The church of San José y la Purísima Concepción is more colloquially known as La Iglesia de Arriba, or the “Church up Top”.
Although these days, Marfil is a suburb of Guanajuato, originally it was the site of the Real de Santiago de Marfíl, one of the four fortresses built to protect gold and silver deposits from raids by local Chichimeca warriors.
Construction was completed on December 2, 1757 and the building was dubbed “The Hospital”. It’s said that its construction was made possible by a businessman from Silao who, on his frequent visits to Guanajuato, used to pray in a hermitage on the same site, and, in thanks for the fortune he accumulated from having his prayers answered, he had the church built. Sadly, he died before he was able to build the monastery that he had also promised.
This was only the forerunner of the current building located on the hilltop so that its figure towered over the surrounding village of Marfil.
Due to its lofty position, the church was safe from the floods that reduced the city to ruins on several occasions and was officially declared the parish church following the deluge of 1905.
The entrance to the church is in the late baroque style. Around the back is a graveyard that continues to function to this day.