5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Morelia
5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Morelia
Morelia, the magnificent capital of the state of Michoacán, lies on the banks of the Rio Grande de Morelia between Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico’s two largest cities. Settled by the Spanish after their conquest of the native Tarascans in 1541, Morelia has managed to retain the character of a distinguished colonial town. Whether you choose to stay overnight or for an extended getaway, the city will delight you, thanks to such highlights as its beautiful main square and the Plaza de los Mártires with its fine arcades and terraces.
Another architectural gem is the Baroque Palacio de Gobierno with enormous murals by native artist Alfredo Zalce depicting the history of independence and Mexico’s revolution. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Morelia’s historic city center and fine colonial buildings are well worth exploring.
1 Morelia Cathedral
Morelia Cathedral Travelbusy / photo modified Share:
Dominating the city skyline, magnificent Morelia Cathedral is a must-see when visiting this fine old colonial city. On the city’s beautiful main square, this huge structure is notable not just for its size but also for its unique pinkish-brown color, the result of being built of local trachyte stone. Although construction began in 1640, it took more than 100 years before the cathedral was completed in its now largely Baroque style with a striking azulejo-decorated dome. Interior highlights include its neoclassical retablos, a silver font, a crucifix by Manuel Tolsá, and a number of paintings attributed to leading artists of the 18th century including Juan Rodríguez Juárez, José Maria de Ibarra, and Miguel Cabrera. Also of interest is an Indian figure of Christ wearing a golden crown donated by Spanish King Philip II, and an imposing organ built in Germany in 1903 that is featured during the city’s international organ and music festivals.
Address: Av Francisco I. Madero Pte. S/N, Centro, 58000 Morelia, MICH
2 The Government Palace
The Government Palace
The Government Palace Share:
Directly opposite Morelia Cathedral, on the other side of the Avenida Madero Oriente, stands the large Baroque Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno). Constructed between 1760 and 1770 as a seminary, the two-story building is currently home of the state legislature and boasts one of the finest façades in the city, along with three large courtyards. Of particular interest are the building’s fine murals painted in the 1960s by Alfredo Zalce, one of Mexico’s most famous native artists. These enormous scenes depict many of both the state’s and the country’s pivotal moments, including the history of its independence from Spain and later reforms, as well as the Mexican revolution.
Address: Avenida Madero Poniente, #63, Morelia
3 Santuario de Guadalupe
Santuario de Guadalupe
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Don’t let the fact that its exterior looks a little plain prevent you from visiting the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, known locally as Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. After walking the long cobblestone path leading to this 18th-century church, pop your head inside, and you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of one of the most spectacular church interiors in Mexico. Widely regarded as a national treasure, the interior was sumptuously decorated in the brightest of colors by European and native craftsmen, including countless fine plaster rosettes rising up the walls to the gold leaf covered ceiling. Once you’ve had your fill of this remarkable building, visit the nearby Church of St. Francis, built around 1540 and the city’s oldest sacral building. Of note are the entrance façade, built in the Renaissance style with Plateresque elements, and the bell-tower with its small dome covered with azulejos.
Address: Vasco de Quiroga, Morelia, MICH
4 Clavijero Palace
Clavijero Palace Share:
Opposite Colegio de San Nicolás, part of the city’s old university, stands the massive Clavijero Palace and its large courtyard. Named after the Jesuit teacher Francisco Javier de Clavijero, part of this immense complex is the Iglesia de la Compañía, a Jesuit church built in 1681 that now houses the city’s Public Library (Biblioteca Pública). Also of interest – especially for those with a sweet tooth – is the Mercado de Dulces, also known as the Sweet Market, famous for its many sugary delights including candied coconut and sweetened fruits and vegetables, as well as traditional local handicrafts.
5 The Church of Santa Rosa de Lima
The Church of Santa Rosa de Lima
The Church of Santa Rosa de Lima Enrique López-Tamayo Biosca / photo modified Share:
Another of Morelia’s religious sites worthy of a visit is the Church of Santa Rosa de Lima tucked away in an attractive little square not far from the city center. Constructed in the late 16th century, the church is notable for its exquisite double portal showing Renaissance influences, while the upper façade and the gilded and painted retablos are dominated by the Baroque style in its Churrigueresque form. A conservatoire, the oldest college of music in America, adjoins the church.
Address: Santiago Tapia, #334, Morelia