Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Morelia is a wonderful place for a pilgrim to explore his soul, as well as to restore his energy.

Morelia not only has one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in Mexico. Morelia is a unique city, and one of  the most beautiful cultural communities in the world.

View of the Plaza de Armas and the
Catedral de Morelia, from the 3rd floor
balcony of the former Virrey de Mendoza
Mansion, now a hotel.

If you look out someday from the balcony of the former Virrey de Mendoza Mansion, and feast your eyes on  the Plaza de Armas park underneath you, and  la Catedral in front of you, for all practical purposes you are seeing the same skyline as the owners of this mansion enjoyed 300 years ago, and in this sense, Morelia is a uniquely preserved jewel of the Nueva España. If you have enough imagination to block out the sounds of the cars and buses passing by, and the telltale signs of the 20th century such as the electric lamp poles and telephones wires, you have been able not only to travel 250 miles from Mexico City, but 250 years into the past. Anyone who treasures their sanity today, needs an occasional escape to a place like Morelia.

Sidewalk café along the arched
passageways surrounding the
Plaza de las Armas, Morelia

A pilgrim today needs the same conditions that the monks of Mount Carmel centuries ago, or the first followers of Saint Benedict at Monte Cassino: peace. To get away from the stress of everyday life: the cellphone, the chats, the e-mails, the computer, traffic, fast food and fast living. A warm bowl of tortilla soup and then a dish of fresh fried tiny charales fish from the local lakes with a delicious fresh salad of avocados with tomatoes seasoned with lemon juice, all grown locally here in Michoacan, will warm the heart of any pilgrim. Prayer and meditation makes a pilgrim hungry.

The dining room of the Virrey de Mendoza
overlooks Francisco Madero Avenue on one
side and Plaza de Armas on the other side.
The windows have hand-carved wooden shutters
and lace curtains, creating the ambience of
another time, and the elegance of tables with 
white tablecloths.

The Tiffany skylight covers the lobby of the
 former Virrey de Mendoza mansion.

The Central covered-Courtyard lobby of the
former Virrey de Mendoza  mansion with its
granite stone-carved archways and columns.

A view from the open arched passageways on
the second floor down on the covered courtyard
of the old colonial mansion of the Virrey de Mendoza.

The 3rd floor balcony of the Virrey de Mendoza
served also as a veranda dinning room, with its
exquisite collection of antique porcelain in the
China closet in the background.
Suite at the former Virrey de Mendoza mansion
and nowadays Hotel with hardwood floors, carved
stone archways, jacquard bedspread and matching
curtains, wooden window frames with matching
 indoor shutters, and period furnishing
In Spanish, we have a adjective that describes Morelia perfectly: una ciudad señorial, a majestic city. My frequent references in this article to the Virrey de Mendoza is not our recommendation of this establishment as a hotel. Recommending hotels is beyond the scope of our blogOur interest in the Virrey of Mendoza is more in this building, for its history, and for its majesty, as the archetype of the city mansion of a country landlord during the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries in Michoacan. The Altamirano family had the most suitable home in Valladolid on this property as early as 1565, when Vasco de Quiroga came through this town. Then Don Manuel Gómez de Revuelta bought the property in 1737, and finished the mansion as we know it today in 1743 (except for the 3rd floor, which was an addition made in the 1930's, when the mansion was bought by an insurance company and turned into the Virrey de Mendoza Hotel). During the 17th and 18th centuries, large landowners like the Gomez de Revuelta families held homes in the cities such as Morelia, which they considered safer, more comfortable and more appropriate for their wives and children.

Estela practicing on the piano in
the courtyard of the Virrey de Mendoza
mansion and hotel.

The Plaza de las Armas is a tranquil park with
fountains, situated along Francisco Madero
Avenue, the main street of Morelia,
between the Cathedral and the
Virrey de Mendoza.

The Plaza de Armas with the
Virrey de Mendoza overlooking
the park

Granite fountain and giant scrubs in
la Plaza de Armas 

Once the pilgrim has found a fitting respite, be it in the Virrey de Mendoza or other similar inn, we are ready for the great pilgrimage, to the most beautiful cathedral in Mexico: La Catedral de Morelia.

The aqueduct of Morelia ends in the
Fuente de las Tarascas 

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