Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Plaza Vasco de Quiroga
Considered one of the most beautiful plazas – or “squares” – in the country, it measures about 600 by 450 feet . The central square of Pátzcuaro is unique in an unusual aspect: There are no churches on its perimeter! The famous Basilica and other temples are not even visible from the Plaza.
Instead, La Plaza Vasco de Quiroga is surrounded by “civilian” – or once residential – structures of Boroque and Neoclassical architecture which, along with the gigantic trees surrounding the Plaza, come together to create the majesty of the space. The centerpiece of the Plaza is a finely executed fountain of the adored Don Vasco de Quiroga.
One of those buildings is none other than the Hotel Mansión Iturbe – a significant part of Mexican history, once the home of the famous conspirator Don José María Abarca.
During the ninteenth and twentieth centuries, this corner, where you will find a plaque commemorating 200 years of Planned Business, had a vital link in the economic life of this Magic Village.
Later, it became the House of Trade and (Mule) Delivery, with owner Don Francisco de Iturbe y Heriz. His claim to fame in that era was his ability to establish the connection with Acapulco, whence came all varieties of merchandise from the Philipines and China typically in Spanish fleets: “The Chinese Fleet.”
This Pacific fleet operated between Acapulco and Manila transporting passengers and all sorts of merchandise. Once on Mexican soil, the merchandise was transported by mule. New Spain was the link between Asia and Europe. Later, merchandise was sent from Veracruz to Spain using the Indian Fleet, crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1970, this building was restored, maintaining its historical integrity as a Gem of New Spain Architecture. In that year, the building opened its doors as Hotel Mansión Iturbe.
Palacio de Huitzimengari, Portal de Vasco de Quiroga, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Palacio de Huitzimengari
The Palace of Huitziméngari is located in the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, just down the street from our Hotel Mansión Iturbe.
It’s an historic building that today is the home of an Artisan Center run by the Purepecha community. Indigenous people of the different communities in the region come here to sell their handicrafts.
This casona is probably the oldest civilian construction of Pátzcuaro. It was formerly the home of Don Antonio Huitziméngari de Mendoza, who was Governor of Pátzcuaro, and son of the last Caltzonzin (Emperor of the Purépecha Empire).
Strolling around the Plaza, you will find the Palace of Huitziméngari a couple doors down from the northeast corner. We highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys and appreciates Mexican folk art.
In the Palace of Huitziméngari, you can talk directly with the artisans, who use age-old techniques. In many cases, techniques date from before the arrival of Don Vasco de Quiroga, who helped the indigenous refine their techniques, as well as teach them new trades, during the time of evangelization.
The unique piece that you take home – be it wood carving, a toy, pottery, weaving, etc. – will represent a part of the identity of these peoples in the region. Plus, with your purchase, you help promote the sustainable development of the Lake area.
Especially if you visit Pátzcuaro during the Day of the Dead, we recommend you visit the Palace of Huitziméngari, when they fill the central courtyard with their handicrafts.
At Easter, the Purépecha community also decorates this property ornately, following the tradition of the region.
So, particularly if you are on a tight schedule and don’t have time to visit the towns around the lake, visiting the Palace of Huitziméngari will provide you with an excellent sampling of what is available around the lake, without ever leaving Pátzcuaro.
Museo de Artes e Industrias Populares, Enseñanza, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán
Museo de Artes e Industrias Populares
Among the important places to visit in Pátzcuaro is the Ancient College of San Nicolás (Museum of Folk Arts). It’s just two blocks from our Hotel Mansión Iturbe. Go up the hill (Vasco de Quiroga) toward the Basílica. The Museo is on the left corner.
It was built in 1540 at the direction of Don Vasco de Quiroga, in honor of Saint Nicolas Patron Bishop of Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain, where Don Vasco was originally from.
Back then, the aim of this College was to train priests to learn about the indigenous peoples, their custom, and culture, as well as the indigenous (Purépecha) language. They also taught indigenous children to read and write.
In 1543, King Charles I of Spain decreed that henceforth it would be the Royal College of San Nicolas Obispo.
In 1580 when the episcopal residence passed to Valladolid (Morelia), the College merged with that of San Miguel Guayangareo.
The Ancient College is considered the oldest in the Americas, the presage of what is today the Michoacana University of San Nicolas de Hidalgo, one of the most traditional educational institutions in Mexico where great heroes and characters from the history of Mexico have studied.
Currently, this historic monument houses the Museum of Folk Arts. We recommend that you visit this museum if you want to understand more about the different things that the indigenous people of the region work, such as lacquers, woods, pottery, and textiles.
