The ruins of
La Hacienda Ciénaga del Carmen
deep in the desert between Torreón and Saltillo, Coahuila
This was the setting for the 1968 movie "The Wild Bunch."

Summer 2002


This Romanesque structure is an aqueduct that once brought water from a lake high up in the mountains to a gaint cistern.  It is hard to imagine the cost and labor required to build this in the 18th century.
The hacienda system was ended by the Mexican Revolution almost 100 years ago.  The great haciendas were seized as part of the land reform of the revolution.  But this hacienda met a different fate.

It was a winery and the great desert plane in front was once covered with vineyards.  (In the background in the picture below) It was all made possible by the lake in the mountains until an earthquake destroyed the lake.   With the water gone, the hacienda failed.  Little remains except the brick, stone, concrete and stuccoed adobe shells.   In a few places the poles that once supported thatched roofs remain and there is some wood in protected places.


Above is a view of the best part of the drive.  Along the side of the road is a tiny concrete aqueduct that brings water to a village in the valley below.

Getting to the hacienda is not easy.  It is only 10 miles from the nearest paved road, but that short distance takes 40 minutes in a pickup with good clearance.  I doubt that a passenger car could make it.  In wet weather, four-wheel drive would be required near the hacienda. There are no guard rails anywhere along the single lane road.
The local folks seemed to rely mostly on burros and horses.  We saw one pickup and four burros on the road.  The road was awful but the traffic was easy.

As we neared the hacienda the road became almost impassable.  Here we stopped to assess the road ahead when a man on a burro road up.  He advised us not to proceed and told us of an alternate route.  We had to back up about 100 yards.

You can watch a video of my second of five trips to the hacienda here.  This video explains why I searched out the hacienda.

April 2010 Update


Big changes are afoot at the hacienda. I guess the owner has been so impressed by the number of people who have visited the ruins that he has decided to restore the hacienda and turn it into a full-blown tourist attraction.


The work is well underway with a new roof on the main building, new floors, plaster walls, and a major cleanup of the outside.

The old chapel also got a major face-lift.

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