Another splendid colonial church of the city, it was built in the 17th century, and has a tower with a clock; according to the legend the clock was sent away from Spain because it tolled an unlucky hour for a Spanish King.
A huge complex of colonial buildings built in 1742 by the Dominican Nuns located a couple of blocks southeast from the main plaza, it contains some beautiful patios, now is used as a handicraft center and houses the Tourism office.
This interesting museum is located inside a beautiful colonial building built in the XVI century; it was the first religious school for priests in the area "the Real Colegio de San Nicolás Obispo", founded by Vasco de Quiroga in 1540, and also was a small school for indians. The museum is a perfect snapshot of the history of arts and craftmanship of the indian towns of Michoacan. We visit the Museum during the Day of the Dead festivity, so we saw some interesting religious altars made for the occasion.
A beautiful Baroque building built in the 17th century, started as the shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Salud (Our Lady of the Heath), maybe is not Patzcuaro´s oldest or biggest church, but i think is the most impressive building in the city, beautiful gardens and courtyards, and a marvelous stone wall that is the symbol of the city.
Built by Vasco de Quiroga (the first bishop of Michoacan a protector of the Purapeches Indians) on top of a pre-hispanic ceremonial site, is Pátzcuaro´s main church. The church has a beautiful interior, including the Statue of the Virgin made of ground corn paste, wich dates from the 16th century, and visited by many pilgrims from Mexico asking for health. Outside the church there´s a small market with food stalls where we had a wonderful breakfast of local Tamales
The first Catrina (a skull made of mud, paper or crystal ) was made by José Guadalupe Posada (a famous illustrator) the figure was called La Calavera de la Catrina (The Skull of the Female Dandy), and was made to satirize the life of Mexico´s upper classes females. Now the figure is associated with the festivity.
Some families built altars or shrines in their homes. We were invited to go inside the houses to see the altars and take pictures, there was even a book to put your impressions of the decoration. At the beggining it was quite shocking, but the people were so friendly and warm, they told us that for them this day is like having a party with the departed, so every body is invited.
This festivity is celebrated mainly in Mexico in connection with the Catholic celebration of All Saints Day. Peple go to the cemeterires to get in touch with the souls of the departed, and built altars covered with flowers, pictures and also with the favourite food and beverages of the deads. Pátzcuaro and specially the island of Janitzio are famous for this festivity.
This is Pátzcuaro´s central plaza, with the statue of Vasco de Quiroga in the center of the square. Vasco de Quiroga was a judge from Mexico city who become
a priest, and helped the Purepecha Indians in many ways, establishing schools and hospitals, introducing craft cooperatives and new crops.
Lago de Patzcuaro is a very popular destination for both domestic and international tourists. While the lake itself is certainly beautiful, we were a bit put off by all the commercialism. Isla de Janitzio has become one big tourist trap. As tourist boats approach the island they are met by "fishermen" who pose for photos using the traditional butterfly nets. These nets must not be very practical, because the real fisherman we saw certainly never used them. They have become strictly a way getting money from tourists by putting on a show. The same goes for the little kids on Isla de Janitzio who dress up in traditional costumes and start dancing as soon as the tour boats dock.
We asked for a boatman to take us to another island, Isla de Yunuen, in the hopes it would be more authentic. While Yunuen is not touristy, nor is it very interesting. There are a few houses and a church, and some tourist bungalows on the far end, but very few signs of life.
Nontheless the lake is lovely from just about any viewpoint, the boat ride is enjoyable, and there is alot of birdlife to be seen.
On market days - Sunday, Monday, and Friday - indigenous people come from small villages in the surrounding area to buy and sell fruit, vegetables, and all manner of handmade goods. The covered market northwest of Plaza Chica is open every day and is always an interesting place to walk around as well as a good place to grab a cheap bite to eat, but on market days the buying and selling spills outside into the surrounding streets and plazas.
In the photo you may be able to see a rope hanging down from the bell; this is used to manually ring the bells to call worshippers to mass. On market days - Sunday, Monday, and Friday - indigenas lay out their goods on the streets around the covered market as far as the gates of this church.
History: The Templo del Santuario de Guadalupe was built in the early 19th century. It has been attributed to the Celayan architect Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras, though historian Manuel Toussaint says "there are no facts to support this attribution." The architecture of the temple originally included seven statues representing the seven virtues, but today only four remain. They are charity, temperance, strength, and faith.
On Plaza Chica (officially called Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra) sits the Templo de San Agustin, which was founded in 1576 by Alonso de la Veracruz and built by Francisco Villafuerte. Originally the annex adjacent to it housed a monastery, which has now disappeared.
The church is now being used as a library called the Gertrudis Bocanegra public library. Inside is a mural by the artist Juan O'Gorman which portrays prehispanic history, the conquest, and the mixture of the native people with the Spanish settlers.
Fishing was done in the lake with the use a huge butterfly shaped nets. Today, each boat on its way to Janitzio will get a demonstration of the old fishing skills. A group of fisherman - two to a boat - will form a circle with their boats and dip their nets. They will then come up along the tourist boat to demonstrate their luck and to gain a few pesos from an appreciative audience :-]
This is a high basin lake surrounded by grand mountains, ancient ruins and Tarascan Indian villages. The lake is about 50 km in circumference and has long been a source of fish - pescado blanco - though pollution and agriculture threaten the lake's economic future. There are six islands in the lake with Janitzio being the main draw. You can go around the lake, though the road on the west side of the lake is rugged - buses do make the trip, though not in one go.
Before venturing around the lake, I would recommend a visit to the Museo de Artes Populares to orient yourself to the different villages you will find and their unique handicrafts. You will also find the ruins of the old Tarascan capital at Tzinzuntzan with yacatas (pyramids) and an old monastery built in 1533. The olive trees - still producing -are said to have been planted by Vasco de Quiroga himself.