The most surprising ancient civilization settlement in Michoacan

Posada de Don Vasco

The mystical ancient civilization settlement in Patzcuaro, Michoacan

06 Mar 2020
A lack of funds results in revealing only 10% of this ancient civilization settlement: Ihuatzio.

Curicaueri is the name of the God of fire, war and father of the Sun. While Xaratanga is the new moon and was related to agriculture being the responsible for germination and growth as the daughter of Cuerauperi, which is the name given to Mother Earth.

Every person that loves mysticism and amazement, who are interested in being swept away in every trip, needs to visit Patzcuaro for sure. Full of surprises and magical spots that will dazzle both your imagination and your senses.

One of the many wonders that make Patzcuaro the most fascinating, interesting, and beautiful of the Pueblos Magicos in Mexico is for sure the ancient civilization settlement of Ihuatzio.   

Ancient civilization settlement Ihuatzio

This archaeological site in Patzcuaro, Michoacan was named Ihuatzio which means “The house of Coyotes” or “Place of Coyotes”, in Purepecha dialect. Coyotes are one of the main animals found in the zone and this lead the place to change its name from Yacatecharo to be known today as the archaeological site of Ihuatzio.

The Purepechas were a first-order Mesoamerican power that resisted the pressure of the Aztec empire, also known as Mexica. 

An interesting fact to keep in mind is that the oldest members of this community solely spoke Purepecha dialect, language that has no relation to any other in the region. 

The Purepechas arrival to Patzcuaro lake gave them power and domain of the region that allowed them to consolidate a strong and confederate state of which Ihuatzio was the first headquarters. 

At its greatest splendor this Purepecha bastion had around 150 hectares where approximately 84 structures were identified. From all these and due to a lack of funds, only 7 have been exposed. Most of this ancient civilization settlement remains a mystery. The visiting area, Plaza de Armas, you can access all seven. 

The archeological site in Patzcuaro, Michoacan was used as a ceremonial site and astronomical observatory until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. 

It’s been hard to determine precisely who, when and how these were built. Although there are some notions and theories, the mystery about these surprising architectonic chambers remains. 

Paradoxically, its construction system is said to be quite rudimentary while various descriptive definitions are found about their astonishing structures. However, there are no matching theories from investigators about how, when and who created these buildings.   

Main structures at the ancient civilization settlement of Ihuatzio 

Located on an open space in the immediate vicinity of the Patzcuaro Lake that include an imposing wall and 2 great pyramids or “Yacatas” (that means “pile of stones” in Purepecha dialect) which represent “Curicaueri” and “Xaratanga” respectively. 

To take dimension of the magnitude of these structures… an 87 meter long, 37.5 meter wide and 1.5 meter tall platform was built just for the base of these two pyramids.   

This ancient civilization settlement in Patzcuaro was part of war battles against a powerful enemy, it’s covered with mysticism and the enigma of its locations.

Curicaueri and Xaratanga Pyramids 

The pyramids at this archeological site are dedicated to Curicaueri and Xaratanga, but who are they?

Curicaueri means “great fire” in Purepecha dialect, it’s the name of the God of fire, God of war and Father of the Sun; considered the first deity of the community.

Xaratanga is the new moon, related to agriculture being the responsible for germination and growth as the daughter of Cuerauperi, which is the name given to Mother Earth. Worshiping dances were held, and fruit, quails and silver offers were given since this metal was considered the lunar secretion of Xaratanga.

Special dates

Enough time should be considered to visit this ancient civilization settlement on any time of the year, however, now a days there are two particular dates when festivities are held:

  • October 4th, when tribute is paid to San Francisco de Asis, patron of the community. 

  • The Carnival, a series of parties that happen a week before Ash Wednesday every year.

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