Pueblos Magicos: Pátzcuaro, Michoacán is Known as the “Door to Heaven”
The natives from the area use to say that Pátzcuaro was the place where heaven’s doors opened and the gods ascended to the sky. Its original name Tzacapu-ansucutinpatzcuaro actually means “door to heaven”.
In 1540, Don Vasco de Quiroga moved the bishop of Michoacán from Tzintzuntzan to Pátzcuaro, turning it into the capital of Michoacán. The town is a true jewel of colonial architecture where one can appreciate religious monuments from the baroque and neoclassic eras. Most of the town’s buildings have adobe walls and tiled roofs that in combination with its fountains and plazas have allowed it to retain its original colonial essence.
The town’s artisanal landscape consists woodwork, forged steel, copper, tin, pottery and textiles. The town is well known for its production of colonial style wooden furniture, cork products, metal artwork, artistic jewelry, and religious figures. The region also has two archeological zones, Ihatzio and Tzintzuntzan, as well as lakes, forests and mountains that provide visitors with a variety of adventure tourism opportunities.
On November 1st and 2nd the town puts on a spectacular indigenous “Noche de Muertos” (Day of the Dead) celebration that has achieved international recognition. As part of this celebration, the towns people decent onto the municipal cemetery to leave ornate offerings to their diseased friends and relatives.
The cuisine from Michoacán is well known throughout Mexico. In Pátcuaro you can sample a variety of types of tamales, one of Michoacán’s gastronomical staples. Other regional dishes include acúmara; a white fish that is famous in the region, and tarasca soup; a soup made out of tortilla, cheese, and tomato sauce.
The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. There are currently 52 destinations throughout Mexico that have earned the Pueblos Magicos classification.