A magic Town named Patzcuaro

By Liliana Rodriguez

The origins of the city now considered “magic town” have to be traced back to the 1324. It was the first capital of the Purepecha Empire, which was replaced later by Tzintzuntzan.

After the Spanish conquer, the bishopric of Michoacan was founded in 1538 with Vasco de Quiroga as the first bishop. The next year, he managed to make Patzcuaro the capital of the province and the see.

Vasco de Quiroga favoured the increment of population by inviting many Indigenous and Spanish families. This happened around 1540, the same year that he founded the school of San Nicolás and the hospital of Santa Marta.

In the history of Patzcuaro, Vasco de Quiroga was very important because he was the defender of the indigenous rights and he also was the one who showed them different ways of organization, improving their life quality.

It was until 1553 that Patzcuaro received the title of city and its coat of arms. After the death of “Tata Vasco” (as the natives used to call him), Patzcuaro suffered a period of decadence. The civic and ecclesiastical authorities, as well as the school of San Nicolás, were moved to Valladolid (1575 – 1580).

The city had few changes until the independence war, when it suffered several attacks.

During the period of President Porfirio Díaz, very rich landowners established there. In 1886, took place the opening of the railroad from Morelia to Patzcuaro, which favoured the entry of foreign enterprises that exploited the natural and human resources of the place.

Patzcuaro was a strategic place during the Mexican Revolution to take over the capital of the state.
After the war period, in order to keep Patzcuaro as a colonial and indigenous city, its reconstruction began in 1920.

In 1951 the Regional Center of Basic Education for Latin America was founded by the UN, making possible a new cultural stage for the city.

Nowadays, Patzcuaro is known as one of the most beautiful urban places in the state of Michoacan.


The main articles crafted in Patzcuaro are the ones made with pottery, textiles, and wooden furniture. All of them handmade by the artisans specialized in providing a unique esthetic value to their work.


The food in Patzcuaro it’s famous for its variety and its prehispanic roots. We can find dishes like:

  • Different kinds of tamales: corundas, uchepos, etc.
  • White fish.
  • Tarasca soup (made with tortilla).
  • Pozole
  • Churipo
  • Carnitas (pork meat)


Patzcuaro has many buildings, monuments and squares that keep an important cultural and historic tradition and of course its magic lake and Janitzio Island. Some examples are:

  • Lake Patzcuaro and Janitzio Island
  • Main dock
  • Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud.
  • Popular Arts and Industry Museum.
  • Temple and School of the Compañía de Jesús.
  • El Sagrario.
  • Casa de los 11 Patios.
  • Vasco de Quiroga Square.
  • Huitziméngari Palace.
  • Guadalupe Sanctuary.
  • El Hospitalito.
  • Temple of San Francisco.
  • San Francisco Square.
  • San Juan de Dios Hospital and Temple.
  • Torito Fountain.
  • Gertrudis Bocanegra Square.
  • San Agustín Ex Convent.
  • San Miguel Font.
  • El Humilladero.
  • El Calvario.
  • “El Estribo” viewpoint.
  • Wooden Art Crafts Market.

Properties for sale and rent in Patzcuaro.

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