The historiated skies of the Purépecha tableland

Nurio

Faith and history

“The Churches of the Saints shine like the stars in the firmament and the inside of the church also has a sky, and within this vault, the saints are illuminated”.

A unique tour in Mexico. A tour of the chapels and temples where between the 16th and 18th centuries, indigenous artists interpreted the sacred texts in exquisite polychrome coffered ceilings. This is what the historiated skies of Michoacán are like.

Many of the churches are dedicated to Santiago, depicted astride his white horse, the same color attributed to the Purépecha god of war Curicauer or Caltzontzin or emperors. The Santiago Temple in Nurío boasts an exquisite, deep blue choir loft with angels and musicians. But the jewel is in the Indian chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and lavishly decorated with Marian scenes in bright colors. In Cocucho, the temple is dedicated to San Bartolomé and its choir loft is considered one of the masterpieces of Michoacán’s popular baroque art. The archangels, musicians and action scenes in red, black and white featuring Santiago are astonishingly elegant.

Other chapels have a obviously didactic purpose. In Zacán, the Chapel of the Inmaculate Conception represents the litany of the Rosary, with angels and archangels surrounding the virgin. The painting, with its blue tones, is exquisitely simple. The Santiago Apóstol Chapel in Charapan is painted in a similar naïf style, with the apostles featuring prominently in the wooden vault. The San Miguel Arcángel Chapel in Pomacuarán with its angels and archangels singing the Beatitudes is built in a completely different style.

This is probably the most poignant artistic tour of Michoacán. The artists have skillfully transformed emotion into art. If you like art, these are a must-see.

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We recommend

  • Hire an expert guide for the tour. If you decide to go on your own, the chapels are usually open. If not, always ask at the City Hall or check with any of the city authorities.

Great for...

Live it

  • In the morning
  • In the afternoon

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  • #history
  • #DonVascoRoute
  • #WeAreMichoacan
  • #TheSoulofMexico
  • #Mexico
  • #picoftheday
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Domicilio conocido. Nurio, Paracho

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