Zona Arqueologica Tzintzuntzan
Zona Arqueologica Tzintzuntzan Reviews
The ancient capital of the P'urhepecha Aug 30, 2011
Before travelling to Michoacan, I had no idea there were precolumbian ruins in these lands. But it makes sense, as it was home to second largest empire by the time of the Spanish arrival: the P'urhepecha empire.
They were a peaceful people, but were not conquest by the aztecs, as they managed to defeat the armies of Moctezuma II with a unique strategy and deep knowledge of the land.
The conquest attempt was a failure by the aztecs, and they suffered the consequences later, as the purepechas refused to aid the Aztecs when they were destroyed by the Spanish. The last purhepecha caltzonzin (king) Tangaxoan II surrender peacefully to the Spanish conquistador Cristobal de Olid, but was later put to death by the infamous Nuño de Guzmán.
Fortunately the time of abuse did not last long, as the Almighty Providence sent Bishop Vasco de Quiroga to Michoacán, to help on the conversion of the indigenous people. As I said on my Patzcuaro entry, Vasco de Quiroga transformed the indians into skilled craftsmen, and the fruits of his work can still be seen today, almost 500 years after his arrival.
The ancient city of Tzintzuntzan was buried for a very long time, until recently, when excavation work allowed the finding of the temple area, where sacrifices were held. It consists of five "butterfly" shaped pyramids, in front of a large arena where the crowd seated to witness the religious ceremony. Only the priest and the caltzonzin were allowed to go on top of the pyramid.
The pyramids were found in a bad state of destruction, but are being rebuilt now with the aid of archeologists and volunteers. I think this is very interesting, and will help boost turism in the area.
I had a tour guide who explained me the details of the constructions and the history of the purepecha people (also called tarascos by the Spaniards).
These ruins are a definitively a must if you are in Michoacán. You won't be dissapointed.
Part of the Magia Michoacana travel blog
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