Uruapan, Michoacán was founded in 1547 by Fry Juan de San Miguel. The sixteenth century city results from the amalgamation of nine barrios. Today, there are six, since San Lorenzo dropped out many years ago. The barrios are; La Trinidad, San Francisco, San Juan Evangelista, San Pedro, Santa Maria Magdalena and San Miguel. Each barrio has its own celebration with ceremonies, parades and gastronomical treats. During the celebrations of Semana Santa (Holy Week) each evening dancers perform in pre-Hispanic costumes. Uruapan is 5,315 feet above sea level which results in a moderate climate. According to the 2010 census of INEGI (Mexico’s Secretary of Geography and statistics) Uruapan has a population of315, 350. The many nearby villages push that figure to over a half million.
Attractions (In the city):
The Huatapera was originally called, Hospital Real de la Purisma Concepcion. Established by Juan de San Miguel it is the first hospital constructed in the Americas. Today, it houses a display of tradition l arts, crafts and historicalcal items.
Mercado de Antojitos is the place to go in order to taste gastronomical delights of Michoacan. Located behind the Huatepero, you can enjoy such dishes as; atole, pozole, churundas and carnitas. Zucchini blossoms are used in soups during the season.
Café la Lucha has been serving coffee and pastries for nine decades from the same location. Go in one door and you will see a coffee shop with a Mexican flavor. IN the other door you can order beans, whole or ground. At the back you can see beans, some from Michoacn being roasted.
Casa de La Cultura is across the pedestrian walkway from Café Lucha. It has said to be the oldest building in the community. Since its construction it has been a hospital a city hall and now the center for culture. During the year concerts are presented here and also exhibits of paintings, photography and crafts by local artisans.
The Main Plaza is known as the Plaza de Martires de Uruapan and is four blocks long. Music and dance concerts are presented in the “Pergola” During Semana Santa (Holy Week) the four block long plaza is the site for one of the largest exposition of artisans in Mexico.
Two important churches are located at each end of the street across from the main plaza. These are Inmaculada and San Francisco. The former has large statues on its roof. These were removed during the “Cristo War.” In the other you will see a large mural. It was painted in 1958 by the Persian muralist Schidell. Another of his works is in the Guitar library in Paracho a few miles outside the city. One of his students supervised the creation of a two story wall inside Corregidora 10. It is a private home.
Three Parks are located in the center of the city. La Rana is the smallest. It is named after the frog fountain located there. Although small the parks hosts many cultural events during the year. For special occasions the indigenous Purepecha people set up an outdoor restaurant and cook traditional dishes over wood fires. It is located at the opposite (one block long) end of Calle Corregidora from the Mercado de Antijito and in front of the library.
Barranca del Cupatitzio National Park (Parque Nacional), located in the center of Uruapan and is the second most visited park in Mexico. The Cupatitzio River rushes through the center and has numerous canals. The park features literally hundreds of waterfalls, some made by man and most by nature. Water spurts out the lava rock on one bank of the river. It has a tremendous variety of flora and fauna, including a type of floribunda said to grow nowhere else in the world… The 450 hectare park was founded in 1938, after the land was bought by the government to create a recreation area.
Parque Lineal (Lineal Park) is the newest of the three having been opened a few years ago. It is a long narrow extension of the Parque Nacional. It too is rich in plant growth. If you walk to the end you will come out at Fabrica de San Pedro. This is an antique cotton mill that worked 24/7 during W.W.11 making material for parachutes and army uniforms. More recently foot weavers produced cloth for bed spreads, table cloths, napkins and other fine products.
WATCH FOR PART 2 FEATURING URUAPAN’s MANY FESTIVALS and NEARBY (day trip) attractions