Marfil was set up and its dimensions established, it was decided to found a church. Originally, the settlement only took in the lower section next to the river on the road to Guanajuato.
The former parish church of Santiago and San José, was once the center of a religious complex that maintained a vigorous religious and social life until well into the nineteenth century.
The church is entered via an atrium surrounded by aged trees and benches. The principal and side entrances that we see now are not the originals, but they are nonetheless extremely interesting.
These were transferred to the central building of the University of Guanajuato and we can now admire them at the entrance to the old school of Industrial Relations. It was thought that, here, they would find a home more worthy of their magnificence once responsibility for the parish was transferred to the Templo de Marfil de Arriba.
The entrances are an architectural reinterpretation of the originals. Restauration of the entire complex was begun in the 1990s in a joint effort involving professional experts and the local populace as members of a civil association.
Extensive work was done, including road resurfacing, renovation of the cupola, reconstruction of the annexes, and replacement of missing pieces on the main and side doors. In addition, the fountain was reconstructed and two new bridges were built to unite the buildings: the Santa Ana bridge and the Hospital bridge.