Santa Clara De Cobre is a town of 17,000 people (2020) near Lake Pátzcuaro in the state of Michoacan. Its principal business is coppersmithing, and there is evidence all over the colonial center of the town. It has been named a Pueblo Mágico.
The town is often marked as "Villa Escalante" or "Salvador Escalante" on maps.
The town is part of the Pátzcuaro region of Michoacán, and ethnically dominated by the Purépecha people. These people have been working with copper since the pre-Hispanic era, and led to this town's dominance in copper crafts over the colonial period (1519–1821) until well into the 19th century.
The town has mostly conserved its colonial look, with houses and other buildings mostly painted white and roofed in red tiles. Older buildings have thick adobe walls. Many of the houses here have decorations such as bells, flowerpots, doorknockers, etc. made of copper.
Most of the town's population, 82%, is employed in the making of copper items. There are 250 registered workshops in and around the town, which process about 450 tons of copper each year. Many of the copper items made are of a utilitarian nature – cooking utensils, various types of containers, pots, pans, plates, shot glasses, clocks, jewelry, vases, beds, tables, chairs, light switches, counters, sinks, even bathtubs, and much, much more, all in copper. However, since the 1970s copper jewelry, and many other non-essential items has also been made here. The workshops here are family-owned with children learning the trade from their parents. There is also a cooperative school-workshop to teach coppersmithing, named Vasco de Quiroga.
Bus from Pátzcuaro.
it is 18 km from Pátzcuaro, and 79 km from the state capital, Morelia.
The roads are safe. In the rainy season pothole can pose a serious hazard to unaware drivers. Drive carefully as the roads have burros, dogs, cows, and horses.
Everything is within walking distance.
The center of town is made of two plazas. One contains a kiosk with a copper roof, as well as benches and garbage cans painted to look like copper. Facing this plaza are many shops selling copper wares. Next to it is a plain plaza onto which face the town's two main churches, the Parish of Santa Clara and the Chapel del Hospital. Just off the kiosk plaza is the Museo del Cobre (Copper Museum). The museum holds a collection of hand-hammered copper items from the pre-Hispanic period to the winners of the town's annual copper festival each year to the present, as well as national and international competitions. One section contains workshops in which classes are given and it is also home to the Unión de Artesanos (Artisans’ Union) which accredits smiths and products in order to conserve and further develop the craft.
Copper plates, copper everything.