[Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, Tzintzuntzan; 3/25/06]
The next stop on our tour of Lake Pátzcuaro was the town of Tzintzuntzan, founded by Purépecha (or Tarascan) Indians as their capital city in the 13th century. (There's a nice history of the town here, or see the capsule version on wikipedia.) After the rather tacky handicrafts stores of Quiroga, the garden of the Ex-Convento de San Francisco was peaceful and expansive. Spread out across the tranquil grounds are 33 ancient, gnarled olive trees (one for every year of Christ's life), planted almost 500 years ago by Don Vasco de Quiroga, a champion of the Purépecha people. Beside the Templo de San Francisco, built earlier for the Spanish, is the Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, built for the Purépechan people. [Click photo to view larger.]
With thunder rumbling over the lake but never moving in, we listened to our guide's explanation of the history of the place, then we all dispersed to wander, photograph, and explore for a half an hour or so before returning to our van.
[500-year-old olive tree in the garden of San Francisco in Tzintzuntzan]