Its lovely patio, traditional kitchen, and troje are some of the favorite places our guests love to visit.
On your next visit to Pátzcuaro, give yourself time to discover our cultural and historical heritage. Another legacy of Don Vasco de Quiroga, now converted into an interesting museum.
Centro Cultural Antiguo Colegio Jesuita, Enseñanza, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Centro Cultural Antiguo Colegio Jesuita
The Cultural Center / Old Jesuit College, also known as the Ex Colegio Jesuita in Pátzcuaro, is a place to enjoy culture, and in the context of a lovely 16th century building.
This “College of the Society of Jesus” was the second of its kind that was established in “New Spain,” after the first one in Mexico City. It was built in what was the orchard of what would become the Cathedral of Michoacán (now the Basílica).
The Cultural Center is the home of much activity, including monthly exhibitions in the numerous salons upstairs and downstairs, and concerts in the little theater on the first floor.
Hotel Mansion Iturbe is located two blocks from the Cultural Center.
Also, don’t miss the permanent shows in the Cultural Center / Old Jesuit College, which include:
- Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Masks of Mexico.
- Traditional Toys of Michoacán.
- Pre Hispanic and 18th Century Laquer.
They also hold artistic workshops, like ceramics, engraving, embossing, gravure, and lithography.
In the ceramics workshop, you can learn different techniques of production in low, medium, and high temperature. Contact the Cultural Center directly for more information.
If you are interested in literature, the Center has a library with 200 volumes of various works of Latin American authors.
And that’s not all: The Cultural Center / Old Jesuit College also has a graphic collection of 1,000 works by 300 artists who have worked there.
On your next vacation in Pátzcuaro, participate in one of the artisan workshops for an unforgettable experience.
Templo del Sagrario, Enseñanza, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Templo del Sagrario
One of the most beautiful images – and one of the most representative of Pátzcuaro – is the Templo del Sagrario, built in the Seventeenth century. Don Vasco de Quiroga was responsible for getting the construction started, but it took two centuries to complete. It was originally the Santuario la Virgen de la Salud de Pátzcuaro, until it was transferred to the Basílica in 1908. The boroque altar is stunning.
Casa de los Once Patios, Madrigal de Las A. Torres, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Casa de los Once Patios
The House of the Eleven Patios one of those places that you can’t miss on your list of things to do in Pátzcuaro. Located just a couple blocks up the hill from our Hotel Mansión Iturbe.
The House of the Eleven Patios is currently a crafts center where you can see and buy handicrafts from our region.
Here you can see how craftsmen work looms to create their famous blankets, as well as different shops where you can buy a variety of textile crafts, handmade Mexican clothing with unique designs, among other products.
One of the blanket stores in the area, is actually located in a small troje. Troje is an icon of Michoacán indigenous architecture, a wooden home made without nails.
You can also find the famous Lacas de Pátzcuaro (lacquerware) in the House of the Patios. There are different workshops where craftsmen execute finely detailed works of art, representative of our “Pueblo Mágico”.
Pátzcuaro is famous for the quality of its crafts, and one of the great masters of Mexican folk art has his studio in the House of the Eleven Patios: Mario Agustín Gaspar does gorgeous gold lacquerware, and also sugar cane pastefigures, which is a pre-Hispanic technique that originated in our region.
The House of the Eleven Patios is located in what was the former Dominican convent of Santa Catarina, dates back to 1742. Currently there are five patios you can visit.
During your visit, take a quick detour to the interesting baroque style bathroom in one of the patios.
Check out the exterior mural dedicated to the art of craftsmen. This mural, by the master José Luis Soto González, highlights the influence of Don Vasco deQuiroga.
On your next visit to Pátzcuaro, you must visit the House of the Eleven Patios, a historic place to enjoy the crafts of Michoacán.
Templo de la Compañía, Enseñanza, Colimillas, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Templo de la Compañía
Temple of La Compañía in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, dating from the 16th century, is located just up the street from Hotel Mansión Iturbe.
The Temple was built between 1540 and 1546, and served as interim Cathedral from 1546 to 1565, when it passed into the hands of the Jesuit order.
This historic monument, according to the booklet ofthe Cultural Heritage of Patzcuaro: "is in the traditional construction of the 16th century XVI of Latin design; i.e., of a main vault” with two areas side that form the cross Latin, and that harkens to Renaissance fortifications in Spain."
In the Temple of La Compañía, we find paintings by the colonial painter Juan Miranda, including an image of Santa María Mayor.
