Morelia is a magnificent city with impressive buildings, palaces, churches, and other emblematical monuments of colonial architecture in Mexico. In addition, it brings together all the variety and excellence of the state of Michoacan, including gastronomy through dishes of pre-Hispanic essence. Located on the Rio Grande de Morelia banks between Mexico City and Guadalajara, here are the five reasons travelers should visit Morelia.
Your trip should start downtown, and a must-do tour is to visit its majestic Cathedral. The temple is made of pink quarry materials, and on the outside, its two colossal bell towers measuring 220 feet are the fourth highest in Mexico. Its enormous central organ is considered the second largest in all of Mexico. Inside, the church is equally spectacular, where important biblical passages in oil paintings stand out, including the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, considered the patron saint of the Cathedral of Morelia and the city, as well as the enormous silver Manifesto that is located on the main altar.
If you have a chance to take a walk in the evening, every Saturday there’s a light and sound show with the Cathedral in the background, which is truly unique. The production is assembled by the same company in charge of the lighting of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Government Palace
Morelia has beautiful palaces that have been the scene of notable events in the history of the Mexican nation. In front of the Cathedral, you will find the Government Palace of Michoacán. This beautiful eighteenth-century baroque building was the headquarters of the Tridentine Seminary, and Agustin de Iturbide and José María Morelos passed through its halls, among other students who would make history. In the Legislative Palace, a nineteenth-century building of French lines, Miguel Hidalgo signed in 1810 the decree abolishing slavery in Mexico. The building is one of the most recognizable in town, including three impressive courtyards. Inside you will find murals painted by famous Mexican artists that depict historical scenes of this great country.
This imposing aqueduct built in the eighteenth century to supply water to Morelia is one of the city’s most important and best-preserved civil works. One of the city’s most important landmarks was built to replace the previous canal built in the 16th century and is comprised of 253 arches that measure 30 feet high. The one-mile aqueduct served the city until 1910. Distinguished by its unique pink hue, the result of using locally quarried rock. We recommend you stroll through the cobbled trail that runs alongside the aqueduct, and experience the view at night when it’s lit up.
After walking through downtown, you can try traditional Morelian cuisine, which is strongly influenced by the culinary customs of the indigenous people and a fusion with the European culinary art brought by the Spanish conquistadors. There are plenty of local delicacies, including the world-famous Michoacan-style carnitas, among many others.
Plaza de Armas
Morelia is famously known as The City of the Pink Quarry, and its historical center shows the reasons for that name magnificently. There are more than 200 historic buildings built with the pink rock found in Michoacán. An interesting fact is that the historic center of Morelia is the only one that does not have a central square or zocalo among all the Mexican colonial cities. Designed according to the best tradition of Spanish urbanism of the sixteenth century, the Cathedral, several palaces, the old hospital, and other beautiful structures stand out in the traditional Morelian town. The Plaza de Armas is the largest square in the city, and here you will find approximately 200 buildings with World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
The Sanctuary of Guadalupe
Across the street from Plaza Morelos is the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, which may not seem extraordinary on the outside. Still, inside, I would say that it is one of the most beautiful churches you will ever see. It was decorated by local artisans, where the floral details stand out, as well as ornaments and clay sculptures. In the center is the image of the temple’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, to whom thousands of faithful come to celebrate her birthday every December.
Whether you choose to visit as a day trip or for an extended getaway, this beautiful city will delight you. Morelia awaits you with these attractions and plenty more.
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