Of strong pre-Hispanic roots, Patzcuaro
at 2317 metres above sea level, was the last bastion of the native
resistance in this part of Mexico
. Before the advance
of the western invaders, the Purepachas or Tarascos gathered together
at their capital Tzintzuntzan, an imposing City with mixed floors
known as yácatas, buildings that mix rectangular and circular areas
on a same platform.
In the midst of the resistance, the Spaniards sent Cristóbal de Olid to meet Tangaxuán II, the last Purepacha caltzonzin (ruler). The encounter ended with the inexplicable treachery of the indigenous leader, who in sign of surrender, knelt before the invader.
After the ominous submission, the place of the meeting began to be despicably called The Humbler. There are those who believe that the Chapel of the Christ of the Humbler was built on the exact place where the Purepacha caltzonzin had betrayed its people.
After defeating the indigenous resistance, the Spaniards settled in the Tarasca urban centres, levelling them on their desperate search for gold pieces. In 1526, the president of the high court, Nuño de Guzmán, submitted the natives to atrocious tortures and ordered the assassination of Tangaxuán II.
With the arrival of bishop Vasco de Quiroga violence receded in
. On the 26th of July of 1539 it was named
capital of Michoacán, though it would be replaced by Morelia in
1580. Due to this decision cores of civil and ecclesiastical authorities
fled to the flourishing new capital; then the magnificent houses,
temples and plazas that today are part of its colonial charm, were
Decades of splendour that led the bishop to undertake an ambitious project: the construction of the most important Cathedral in America on the remains of the temple of the goddess Cueráppari. He did not make it but the result was a beautiful Basilica, the Cathedral seat in Michoacán until 1950.
The City of Patzcuaro
extends along the banks of
the homonymous Lake. There are nine islands in its dormant waters,
inhabited by fishermen and skilful artisans who keep alive the habits
of their ancestors, the Purepachas or Tarascos. One of the flashiest
traditions is in the use of their butterfly nets, called so for
their resemblance with the colourful lepidopteron.
There are important archaeological zones in the surroundings of
Lake, such as the observatory in Ihuatzio
(15 kilometres northeast of the City), the ceremonial centre in
Tingambato (35 kilometres westbound), and the urban complex of Tzintzuntzan
(at 7 kilometres).
Due to its carved works, jewellery, hand embroidery, and figures
made of corn cane, Patzcuaro
is considered the
Cultural and Handicraft Centre of the State. Another reason to visit
the City is its semi-mild weather, with an annual average temperature
of 16 degrees Celsius, and with precipitations between June and
Now you know, if you want to find peace, share with friendly people, and relive part of Mexico's history, do not fail to visit this little corner in Michoacán, with mountains and forests, and a huge lake with inhabited islands as well.