Sunday, December 07, 2008

Parque Nacional Eduardo Ruiz - Uruapan

Uruapan is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. Its main natural attraction is the Cupatitzio River ("the river that sings"), because along its flow are tourist attractions. The National Park Eduardo Ruiz is home of "La Rodilla del Diablo", the source of the river which travels through the city and out toward "La Tzaráracua" and "La Tzararacuita", waterfalls on the southern outskirts of the city, and flows into the Presa Infernillo and eventually the Pacific Ocean.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Art and Sol

Art and Sol - a New York Times article


Photographs by Trujillo/Paumier

On my second morning in Erongarícuaro, I rose at dawn and slipped out of a converted stable room into the gardens adjoining a vine-trellised stone house built by a Venetian countess who found her way here by horseback in the late 1930s. The air was cool, a pale moon lingered in the sky, and I could glimpse through trees the ‘‘infinitely beautiful lake of Pátzcuaro,’’ as that tireless early-19th-century traveler and genius Alexander von Humboldt described it. Still half asleep, suffused with a residual buzz from mescal sipped on the erstwhile contessa’s veranda the night before, I let myself out through an old wooden gate and took the street called María Luisa Martínez (after a local heroine of the revolt against the Spaniards) to its end, then clambered down a path to the lake.

Link to the complete Art and Sol article

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Juan O'Gorman Mural in Patzcuaro

This article was pointed out to me by the author, Tracy Novinger, and contains much more history than I was aware of. The first time I saw the mural was on a walking tour of Patzcuaro with my Spanish teacher when 2-3 weeks of sitting in class was getting to be too much. She taught at CELEP and enjoyed telling the history of the town. The pictorial story of the history is told from top to bottom and they had recently removed the bottom bookshelves to uncover the last part.

The Juan O'Gorman Mural in Patzcuaro

This text of this study was first written and printed as a guide to be used while sitting in front of the Juan O'Gorman mural in Pátzcuaro. One can, of course, best appreciate this remarkable work of art by actually seeing it. Since this is not possible for everyone, here the study is published online with the addition of photos, many of which zoom in to specific details. Enjoy visiting the mural from the comfort of your chair, wherever you may be. Perhaps you will be privileged to someday see this monumental work in person.

Hidden away in the colonial mountain town of Pátzcuaro in the state of Michoacán, México, is the magnificent Juan O’Gorman mural titled “The History of Michoacán.” It fills the arched north wall of the public library (Biblioteca Pública Federal Gertrudis Bocanegra) on the Plaza Gertrudis Bocanegra.

The building where the library is located was part of an Augustine convent founded in 1576. In 1860 the convent was converted to secular use and in 1882 the state government sold most of it, leaving only the church that now houses the library and the annex now used as a theater. The Gertrudis Bocanegra library was inaugurated in 1938. In February of 1941 Juan O’Gorman began work on the monumental mural, which he completed in February of 1942.

The full Juan O'Gorman mural story by Tracy Novinger

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Move Over Oaxaca, Arty Michoacán Is Calling

New York Times article ..

Published: July 20, 2008

IT all started with an enormous green ceramic pineapple. Seconds after it caught my eye in the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City, I began to covet it. The label revealed that the piece had been made in Michoacán, a Mexican state along the southwest coast. Oddly enough, over the next hour, almost every time an especially fantastic object caught my attention, the provenance on the label was always the same: Michoacán.

By the time I left the museum’s overpriced gift shop, I had it all mapped out: a crafts safari though the region, foraging for the fanciful animal masks and brightly painted mermaid figurines that caught my eye.

There was one little snag: Michoacán is not only one of Mexico’s premier crafts centers; until recently, it was also home to some of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins. Less than a decade ago, its coastal highway was nicknamed Bandito Alley, and the region was overrun with marijuana fields and methamphetamine labs.

But in December 2006, just days after President Felipe Calderón was sworn into office, the government launched Operation Michoacán, sending convoys of troops to bulldoze marijuana fields and chase out gangsters and drug dealers. Drug-related violence has fallen in the last year and despite occasional flare-ups — which have been confined to gang-on-gang violence and government crackdowns — Michoacán is beginning to attract visitors besides backpackers and serious collectors.

A new highway, 37, through Michoacán has also helped, enabling travelers from beach towns like Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo to zip up to the charming colonial center of Michoacán in less than three hours. It used to take as much as eight.

A few months after Operation Michoacán was put into action, my husband, Carsten, and I drove west from Mexico City into Michoacán without incident. The only ambush was the orange-and-black clouds of monarch butterflies, fluttering above our windshield. (In March, the butterflies migrate north across Michoacán’s rolling green hills to lay eggs on the milkweed plants of the United States.) And the only indication of a lingering drug problem was a few soldiers patrolling the highway.

But what is a safari without a little adventure? The region has a reputation for a rebellious citizenry, as well as its wildly natural beauty.

