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The Yacatas of Tzintzuntzan

POWER REFLECTED IN THE WATER

The capital of the great Purépecha empire was Tzintzuntzan, whose name means "place of hummingbirds". The city, which is estimated to have 40,000 inhabitants, dates from around 1325 and was founded by the cacique Tariácuri, the first great Purépecha king; who united the rival tribes that inhabited the region of the great lake of Patzcuaro in a tripartite league made up of Tzintzuntzan, Ihuatzio and Patzcuaro.

From Tzintzuntzan was administered the empire that extended from the southern part of the state of Guanajuato, to the lower course of the Balsas River in the state of Guerrero, and from the highlands of Toluca to the region of Lake Chapala in Jalisco.

The Purépecha temple-pyramids are known as yácatas. The oldest ones only had a rectangular body, but the last ones that were built added round buildings at the top; this is the case of those found in Tzintzuntzan, unified as a huge construction that was used to celebrate religious ceremonies.

On the edge of the building have been buried important characters, accompanied by offerings with everyday objects and jewelry of surprising manufacture.

But again, the Purépechas, are distinguished from the rest of the cultures of Mexico, because their construction methods are sui generis for the time. The interior of the yácatas consisted not of stones and earth, as in the pyramids of other towns, but in loose layers of stones covered later with carved tombstones coming from a volcanic stone called yanamu, and joined with clay.

Unfortunately, of the five yácatas that existed on the platform of 425 meters long by 250 meters wide, most are now only ruins, with the abandonment and passing of time some of the most important factors in their deterioration.

Even so, the Yacatas of Tzintzuntzan, survive as the architectural testimony of a civilization that was more than a powerful empire, but an extraordinary culture that is part of the peculiar face of the Michoacan people today.

¿Qué Visitar?

What to Visit?

  • Saint Francis Temple Built between 1530 and 1540, but it was completely finished until the early seventeenth century under the supervision of Friar Pedro de Pila.
  • Yacatas Archaeological Site characterized especially for its five rectangular buildings approximately 12 meters high.
  • Temple of Our Lady of Solitude Built in the seventeenth century, this temple holds a venerated image among the locals and which is known as "Our Lord of the Holy Burial."
  • La Pacanda Island Beautiful Island located in the Patzcuaro Lake and where it is possible to take a ride in bicycle to admire its buildings and culture.
¿Qué hacer?

What to do?

  • Las Yácatas formed the basis of the temples where the major gods of the Tarascan people, including Curicaueri, were worshiped.
  • In this area not only temples were built, but also dwellings for priests and people.
¿Qué Saber?

What to Know?

  • Las Yácatas formed the basis of the temples where the major gods of the Tarascan people, including Curicaueri, were worshiped.
  • In this area not only temples were built, but also dwellings for priests and people.
Galería - Las yácatas de Tzintzuntzan

Tour through Archaeological Sites Yácatas de Tzintzuntzan with this photographs.

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Yácatas de Tzintzuntzan

All you must know about Yácatas de Tzintzuntzan here, in our audio guide.

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