Outside, we see a clock, purportedly a gift from the King of Spain, Felipe II, to Pátzcuaro.
During your tour of the main historical attractions of Patzcuaro, the Templo of La Compañía should be near the top of your list of buildings of greatest historical and cultural value. What’s better yet, just a few steps away you'll find the Sagrario – an icon of Pátzcuaro with its familiar archways looking onto the street – and the Museum of Arts and Popular Industries of Pátzcuaro.
If you walk out the front door of Mansion Iturbe, turn left, and walk up the hill, you will find the Museum to the left of the fountain. The Templo of La Compañía will be the ancient church to the right, across the street. It’s another gem!
Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra
Located one block north of the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga and the Hotel Mansión Iturbe, this plaza is the second-most-important plaza in Pátzcuaro. Long ago, it was the site of the Cloister of the Templo de San Agustín. It is named after the heroine of Independence, Doña Gertrudis Bocanegra, who was originally from Pátzcuaro. In the center of the plaza is a large bronze status of her.
Biblioteca publica Gertrudis Bocanegra, Padre Lloreda, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Biblioteca Publica (Mural de Juan O’Gorman)
One of the most highly recommended places to visit in Pátzcuaro is La Biblioteca Pública Gertrudis Bocanegra (it so close, you can actually see it from the balconies of Hotel Mansión Iturbe).
The original building was constructed in 1576 as an Augustinian Convent. Almost three hundred years later (1860), the State took control of it in 1882 and, in 1938, General Lázaro Cárdenas declared it the site for La Biblioteca Pública Gertrudis Bocanegra.
In February 1941, the famous Juan O’Gorman began a monumental work that would take him a full year to complete: painting the huge, historical, floor-to-ceiling mural on the far (north) inside wall of the enormous library.
Juan O’Gorman is known not only as a great muralist, but as a great architect, as well. He is attributed with introducing functional architecture in Mexico, which was influenced by the renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.
As an architect, Juan O’Gorman worked on several projects in Mexico City, including the House Studio Museum of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. He also established the engineering architect discipline in the National Polytechnic Institute.
Juan O’Gorman was also a disciple of Diego Rivera – the second generation of muralists in the Mexican Muralist Movement. Perhaps O’Gorman’s most famous work is his gigantic mural in the Public Library in Pátzcuaro. Also of note are his alterpieces of the Mexican Independence and Revolution movements in the National History Museum in the Chapultepec Castle.
The Public Library in Pátzcuaro is a fine source of information as to the region’s art, architecture, and culture. But it is Juan O’Gorman’s commanding mural at the far end of the enormous room that attracts countless admirers. Not only is it an epic work of art, it is also a breathtaking visual example of Michoacan’s pre-Columbian history. In it are depicted the arrival of the Spanish, Don Vasco’s evangelism work, and Mexico’s independence and revolution. This enormous work of art, measuring 14 meters high by 12.7 meters wide, dominates the entire northern wall – floor to ceiling – of the cavernous library.
The Mural, however, was not exactly a slam-dunk. The prominent American businessman Edgar J. Kaufman from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, originally retained Mr. O’Gorman to paint a similar mural in the US but, given the unpopular left-wing politics of the artist and the wave of unpopularity it would wreak on Mr. Kaufman, Mexico was chosen instead as the site for the mural. O’Gorman respected Mr. Kaufman’s decision and a search for a more appropriate venue was begun: In 1941, he began the famous mural on the north wall of the Public Library of Pátzcuaro.
Far from a stuffy, moth-infested 500-year-old library, the Public Library in Pátzcuaro is dynamic and full of life. There, you will find youngsters and adults reading, perusing books, surfing the Internet, and doing homework. Also, thanks to “Friends of the Library,” you will also find local expats doing the same, as well as checking out a respectable selection of English-language literature, or tutoring locals in English.
Library employees are thrilled to help visitors, and they go out of their way to offer information, orientations, and answer your questions regarding anything relating to Pátzcuaro.
If you want information on Night of the Dead, Holy Week, Christmas, or other significant dates on the Pátzcuaro calendar, the Public Library is your source.
There is nothing that better visually embodies the richness of the history of the region than Juan O’Gorman’s fantastic mural, and what better venue than the venerable Public Library. It is Hotel Mansión Iturbe’s Number One Must-Do in Pátzcuaro.
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud, Benigno Serrato, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud de Pátzcuaro
Inside is the figure of the Virgin of Health, patron of the region.
Pilgrimages are held throughout the year, but the most significant date is December 8. Previously, a novena is held from November 29 to December 7.
