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Discover El Tiradito


The popular local shrine in Old Barrio is made up of a decrepit brick construction kitted out with massive metal racks that hold desert plants and candles. You’ll find stunning, glass-enclosed candles which are lit and showcasing the Roman Catholic Church’s saints. Paper is available for writing messages and prayers, which you tuck into wall cracks or otherwise left near the shrine.

Visitors leave memorial objects as well as religious objects. A number of locals regularly visit El Tiradito, including creatives like writers and artists who consider the shrine a place of peace, meditation and inspiration. It remains the only Catholic shrine in the country dedicated to a sinner, who is buried in unhallowed ground. Rumor has it that the so-called sinner was fighting for the woman he loved, and some visitors leave gifts hoping to free the man from purgatory.

Visiting the Shrine

Go to 420 South Main Avenue, a location in a quiet neighborhood that many natives consider the “real soul of the city.” While a lot of the original Spanish Colonial architecture has been removed, the shrine dates to the 1870s when Juan Oliveras was caught up in his romantic scandal.

Oliveras was just 18 when he married the daughter of a sheep rancher—however, when he began an affair with his mother-in-law, he became a local legend. Today, the El Tiradito, or shrine of Juan, has succeeded in stopping a freeway planned by the government and provides ongoing controversy and drama for visitors.


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