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Tzintzuntzan, capital of the Purepecha empire


Tzintzuntzan - Patzcuaro Region

Tzintzuntzan was the capital of the Purépecha empire, spanning the whole of Michoacán and parts of Jalisco and Guanajuato. At one time, 40,000 people lived in Tzintzuntzan. Only the Mexica empire surpassed the Purépecha empire in size and power in the 14th and 15th centuries, during its period of splendor.

One remnant of that glorious past is the ceremonial center known as Las Yácatas. This magical place it is a large platform carved out of a hill overlooking the Pueblo Mágico de Tzintzuntzan, facing Pátzcuaro Lake.

Make sure you visit the on-site museum, with its displays of objects found in the excavations: earthenware vessels, obsidian tools, metal ornaments and semiprecious stones. In addition to the Yácatas, excavations carried out nearby have yielded the remains of the rulers’ palaces and burials.

The Yácatas are five large stepped structures with one rectangular and another round part. These impressive buildings are actually the volcanic stone bases on which wooden temples were built. If you look closely, you’ll see that some of the stones are engraved with different symbols: These are known as “jamamus”. The stones in these buildings were subsequently used to build the Convent of Santa Ana, where you will also be able to find “jamamus”.

Finish your walk by contemplating the wonderful views offered by this privileged place under the pines.

We recommend

  • Go in the morning to take good panoramic pictures of Pátzcuaro Lake.
  • We also recommend visiting the nearby archaeological site of Ihuatzio. King Tariácuri divided the empire into three parts: Tzintzuntzan, Pátzcuaro and Ihuatzio. Ihuatzio contains a huge square with two rectangular pyramids.

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Av. Las Yácatas s/n, Col. Centro. 58440 Tzintzuntzan, Tzintzuntzan


Las Tarascas Fountain


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Las Tarascas Fountain

Las Tarascas Fountain

Churches and cemeteries

Morelia Cathedral


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Morelia Cathedral

Morelia Cathedral

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