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Uruapán and its region
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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Uruapán, located at 1,620 m (5,315 feet) of altitude, is the second most populated city in Michoacán State. It is known for the production of excellent avocados; it is located at 52 km from Pátzcuaro and 102 km from Morelia. You can reach it via the highway Morelia-Pátzcuaro-Uruapán or via the federal road # 15, starting in Carapán, and going to Chéran, Aranza, Paracho and Capácuaro; further, another road leads to the Volcano Paricutín. A violent eruption occurred on February, 20th, 1943. You can also reach the vestiges of the temple of San Juan Parangaricutiro, covered with lava such as one part of the village. It is also possible to go to the villages of Zacán, Peribán, Los Reyes and Zamora. Because of the altitude, the climate is pleasant and the vegetation luxuriant.

The name Uruapán comes from the purépecha vocabulary "urapani", meaning "the blooming and the carpophore of a plant at the same time". It was translated by "the place where everything blossoms".
It is the reason the orchard of Michoacán is called “the world Capital of avocado". The town became a city in 1858, and was called "Uruapán del Progreso". However, the most deserved title is the "real birthplace of enamel", because of the production of cups, masks and other wooden objects, artistically adorned with this technique dating from the Pre-Hispanic time and consisting in covering each piece with a mix of vegetal and animal oils and sprayed minerals. When drying, one obtains a hard glazed surface on which are designed decorative designs with different colors as needed. The results show the exemplary mastery and artistic sensibility of the artisans of Uruapán.

When the Spanish arrived, Pre-Hispanic people lived there. The Fanciscan monks evangelized the region. Fray Juan de San Miguel distinguished himself by his work as an evangelist and as a city planner, the creation of neighborhoods and the unification of the peoples of Uruapán. He is considered as the founder of the city in 1534.
Among the many attractions of Uruapán, there are magnificent historic monuments such as "la Parroquia Franciscana", with some walls dating from the seventeenth century and a plateresque door which was once on the main facade; "La Huatápera"and the chapels of the neighborhoods of Magdalena, San Francisco (better known as San Francisquillo), San Juan Bautista, San Pedro, San Miguel et Santiago are also worth a visit. In different places of the city, there are works of important artists of Michoacán, such as the paintings of Alfredo Zalceat at the Manuel Ocaranza School and at the Civil Hospital Dr. Jesús Silva and such as the Mural of Manuel Coronado in the National Park.

Recommended visits :

Museo Regional La Huatápera : It is said that the founder of this former hospital is Fray Juan de San Miguel. La Huatápera is part of the institutions started by Vasco de Quiroga. These places have been the support of the social, educative, religious and support life in the villages of the old diocese of Michoacán. It mixes the plateresque and mudéjar styles; the fine bas-reliefs of the facade of the chapel have been carved by Indigenous. The ensemble comprises a magnificent courtyard with a square cross as well as an "L" shaped disciplinary unit with portals, built with the traditional materials of the region: wood, tiles, volcanic rocks and quarry. Nowadays, it houses the Museo Popular, with nice collections of craft from the state, such as the fantastic cedar enamels called « maque » and very famous in the area (open 9:30 AM-1:30 PM and 3:30-6 PM, Tue-Sun, free entrance).

Temple of Saint Francisco : It dates from the foundation of a group of hospitals that gave origin to the city. Even having undergone several restorations, it still has a back facade in a plateresque style worth the visit.

Martyrs’ Square : It is located in front of San Francisco temple and got its name from the monument set up there, in 1893, to honor the memory of the Martyrs of Uruapán; five republicans, among them the Generals Carlos Zalazar and José Ma. Arteaga, have been sacrificed by the imperialists on October, 21st 1865.

Museum Municipal “Eduardo Ruiz”: There are exhibitions of Pre-Hispanic objects as well as objects more recent such as photographs, prints, manuscripts and other things belonging to the historian and writer Eduardo Ruiz, native of Uruapán. The museum shares the building with the Cultural House of the City.

