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Morelia has some of the region’s most beautiful architecture, excellent food and a rich indigenous culture. The city is situated at an elevation of 1,921 meters above sea level. The Historic Downtown Area (Centro Histórico), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompasses approximately 150 city blocks at the city center, roughly corresponding to the urban area of the city at the end of the eighteenth century. The Centro Histórico contains over 1,000 historical buildings and sites.

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the region was inhabited by a people known as the Pirindas, and the place was called "Guayangareo". Morelia was officially founded on May 18, 1541, by the first viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza. It was inhabited by Spanish noble families and by Purepecha Indians brought from Pátzcuaro and Tiripetio to serve the Spanish.

In 1545, the name was changed to "Valladolid". Vasco de Quiroga, who always defended the Indians from the Spaniards, wanted the title of episcopal city to be granted to Pátzcuaro. In 1571, six years after Vasco de Quiroga's death, King Philip II upgraded Valladolid to that title. In 1580, Valladolid replaced Pátzcuaro as the capital of Michoacán.

During the colonial period a number of religious orders established themselves in the city, allowing it to take an important place in the history of art and culture in New Spain.

Important architectural sites from the colonial period include the Catedral de Morelia, the Aqueduct (built between 1785 and 1789 by Fray Antonio de San Miguel), the Governor's Palace, the Palacio Clavijero, and numerous churches, convents, and houses. The Conservatorio de Música de las Rosas of Morelia was the first music conservatory in the Americas.

The city is the birthplace of José María Morelos (1765), after whom it was renamed on September 12, 1828, and who along with Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla began the War of Independence from Spain in 1810. It was also the birthplace of Agustín de Iturbide (1783), later Emperor of Mexico, and Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, who played a key role in the instigation of the Independence movement.

Morelia is characterized by the magnificence of its monuments which are mostly colonial. The most remarkable buildings are the baroque cathedral, started in the 1500s and finished in 1744; the convent of San Francisco, built in 1513; the convent of San Agustín, founded in 1550; the college and temple of La Compañia de Jesus, started in 1580 and known as Palacio Clavijero; the convent of El Carmen, constructed in 1597; the convent of Santa Catarina that dates from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Other important constructions are the 1613 convent of La Merced, the college of Santa Rosa María whose foundation was in 1743; the palace of the Executive, its construction started in 1734 and finished in 1770; the eighteenth century palaces of the Legislature and of the Judiciary; the sixteenth century college Primitivo y Nacional de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, the eighteenth century Museo Michoacano; and the house where José María Morelos was born, on Corregidora street, which is now used as a museum, library and for cultural events.

The Casa de las Artesanías features a large variety of high quality artisanal works. There are several other notable historical churches in town including the Templo de las Rosas annex to the Conservatorio de las Rosas, which are both examples of baroque architecture, and the Templo de San Diego (also known as Santuario de Guadalupe), built with an interpretation of the Rococo style using indigenous colors and techniques.

The monumental aqueduct, built in colonial days to bring water into town, was functional through 1910. It is made up by more than 250 arches. Its construction started in 1787 and finished in 1789.

The central city is built of reddish sandstone, lending the city a unique character among Mexico's many noteworthy colonial cities and giving origin to the name Ciudad de las Canteras Rosas ("city of pink stone") that is sometimes used in reference to Morelia.

Morelia Cathedral - Mexico
Morelia Street Restaurant - Mexico
Morelia Archway - Mexico
Morelia Square - Mexico
Morelia Side Street- Mexico
Morelia Aqueduct - Mexico

Begins and ends in Mexico City.

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