Patzcuaro

Pátzcuaro has retained a lot of its colonial and indigenous character.

Patzcuaro’s city is located in the middle of the state of Michoacán, on the so-called “Don Vasco Route.” Don Vasco was the first bishop of Michoacan. He evangelized and defended the indigenous Purepecha people of Patzcuaro, but he also built schools and hospitals there. Pátzcuaro has retained a lot of its colonial and indigenous character.

Patzcuaro is still home to many colorful Purepecha traditions. Watch, for example, the “Danza de Los Viejitos” (Dance of the Old Men). This funny dance is performed by dancers wearing masks of old people along with their typical peasant clothing. The dance started out with aching and hunched over old men, with minimal movements. These movements turn into vigorous dancing combined with trembling and coughing and falling over by the “old men.” Initially, this dance was a parody of the old Spanish men (descendants of the Conquistadors).

This “Magical Town” is probably one of Mexico’s most charming towns and will surely surprise many different ways. It’s a place full of history, legends, tradition, and many colonial gems. Have a stroll through its cobblestone streets and take a moment to sit down at the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, one of the most beautiful squares in the Americas. Visit the House of Eleven Patios, where you can find regional crafts, buy great souvenirs at the local crafts market. Enter the Basilica of Our Lady of Health, where you can admire the Virgen de la Salud (Virgin of Health), Patzcuaro’s patron saint. You can also stop by at the Gertrudis Bocanegra Library to admire the Juan O’Gorman murals.

Patzcuaro is located on the shore of Lake Patzcuaro. You should definitely take a boat ride to visit Janitzio Island, to have an up-close look at the monument of José Maria Morelos. If you are fortunate enough, you can travel to Patzcuaro during its most memorable celebration, “El Dia de Muertos” (Day of the Dead), held on November 1 and 2. The Day of the Dead is celebrated very intensely in the towns and villages around Lake Pátzcuaro. Local people gather in cemeteries and fishermen row across the lake to the Island of Janitzio in canoes aglow with candles.

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