December 8 is the big party. They begin with the mañanitas to the Virgin, several masses throughout the day including a Mass in Purépecha Language.
A very emotional event is the procession of the Virgin of Health of Pátzcuaro through the main streets of our Magic Town and the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga.
A pilgrimage, where they regularly place a sawdust mat on Iturbe Street, which is why our guests at Hotel Mansion Iturbe can observe from our balconies, this procession full of fervor; in an atmosphere of joy among the participants who observe the passage of the Virgin of Health of Pátzcuaro, through the main streets of the historic center of our Magic Town.
A visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Health of Pátzcuaro, is a must in your next visit to our Magical Town.
Templo de San Francisco, Federico Tena, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Templo de San Francisco
The Pottery Market is held every Friday morning at the Plaza de San Francisco. You can’t miss this event, where you will find pottery from the different communities around the lake.
These are only some of the most representative areas in Pátzcuaro we recommend that you visit. Pátzcuaro is a place to enjoy and immerse youself in the diversity of our cultures and identities.
Finally, give yourself time to delight your palate and discover traditional Michoacán cuisine and the Mexican Cuisine which has been declared a National Heritage by UNESCO. And it’s available in Restaurante Doña Paca in the Hotel Mansión Iturbe, facing the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga itself.
On your next trip to Pátzcuaro, discover why it is considere one of the loveliest Typical Towns in Mexico, with these ten must-see places, all within a stone’s throw of Mansión Iturbe.
Embarcadero, Patzcuaro - Janitzio, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Embarcadero de Pátzcuaro
How to get to Janitzio from Patzcuaro, This is a question that we get repeatedly from our guests at Hotel Mansion Iturbe.
Janitzio is one of the local destination of our visitors. But the fact that it’s an island on our lake is sometimes daunting to the uninitiated. Getting to this icon of Michoacan is really a piece of cake!
You have three options and they are easy as pie. (Cake? Pie? Are you hungry yet?)
First Option: From Hotel Mansion Iturbe, you can take a taxi to the wharf (Muelle General). There is a kiosk in front of the pier where they sell tickets on the traditional boats for $50 pesos (round trip), and they bring you back to the Muelle General in about a half hour. The price may fluctuate one way or the other.
You need to remember that the “rush hour” for the people who live on Janitzio coming to Pátzcuaro to do their business is between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. You probably don’t want to plan your trip at this hour. Also! The last boat from Janitzio is at 6:00 p.m. Don’t miss that boat!
While you’re waiting for your boat to leave, you may have time to check out the artisan shops and small restaurants at the quay, where they serve up typical Patzcuaro snacks and light meals.
Second Option: If you want a private boat to Janitzio, you can ask about it at the same window where you would buy the general ticket. The price will depend on the season and exactly where you want to go, and how long you want to stay. If you want a tour of the various islands of Lake Patzcuaro, this is how you want to go.
Third Option: Your other possibility is from a different wharf, Muelle de San Pedrito, about a mile down the road. It’s smaller than the Muelle General, but is prettier, more quaint, and in a more natural setting. You will also find gastronomical treats and artisanware at this quay. Note: If you choose this option, you may want to consider arranging for your ground transportation beforehand because there is no regular taxi stand at San Pedrito.
In any case, we recommend that you enjoy a nice breakfast at our Restaurante Doña Paca before leaving on this trip. You’re going to need the energy for all the exercise you’re going to get at Janitzio. That is to say, the only way to get to the top of Janitzio is on foot. And then, of course, you have to decide if you want to walk up the stairs of the statue itself. Lots of calorie-burning there!
We hope you will enjoy your visit to the famous Janitzio – one of the most visited destinations in all of Michoacan.
Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán, Mexico
Tzintzuntzan is another “Pueblo Mágico,” and we recommend that you visit its numerous attractions. A visit to the "Templo de la Soledad" is absolutely a “must do.” This religious structure is carefully watched over by members of the community. It is a Baroque-style temple dating from the 17th century, where you can see works of colonial art, not to mention religious images that this community greatly reveres.
Tzintzuntzan is about 18 kilometros (9 miles) from Pátzcuaro, by Route 120. Keep in mind that Tzintzuntzan (“place of the hummingbirds,” in the native language) was the capitol of the once powerful Purépecha empire. Our knowledgeable guests at Mansión Iturbe insist on visiting this historic place when touring our famous destinations.
The Templo de la Soledad is but a part of a complex that includes the Ex Convento Franciscano de Santa Ana (a jewel of colonial architecture of Mexico), and the atrium of centuries-old olive trees that greets the visitors when they enter the grounds.
