Even now as I type this article, I have to keep consciously stopping myself from typing “Morelia, Spain”, instead of the actual location – Mexico. And while other parts of Central Mexico feel ‘similar’ to its former colonial master, the downtown of Morelia may as well be an outer suburb of Madrid.
Arriving in the downtown area, the grey-stoned Spanish architecture lines the gridded streets in uniform with each other, separated by those impressive baroque cathedrals that the Spanish went a bit OCD for.
Morelia is a prime example of how the ‘New Spain’ (AKA Mexico) really is much more European than it is ‘Americana’ as an outsider would easily assume. The laid back Latin attitude and language combine with the before mentioned characteristics to make Morelia a perfect example of a real Mexico getting on with life and determining its own future.
While not as colourful as neighbouring towns such as Queretaro and Guanajuato, Morelia’s downtown allows visitors un-harassed access into its past, present and future.
While the streets are lined with physical reminders of Morelia’s colonial past, its walkways and streets are full of the city’s young, giving the city an energetic and upbeat vibe that is felt where-ever your feet take you. It is most likely, however, that your feet will end up bringing you to one of the many city squares spotted through out the gridded streets.
Areas such as Jarden de la Rosas park, are lined by cafes and bars to quench the weary travellers thirst in a scenic location to appreciate the very down-to-earth and refreshing normality that one comes to appreciate about Central Mexico.
Further wanderings are more than likely to have you stumbling across one of Morelia’s most iconic landmarks: The city aqueduct. While it may not be as large as the one found in Queretaro, its maintained condition and the level of importance it has amongst the local inhabitants is evident by the way the city’s roads and structures flow around the 17th century structure in submission of its presence.
Morelia was where Independence hero Miguel Hidalgo (mentioned in my last post) was educated. He would later bring his republican army to capture Morelia, where he was to proclaim the end of slavery within Mexico. Similarly to Queretaro, Morelia would end up remaining in Royalist hands for much of the revolutionary war.
Being a UNESCO heritage city due to its numerous examples of its colonial architecture, Morelia allows visitors to dig as deep as they want into what the city has to offer. While I honestly felt it to be rather bland in light of the Cities I saw before it (Queretaro and Guanajuato) the fact that it hosts the likes of an internationally acclaimed film festival tell me that it would definitely unfold itself to those with more time to explore its historic streets.