Tzintzuntzan

Patzcuaro Region


The Magic Town that was Capital of an Empire

Tzintzuntzan has a glorious past as capital of the Purepechan empire, that consisted of a population of 30,000 people. In the conquest, Tzintzuntzan was the first established city of Michoacan, and also was, briefly, a episcopal seat.

The splendorous Yácatas, leftovers of the ceremonial center of a culture that prevailed since the XII century, remain. Located on a natural headland, from the Yacatas the nearby regions were dominated, with a magnificent sight of the Patzcuaro lake.

Vasco de Quiroga arrived to Tzintzuntzan in 1522. Here, he founded the Ex-convent of Saint Anne, around which this Magic Town grew. Today, the vernicle architecture remains in the one floored houses, roof tiles and big ailerons. In addition, 33 centennial olives provide shadow to the big atrium of the convent, a meeting point for the community. The first mass in Michoacan was held in this convent, as well as the first evangelization, the reason behind the open chapel and the big baptism pile. Nowadays, the ex-convent is home of the Tzintzuntzan Communitarian Museum, with an interesting showcase of the regional history.

Tzintzuntzan, like all the other hospital towns of the region, is a town of artisans. The typical beige crockery decorated with fish figures or the green glassed ceramic, like the ones displayed in the kitchen of the convent, are particularly famous.

From Tzintzuntzan you can explore the Patzcuaro lake, and visit hospital towns like Santa Fe de la Laguna, or the isles of Tecuena, Yunuen and Pacanda from the Ucazanaztacua dock.

Our recommendations:

  1. Dare your kids to find the “jamanus”. The quarry that was used for the ex-convent is from the Yacatas, so some blocks have engraved symbols: the jamanus.
  2. Attend the representation of Don Juan Tenorio in the ex-convent, by noon in the Night of the Dead. 
  3. Take panoramic pictures from the Yacatas, the earlier you arrive, the better. You can also visit Ihuatzio, another archeological site over the lake, between Tzintzuntzan and Patzcuaro.
  4. Get a souvenir, buy a ceramic piece or a Christmas decoration made of Panikua (wheat straw), a tule backpack or a chuspata ornament.
  5. Experience the visit of the Christ Spies: on Holy Wednesday, the romans (spies) ride horses through the streets of the town looking for pictures of old corn stalk that some families keep to bring them out in the processions.

Click on the map to start exploring Tzintzuntzan

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