National Park “Eduardo Ruiz”: It is the unique national park inside a city in Mexico. The Cupatitzio River rises up there. In Purepecha, Cupatitzio means "River that sings". This place is known for the beauty of the flora, the crystal waters and for the legend of “La Rodilla del Diablo" (The Devil’s knee) told by the local children. It is a model of landscape architecture with shaded trails, bridges, falls and flower beds.

El Parque Nacional de Uruapán es unos de los mas hermosos en todo mexico, y este parque se encuentra en pleno centro de la ciudad. Nice video about the National Park “Eduardo Ruiz”, located inside the city of Uruapán

Market of "Antojitos": You can taste every meal of the region in this typical place located behind the Huatápera. The installations are clean and the prices are affordable.

Handcraft Market : It is located in front of the National Park; you can find various enameled wooden objects, local basketwork and many other handicrafts from the surroundings, such as decorative objects, fabrics and music instruments, including the worldwide known guitars of Paracho.

Map of the city of Uruapán :


The surroundings

Located 38 km (23 miles) from Uruapán, this village is really proud of the violins and guitars made in the workshops of its stringed-instrument makers. It is the centre of the Plateau Purépecha. Before reaching the village, you can hear the harmonious sounds of the guitars and stringed-instruments made there. They are world famous because of the excellent quality. You can also find everyday use objects, ornamental objects and traditional toys.

Production of guitars in
Paracho with some nice views about the region. Comments in spanish.
Fairs : Fería Nacional de la Guitarra or National Guitar Fair (2nd week in August).
Handicraft : Guitar, violin, cello, double-bass and mandolin as well as wooden handicraft such as furniture, toys and masks.

Recommended visits :

The handicraft workshops where you can admire the wonderful work made from wood.

The House of the Culture

The Center for the Investigation and Development of the Guitar (CIDEG)

The Museum of the Guitar

Santiago Tingambato is located 37 km (23 miles) from Pátzcuaro lake on the road to Uruapán. On its southern side, there is the archaeological zone called "Tinganio", meaning “the place of lukewarm” in Purépecha. This is in reference to the climate but also to the social environment and the feelings of the people.
According to the archaeologists, this place was built before the places founded by the Tarascs; it shows two stages in the construction: the first stage dating from 450 to 600 A.D. (with the arrival of the population and the construction of the ceremonial center) and a second stage, dating from 600 to 900 A.D. (with a strong influence of the civilization of Teotihuacán).
After investigations, it has been concluded that it was a Pre-Hispanic city because of the two distinct spaces : the religious center and the civil-administrative center. There is also a funerary building with a new style and some indications of trade with foreign people in the cult, market, fairs and handicraft production.

Recommended visits :

Archaeological zone ($35)

Temple of Santiago Apóstol dating from the seventeenth century

The picturesque village of Angahuan is located 37 km (23 miles) from Uruapán. It is one of the places of the Sierra de Michoacán that has conserved its original aspect, with wooden houses (Trojes) and shingled roofs ("tejamanil"). Here is the "Capilla del Hospital", of Moorish style, dating from mid-sixteenth century. It shows an atrium cross made of stone, a beautiful work with the mark of the indigenous hands. You can also visit the Parish Temple of Santiago Apóstol, dating from the sixteenth century, of plateresque style.
Top of the Church of San Juan ParangaricutiroIn this village, you can find guides to go to the top of the volcano Paricutín or to the ruins of the village of San Juan Parangaricutiro, buried beneath lava, after the 1943 eruption (only the top of the church has not been buried).
The hike to the volcano is strenuous. They also offer horse rides to approach the volcano.

     Right picture : Top of the Church of San Juan Parangaricutiro

The volcano Paricutin is a recent volcano. A farmer saw the initial eruption in his field. It is 2,800 m (8,200 ft) high. You can still see the old church, partly buried.

The contrast of the grey volcano with the green vegetation is worth the detour, even just for a picture !

A new "San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro" was built 17 km (10 miles) from Uruapán, in 1944 after the eruption of the volcano. It doesn’t have a lot of cultural and tourist interest.

Map of the state :

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