The state capital is located approximately 63 km. from Pátzcuaro in a valley known centuries ago as “Guayangareo”. In Purhépecha that means “flattened hill”. It was founded in the colonial epoch with the name of “Valladolid”. After failed attempts by the patzcuarences to avoid it, at the end of 1575 the then viceroy Martín Enríquez de Almanza arranged the transfer to Morelia of the body of justice and the town hall of Michoacán. Consequently, also moved were the Episcopal see, the main educational and religious institutions, and many of its inhabitants, ending Pátzcuaro’s reign -for good or for bad- as capital of the province. Later, in 1828, Valladolid changed its name to “Morelia”, in honor of the insurgent general José María Morelos y Pavón, who was born there.
Ironically, Morelia also was cradle of one of the two failed emperors that México has had: don Agustín de Iturbide. Morelia itself has an architectural value of the first order, with splendid and well-preserved colonial edifices from several epochs. Although too numerous to list here, it is enough simply to go to the center of the city and lose oneself among its unique architectural jewels of pink stone, each with a story to tell. Even though bustling and noisy, Morelia offers all the services and comforts of a modern city.
You can go to this town by way of the detour towards Guadalajara at the junction of the aforementioned road with the one that goes to Morelia. After about 10 minutes, you will see a sign that indicates the direction to Ihuatzio. Ihuatzio means “coyote burrow”, and it is clear that they still abound in the region. Here is found what can be called a Purhépecha “military center”, because it is the place where, it is said, the empire’s warriors were trained. There exist ruins of a large rectangle about 400 m long by 300m wide, used for the aforementioned purpose, but unfortunately, the plots and small fields into which it has been split have almost made it disappear.
Towards the western part of the site are ruins of two pyramids
dedicated to the sun and to the moon. In the façade of the small
temple dedicated to san Francisco de Asís, patron of the place, can
be admired the sculpture of a coyote, alluding to the name of the
town. Ihuatzio is a town of artisans dedicated to creation of
objects in various reeds known as tule, chúspata, carrizo and
panikua. After a visit here, if you like, you can return the way you
came, continuing to Tzintzuntzan, or continue through other little
lakeside villages, including Ucasanastacua, Ichupio and Espíritu,
coming out later onto the same
road, near Tzintzuntzan
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