The Magic Town that was the capital of an empire

Tzintzuntzan has a glorious past as the capital of the Purépecha empire, when it had a population of 30,000 people. During the conquest, Tzintzuntzan became the first city in Michoacán and was, very briefly, an episcopal seat.

From the splendor of pre-Hispanic times are the imposing Yácatas, remains of the ceremonial center of a culture that since the s. XII dominated these lands. Located on a natural promontory, from the Yácatas the entire surrounding territory is dominated, with spectacular panoramic views over Lake Pátzcuaro.

Vasco de Quiroga arrived in Tzintzuntzan in 1533. Here he founded the imposing ex-convent of Santa Ana, around which this Magical Town grew. Today the vernacular architecture of one-story houses, tile roofs and large wings survives. In addition, 33 centenary olive trees shade the extensive atrium of the convent, a meeting place for the community. Here the first mass was celebrated in Michoacán and from this convent the first evangelization began, hence the open chapel and the immersion baptismal font. Today, the former convent houses the Tzintzuntzan Community Museum, with an interesting sample of the history of the region.

The Magical Town of Tzintzuntzan, like all the hospital towns in the region, is a town of artisans. Particularly famous are the typical beige ceramic tableware with fish motifs or glazed green ceramic, such as those on display in the convent kitchen.

From Tzintzuntzan you can explore Lake Pátzcuaro, visiting hospital towns such as Santa Fe de la Laguna or the Tecuena, Yunuén and Pacanda islands, from the Ucazanaztacua pier.


  1. Challenge your children to find “jamanus”. The quarry used for the former convent came from Yácatas and some blocks were engraved with symbols: the jamanus.
  2. See the representation of Don Juan Tenorio in the ex-convent of Santa Ana at dusk on the Night of the Dead.
  3. Take panoramic photos from the Yácatas. The best time is the morning. You can also visit Ihuatzio, another archaeological site on the lake, between Tzintzuntzan and Pátzcuaro.
  4. To bring a souvenir, buy pottery or a Christmas ornament made of panikua (wheat straw), a tule petate, or a chuspata ornament.
  5. Live the visit of the Spies to the Christs: on Holy Wednesday the Romans (spies) ride through the town looking for images of old corn cane paste that some families guard to take them out in procession.





Magic towns


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Alma de México


Alma de México

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