Built in the 16th century, Morelia is an outstanding example of urban planning which combines the ideas of the Spanish Renaissance with the Mesoamerican experience. More than 200 historic buildings, all in the region's characteristic pink stone, reflect the town's architectural history.
The Historic Center of Morelia is located in central Mexico, at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental and near the agricultural valley of Morelia-Querendaro. Built in the 16th century according to a "checkerboard" layout, Morelia is an outstanding example of urban development combining town planning theories of Spain and the Mesoamerican experience. Well suited to the slopes of the central hill of the valley, its streets follow the original layout.
The city has major axes, numerous urban squares, of which the vast rectangular Zocalo Plaza, and gardens that create an open, airy ensemble with magnificent vistas of the surrounding hills.
The central part of the Historic Center of Morelia includes 249 monuments of prime importance, of which 21 churches and 20 civil constructions, which crystallize the architectural history of the city. The sobriety of the urban townscape is enhanced by many Baroque facades characteristic of the religious foundations, including the cathedral and the churches of Santa Rosa, de las Monjas and Guadelupe.
Although the majority of the monuments were erected in the 17th and 18th centuries, styles of earlier and later periods (Middle Ages, Renaissance and Neoclassicism) merge in the creation of the "Baroque Moreliano". Together, they form a harmonious unity that reinforces the measured use of architectural elements in pink stone, the numerous arcades and imposing towers and cupolas covered with azulejos that dominate the city.
Founded in the 16th century under the name of Valladolid, the city was, at the beginning of the 19th century, one of the main centers of the struggle for independence of the country. Two priests received notoriety: Miguel Hidalgo and José María Morelos. It is to the glory of the latter, a native of Valladolid, that the city was renamed Morelia in 1828.