Friday, October 21, 2011

Mexico: Historic Centre of Morelia and Good Friday Procesión del Silencio

After spending the night in Queretaro, we took an early morning bus at 4 a.m. to Morelia, the capital of Michoacán. The state of Michoacán covers the former territory of the Purépechas, a people of skilled artisans and warriors that was never conquered by the Aztecs. Morelia, when it was established in 1541, was called Valladolid. It was renamed after the Mexican War of Independence in honor of José María Morelos, one of Mexico's national heroes.

As soon as we arrived in Morelia, we left our stuff at the guarda equipaje (baggage storage) at the bus station and took a cab to the centro historico. Like many of Mexico's old cities, the centro historico of Morelia was easy to explore and we gave ourselves half a day to walk around the Historic Centre of Morelia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cab dropped us off at the massive Catedral, built between 1660 and 1744. Flanked by two plazas, the three-nave sandstone cathedral dominates the skyline of Morelia's centro historico with its two 70 meter-high bell towers.

We got to visit several churches including the Templo de San Agustin, Templo de la Merced, Templo de las Rosas, Templo del Carmen, Templo de San Jose, Templo de San Francisco, Templo de las Monjas and the Templo de la Cruz. Talk about church overload! But unfortunately, we missed the best one, the Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe which is a further away from the cathedral, near the historic aqueduct. The lavish decorations inside the church created in the early 20th century were molded from clay and combine Art Noveau and Baroque elements.

For those with a sweet tooth, you can pass by the Mercado de Dulces y Artesianas, a sweets market behind the Centro Cultural de Clavijero.

Walking around Morelia was quite straightforward and easy as long as you have a map. After an early lunch, we found ourselves hopping on a bus again, this time to Mexico City for a brief transit to the south of Mexico. More photos in the Ivan About Town Facebook page.

Procesión del Silencio on Good Friday
During Semana Santa, Morelia is famous for its Procesión del Silencio which departs from the Calzada Fray Antonio de San Miguel at 7:30 p.m. and goes through Avenida Madero, Catedral, Quintana Roo, Allende, Plaza Valladolid and ends at the Templo de Capuchinas.
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