Tzintzuntzan, the city of humingbirds

By Liliana Rodriguez


The City of Hummingbirds (translated from Purepecha to English) was the capital and the most important ceremonial center of the Purepecha Empire, because this place was were all the tribute was received. It was the biggest and most populated city in the whole region.

After the Spanish Conquer, it was given the title of Capital City of the Province of Michoacan in 1523. A few years later, Vasco de Quiroga moved the capital to Patzcuaro. The city lost its social and economic importance after 1539, becoming almost deserted.

In 1831, Tzintzuntzan became part of Quiroga municipality until 1930, when it constituted its own.

Nowadays, the municipality has around 12,259 inhabitants, which work mainly in the agricultural sector. Commerce and tourism have also been important activities for the development of the place.


The most important historical buildings that can be found in Tzintzuntzan are: Convento Franciscano, Templo de la Soledad and Templo de San Francisco.

Furthermore, the city has some of the few ruins left by the Purepecha Empire: The Yacatas. These are pyramidal constructions built in a circular form that were used as a ceremonial center.

The lake of Patzcuaro is another natural tourist attraction which provides a high esthetic value to the place.


The art crafts on Tzintzuntzan are basically made with pottery, wood and textiles. Carnitas (pork meat) is the most popular and typical dish of the zone.

The Day of the Death celebration that takes place in November is very important in this place. In these days the town lives more than ever: the graveyards are completely decorated with flowers and candles, and the villagers sell food and goods on the streets.

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