The original inhabitants, the Purépecha Indians, were thought to have developed one of the most advanced pre-Columbian societies in western Mexico. Their achievements included unique T-shaped pyramids and tapestries made from hummingbird feathers. While they succeeded in fending off numerous invaders, including the mighty Aztecs, they were eventually conquered (and almost wiped out) by Spanish rifles and the famously brutal Nuño de Guzmán in the 16th century.

An ideal place to be based is Pátzcuaro, a colonial town set above a large blue lake in central Michoacán. Unlike the endless sprawl that surrounds most Mexican cities, the streets leading to Pátzcuaro are hedged by pine trees and old adobes.

The full New York Times article - 2 pages

Michoacan, Patzcuaro

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Activarte - free tours of Patzcuaro

Activarte - free tours of historical places in Patzcuaro
Posted by Georgia Conti

Thanks to Lorraine and David Mull who invited us to experience Activarte last Saturday evening. We've mentioned this group to several individuals who had not heard about them, so I thought I'd share information from their flyer.

Activarte is a group of young Mexicans who want to instill an interest and love of local history and art. It appears the primary leader is a professor of architecture, and he's joined by others who are in costume. They meet in front of the monument of Don Vasco de Quiroga in Plaza Grande at 20:30 on Saturday evenings and then proceed on a walking tour to famous places and monuments. At each site, they explain the history and/or act out a scene. Tho' in Spanish, I was able to understand enough to make the evening enjoyable and worthwhile. If you are not conversant in Spanish, you might invite someone along who can translate. We were pleased to support their efforts while being introduced to places in Patzcuaro we hadn't noticed before. And, we weren't alone: we estimated 100 people were in the group! While a few were from other cities in Mexico and Latin American countries and one couple hailed from Spain, more than half were from the Patzcuaro

These tours are free and open to the public. No RSVP needed - just show up at the statue and watch for the costumed individuals with colorful flags. Bring an umbrella in case it rains!

There are two routes, which are visited on alternating weeks. The next outings are August 9 (Route A) and 16 (Route B). Route A goes to Sagrario, Casa de los 11 Patios, Pila de San Miguel, Casa de la Real Aduana, Hospitalito, Plaza Vasco de Quiroga. Route B goes to Casa de los Escudos, Pila del Torito, Plaza Bocanegra, Bibioteca, Basilica, Museo, Colegio Jesuita, Casa del Gigante. I hope they continue beyond these dates. They started in July, perhaps as a trial to see if anyone would be interested.

You'll also find these outings and others on the yahoo calendar that David has established for us. Check it out.

From the Yahoo Group

Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Indian Mexico - Michoacan

Pictures and story from a Project Gutenberg EBook
Title: In Indian Mexico (1908)

Mexico has few large lakes, the largest, Chapala, having an area of only 1,685 square kilometers. Patzcuaro is much smaller, but far more picturesque. The form is something like a fat horseshoe; fine hills rise around it on all sides, behind which are mountain heights, with jagged outlines; pretty islands dot its waters, and twenty-two villages or towns of Tarascan indians are situated on its borders. The indians of these villages rarely use the land roads in going from town to town, commonly journeying by canoes, of a somewhat peculiar type. These are "dug outs," made from single tree trunks, and range in size from those intended for a single hunter to those which will carry ten or twelve persons. At the stern they are cut almost squarely across; at the bow they are trimmed to a slope; they are flat-bottomed and considerably wider at the bottom than above; they are dug out in such fashion that the walls are thin and almost vertical on the inner side. Buttressing pieces are left at the bottom, at two or three places, extending across the canoe and no doubt strengthening the sides; they also serve as squatting places for the passengers. The prow narrows as well as slopes upward, and a buttressing piece left in it serves as a foot-rest for the steersman, who sits in the bow, instead of in the stern. He steers by means of a long-handled paddle thrust through a loop of wood fastened to one side of the canoe. The paddles used for propulsion have handles three or four feet long, with round blades. The paddlers sometimes make their stroke on but one side of the canoe, sometimes on both. When they paddle over one side only, the stroke of the oar through the water is oblique, maintaining a steady course.

Janitzio is a more common name for Janicho

Link to the rest of this story

Lake Patzcuaro from Janicho

Tzinszunszan Churches

Santa Fe de la Laguna

Los Viejitos: Santa Fe de la Laguna

Spear fishing - Lake Patcuaro

Tarascan fishermen - Janicho

Tarascan women - Janicho

Houses in Uruapan
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Patzcuaro is the ex-capital of Michoacan and before that was Tzintzuntzan, a small town nearby dating to the Purhépecha empire in the 1300's. The museum in Patzcuaro is finding ruins in it's back yard that predates history and they are believed to be earlier than the history of Tzintzuntzan. The Purhépecha were one of the indigenous tribes that were not conquered by the Aztecs

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