Magdalena de Kino Travel Guide

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PLAZA MONUMENTAL (magdalena de kino)

PLAZA MONUMENTAL (magdalena de kino)


A prosperous small city of some 40,000 inhabitants situated 80 km. (50 miles) south of Nogales and the Arizona border, Magdalena de Kino is best known abroad as the resting place of the Italian missionary and explorer Padre Eusebio Kino. The priest from near Trento founded numerous missions in the Pimería Alta of what is now northern Sonora and Southern Arizona in the late 1600s and early 1700s, including the well preserved temple at San Ignacio, a few miles east of Magdalena. In more recent history, the city is known in Mexico as the home town of Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta, a highly respected civic leader and politician who was assassinated 23 March 1994 during a stop on his presidential campaign in Lomas Taurinas, a poor neighborhood of Tijuana.

Although most tourists rush by on national route 15, the town is worth a stop. Padre Kino's remains are displayed in a crypt built where they were found in 1966, in what is now the park-like Plaza Monumental, reconstructed at great expense after the discovery. Across the plaza is the graceful Temple of Santa María de Magdalena, where the image of San Francisco Javier is venerated. Numerous small shops dedicated mostly to religious mementos surround the plaza. This oasis of calm in the bustling city comes to life each year in late September and early October as thousands of Mexican pilgrims and members of the Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes near Tucson gather during the religious festival dedicated to San Francisco Javier, and again in May in the festival honoring Padre Kino. Not far from Plaza Monumental is the architecturally interesting Palacio Municipal, at one time the seasonal seat of Sonora state government as political leaders escaped the torrid summers of Hermosillo.

Visitors will find several comfortable motels in and around Magdalena, and a wide variety of restaurants. Among the latter, El Toro merits special mention as for its careful preparation of beef, Sonora's specialty. The little restaurant by the odd name of Chango'S in the commercial plaza is especially good for lunch.
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