The Birthplace of a War Hero and More
You don’t have to look hard to find a city or state in Mexico which might be named for some famous war figure or revolutionary hero. They are all over the place! Morelia is no exception! This capital city of the state of Michoacán takes its name from the independence war hero, José María Morelos y Pavón who was born and raised here. Before this, it was named Valladolid, in honor of the city in Spain where Morelia’s founder, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza was from originally.
Approximately 360km west of Mexico City, this city is considered by some to be the most visited of any non-beach areas in Mexico by non-foreigners. Of course one of the largest draws is the substantially large colonial imprint which remains to this day. With over 150 city blocks of near-perfect colonial architecture laid out in the local “cantera” or, pink quarry stone, UNESCO deemed it a World Heritage Site in 1991.
What follows is a brief photo essay of a few of Morelia’s sights which should not be missed during any visit.
With identical twin towers looming in excess of 60 meters, this structure dominates the city’s colonial heart and impresses with its beautiful Baroque architecture. Construction was started in the mid 17th century and was finally completed in 1744. Some reports claim that this cathedral is among the highest in the Americas which is built in the Baroque fashion.
Plaza de Armas
Also known as Plaza de los Mártires or (Martyrs’ Plaza), this fine-looking square sits adjacent to the main cathedral and has abundant seating, a gazebo and is always full of activity from street performers, clowns, musicians or just casual walkers.
Originally the Jesuit School of San Francisco Xavier, this magnificent building dates back to the mid 17th century. Aside from being a Jesuit School, it has served as a correctional facility for priests and then became the congressional seat for the state of Michoacán in 1824. Currently, it houses some state offices, holds cultural events and provides some space for revolving art exhibits.
Mercado de Dulces
This market, dedicated to candies and artisanal crafts, is right next to Palacio Clavijero. Here you will find the numerous candies made in the state of Michoacán, from Morelianas, rollos de guayaba, jamoncillos, to the famous “ate”, pronounced “ahh-tay”, which is a candy made from fruit pulp and sugar cane. For more about the sweets of Morelia, click HERE
Jardín de Las Rosas
The “Garden of Roses”, as it’s called, provides a peaceful setting for either a drink at one of the surrounding cafes or casual conversation while in the shadows of bronze statues dedicated to the Spanish writer, Miguel Cervantes and the famed first bishop of Michoacán, Vasco de Quiroga.
An open-air arched walkway north of the Cathedral on Madero Avenue which provides numerous cafes & restaurants from which to take in the grace and cultural vibe Morelia has to offer.
Plaza San Agustín Eateries
Several inexpensive eateries are located underneath the arches near Plaza San Agustín. They all have ladies’ names such as: “Las Gueras”, “Carmelita” & “Lupita” to name a few.
Here’s a helpful map outlining the various points of interest mentioned above.
Other Points of Interest
Palacio Del Gobierno
Museo Del Estado
Regional Museum of Michoacán
Museo Del Dulce
Casa De Las Artesanías
Colegio de San Nicolás