Morelia was founded in 1541 as the City of Michoacan. In 1545 the name was changed to Valladolid and in1580 it was made the capital of Michoacan state. The name was changed again in 1828 to honor the war hero born here (Jose Maria Morelos).
Today, Morelia has a population of over 600,000 people and has been designated a world heritage site since 1991. The historic downtown area known as the Centro Historico encompass 150 blocks and has hundreds of historically significant buildings which are prime examples of Spanish colonial architecture.
Morelia Historical Sites
- The Cathedral - Built with pink volcanic stone between 1640 & 1744 . . . the cathedral is said to be the most beautiful in all of Mexico. Its massive size and baroque architecture strike a balance between the imposing structure and the proportion of its towers. The beautiful facade, the 4600 pipe organ, carved wooden choir stalls and silver baptismal font (where Mexico's first emperor was baptized) . . . words just can't describe the whole adequately.
- The Palacio de Gobierno was begun in 1734 and finished in 1770 (Av. Madero 63).
- The College of San Nicolas de Hidalgo can be found on Madero & Nigromante. Founded in 1540 and moved to Morelia in 1580 the college became the University of Michoacan in 1917.
- The Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus is located across from the university (now a library) and the attached convent (now government offices), the Palacio Clavijero is one of the most photographed sites in Morelia.
- Just down the street from here is a former Dominican convent, now the Conservatorio de las Rosas music school (since 1785). Home of the Morelia Boys Choir, concert information is available inside. If you come by during the week in the afternoon you may be able to hear them practicing inside.
- The convent of El Carmen (built in 1597) is now the home of Instituto Michoacano de Cultura. Home to concerts, exhibits (you can check the calendar there), book store and gallery.
- The convent of Santa Catarina that dates from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
- The 1775 Museo Regional Michoacano(Allende 305 near Abasolo). Covers what is known about Morelia's history from pre-conquest times to the 1900's.
- Casa Museo de Morelos is the house where Jose Maria Morelos was born (now used as a museum). Exhibits include artifacts from the independence movement and photos. Located on Av. Morelos Sur 323.
- The convent of La Merced (1613)
- The convent of San Agustin (1550)
- The convent of San Francisco (1513)
Parque Zoologico Benito Juarez - The largest zoo in Mexico. Located on Calzada Juarez s/n
Casa de las Artesanias del Estado de Michoacan - In the 1500's, the Bishop of Michoacan (Vasco de Quiroga) came up with an idea to help the local indigenous population become self supporting by developing arts and crafts for sale. The Museo Michoacana de las Artesanias ia a museum and store. Located on Fray Juan de San Miguel 129.