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El Tiradito Shrine, Tucson

3.5
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Landmark
El Tiradito is a shrine and popular local spot located at 420 South Main Avenue in the Old Barrio area of Downtown Tucson, Arizona. The shrine consists of the crumbling remains of a brick building, with a large metal rack for candles and desert plants now occupying the interior. Large, glass-encased candles, frequently depicting saints of the Roman Catholic Church are lit and left burning at the shrine, both on the stand and along the ledges of the building. Small slips of paper containing prayers or messages of thanks are also often pressed into cracks in the walls or left elsewhere at the shrine, as are other memorial objects. In addition to the faithful who leave these religious objects, El Tiradito is frequented and favored by many Tucsonans, including writers, poets, and other members of the town's artistic community.
According to the Phoenix New Times publication, El Tiradito is the only Catholic shrine in the United States dedicated to a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground. It is said that the man buried there died fighting for the love of a woman. Visitors to this area light candles for the man, hoping his soul will be freed from purgatory. Some of the nooks and crannies of El Tiradito even house the notes and letters of the heartbroken, prayers asking for healing of the heart.
Juan Oliveras, a recently married 18 year old at the time, was the son-in-law of a Mexican Sheep Rancher. Juan has been locally considered as a sort of part 'folk hero and part myth' for over 140 years. His death resulted from a very steamy secret love affair with his Mother-In-Law, the wife of a very powerful, wealthy sheep rancher in the area.
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El Tiradito Shrine reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
20 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • I suppose the story behind this shrine is interesting, but it's really no different than any other shine located in Hispanic neighborhoods. If you're religious and do this type of thing then it's...  more »
  • A cool little place tucked away in a neighborhood. The sentiments here are lovely and it has a cool history (there is a plaque that explains). Take a few quiet moments here, and perhaps leave a...  more »
Google
  • Absolutely incredible historical place tucked away between two buildings. It is both peaceful and sad as many folks leave candles, photos, mementos, and notes to their deceased loved ones on the ground and in the walls here. It’s moving to walk in front of the photos and quietly reflect on the lives that are being remembered and celebrated.
  • I love these shrines that grow put of the deep spirituality of regular folk. If you are looking for something to look at, don't go. But if you want to touch a little soul, you may appreciate this site.

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