PARRAL, or “Hidalgo del Parral” as it’s officially known, is fixed in Mexican consciousness as the place where Pancho Villa met his demise under a spectacular hail of hot lead in 1923. The town’s history goes much further than this, however, having been established in the early seventeenth century as a silver-mining centre.
The Museo Francisco Villa, located close to the spot where Villa’s bullet-ridden vehicle came to a halt, commemorates the assassinated hero with displays of Revolution-era effects, antique weapons, a small shrine and plenty of enigmatic old photos. Every year in July, Villa’s death is re-enacted here.
The ramshackle spectre of the Mina La Prieta, the once great silver mine founded in 1629, overlooks Parral from a hill on the edge of town. It closed in 1975 but you can take a short tour of some of the mine workings, 40m down by elevator, left almost as they were over forty years before. At the mine head there’s the Museo Regional de Minería, containing heaps of old mining equipment.