The facade of the temple is remarkable in itself, with its pillars and other details.
Visiting the Temple, you will observe that there is a person from the community who is watching over things. They are there to answer your questions. This is your opportunity to interact with local people, and learn more about the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the community of Tzintzuntzan. Don’t be embarrassed to practice your Spanish!
The decor inside is neoclassical. The painted and decorated wooden ceiling are highlighted, an example of the coffered ceilings of Michoacán. You'll find different religious images of the famous “caña de maíz,” or sugarcane pulp. Tzintzuntzan is well known for its sculptures from the 16th and 17th centuries. This technique of the Purepechas greatly impressed the evangelists with its clarity and lightness.
Standing out among the various religious images is the “Christ that grows,” which is a sugarcane-pulp sculpture of el Santo Entierro, which is a very revered image. People from all over come to venerate him, asking for resolutions to health issues.
There are different paintings of sacred art to be seen here. One image that jumps into view is the Virgen del Pino, patron saint of the island of Gran Canaria in Spain. This work was made in Valladolid (today Morelia) in 1790, by the painter Juan de Dios Mercado.
In the painting you can clearly read: "True portrait of María Ssma. Pine, which appeared in the place of the Gran Canaria ysla Teror. Year 1488."
Take time to observe the details of the architecture and the many works of sacred art in this beautiful place.
While in Tzintzuntzan, give yourself time to do a little shopping and enjoy some of the great food available. Just follow your nose!
Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán, Mexico
Santa Clara del Cobre
Santa Clara del Cobre is one of the places you can visit near Pátzcuaro, where you can enjoy a picturesque “Pueblo Mágico” surrounded by beautiful scenery and smelling of delicious cuisine. It is located about 19 kms (8 miles) from Pátzcuaro on road 120 going toward Opopeo.
Santa Clara del Cobre is a land of artists, primarily in the working of copper, creating works of great artistic attraction that recognized at national and international level.
A visit to this “Pueblo Mágico” will invariably be a pleasant experience. Start your tour of the National Museum of Copper, where you can admire pieces that have been awarded in numerous competitions both in Mexico and abroad. You will be surprised with the creativity of its artisans.
It is very easy to connect with craftsmen and visit their workshops, which you'll find at every turn; there are more than 400 workshops. We recommend that you visit them and observe how they work copper. That is a great experience.
Notice how they produced different pieces using tools, hammers, pliers, anvil, and forge. They work with amazing synchrony in hammering pieces of unique beauty, such as the traditional buckets for preparing carnitas. Decorative objects – some painted beautifully – such as vases, jars, trays, cooking utensils, miniatures, and beautiful pieces of jewelry.
Our guests at Hotel Mansion Iturbe are always interested in the history behind the copper work in Santa Clara del Cobre.
The origins of the hammering of copper date from pre-Columbian times, when the indigenous Purépecha not only made different ornaments, but also used copper to create weapons. One reason it is believed why they could not be defeated by the Aztecs was their mastery of copper and bronze.
At the National Museum of Copper cattycorner from the main square, you can see a copy of the Lienzo (canvas) de Jucutacato, dating from the 16th century. It is an important document of the Purépecha culture, which survived to the time of the conquest. It is a mixture of mythical and historical data, which also legitimize their claims of mines and natural resources, and expressed their collective identity among communities.
Early during the time of evangelization, in 1521, Friar Martín de Jesús founded Santa Clara de Acuero. Later, with the arrival of Don Vasco de Quiroga 1533, he introduced several changes in the organization and implemented new ways to work the copper, perfecting the already existing techniques.
In 1553 the legal foundation of the town was decreed with the name of Santa Clara de los Cobres. In 1858, it was changed to Santa Clara from Portugal in 1858, then to Villa Escalante in 1932. In 1981 it was once again changed to its current name.
A great time to visit Santa Clara del Cobre is during the National Copper Fair, which is held annually during the summer (the date is variable).
Come and enjoy the folk art in our Region. Pátzcuaro is the ideal starting point for your tour, and Santa Clara del Cobre is a must-do, which you'll love!
Parroquia del Santuario de Guadalupe, Calle Juan José Codallos, Centro, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Parroquia del Santuario de Guadalupe
This is an excellent example of nineteenth-century neoclassical architecture. From its tall tower, we can see four figures representing Moderation, Charity, Strength, and Faith. Don Feliciano Ramos ordered the structure build to fulfill a promise to the Virgin of Guadalupe to replace a chapel built in the seventeenth century.