Michoacan in Brief

carrera_panamericana_20101028_1659366544This is a State the same size than Costa Rica and about the same number of inhabitants. The eastern part consists of high mountains with large tracts of pine and fir forests, winterhome for the Monarch Butterflies, a World Heritage by UNESCO.

The central and northern part, just at the foot of other ranges of high extinct volcanoes, covered with pine and oak forests, is a land of lakes and former lakes, the Bajíos — nowadays some of the most fertile lands and valleys in Mexico. This is the homeland of the Purepechan or Tarascan indigenous. Along the green ranges of mountains, at the side of the emerging cold or hot springs, Tarascans and mestizos have created a mosaic of towns of tile roofs and adobe walls painted in the traditional white and dark red borders, one of the two quite distinct visions of colonial architecture, rustick, from which Pátzcuaro is one of the best examples, considered today a Magic Town (Pueblo Magico). The villages throughout this area specialize in particular fine crafts for which the region is well known all over Mexico, like Paracho and Santa Clara del Cobre

hThe other architectural vision is Morelia, World Heritage, a stately city of pinkstone mansions, broad plazas and a monumental Cathedral; a city projected since XVI century to be the home for the higher Spanish social classes and today protected by UNESCO decret. Further west and south lie the hotlands and the coast, areas with brave people and scene of the resistance of insurgency against Spain. By the shore of lake Cuitzeo, a few kilometers from Morelia, there´s the surprising town of the same name, Cuitzeo, another Pueblo Magico. And further east the third Pueblo Mágico: Tlalpujahua.

Festivities of Eastern, Corpus Christi, and Virgin of Guadalupe Day in Michoacana regions still have the feeling of the past and are less, less crowded in many cases. Day of the Dead celebration in the many towns that compound the Patzcuaro area is an Intangible World Heritage. Particularly interesting for modern anthropologists are the abundant number of festivities and indigenous dances in the Tarascan area all along the year.

MARIP06In this corner of central Mexico you find three World Heritages by UNESCO, plus three Pueblos Magicos, plus many protected towns as zones of historical and architectural monuments, three enormous archaeological sites, and one of the largest crafts production in the Mexican Republic.
Archaeological zones of San Felipe Los Alzati, Tzintzuntzan and Ihuatzio, are monumental on their own way and very different in structure from the rest of the country, providing you of excellent examples of the huge variability of the mesoamerican societies.

Michoacán, therefore, is a truly representative land in the soul of Mexico, that shares with its neighbor states a common prehispanic and colonial past.
Something other travelers advice is “If you´re going anywhere outside of Michoacán, it´s usually best to go to Morelia first”. This is so because from Morelia in very short distances you have a rainbow of possibilities.

“Michoacan has many things that merit a visit. Yet it remains relatively unvisited by foreign tourists…” , precises Frommer´s.