Interior of Morelia Cathedral.

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Morelia Cathedral

Top choice in Morelia

Morelia’s cathedral, considered by many to be the country's most beautiful, dominates the city center, where it flanks rather than faces the central plaza. It took almost a century to build (1660−1744), which explains its potpourri of styles: the twin 70m-high bell towers, for instance, have classical Herreresque bases, baroque midsections and multicolumned neoclassical tops. It's particularly impressive when lit up for the Encendido de Catedral.

Much of the baroque reliefs inside were replaced in the 19th century with neoclassical work. Fortunately, one of the highlights was preserved: a sculpture of the crucified Christ called the Señor de la Sacristía in a chapel to the left of the main altar. It is made from pasta de caña (a paste made from the heart of the cornstalk) and is topped with a gold crown gifted to the church by the Spanish King Felipe II in the 16th century. The organ counts 4600 pipes – the second largest pipe organ in Mexico (the first is in Zamora, Michoacán); occasional organ recitals take place here – a beautiful time to be in the cathedral.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Morelia attractions

1. Palacio de Gobierno

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This 18th-century palace, originally a seminary and now housing Michoacán state government offices, has a simple baroque facade. Inside, its soaring…

2. Antiguo Palacio de Justicia

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Facing the leafy expanse of Plaza de Armas, the Antiguo Palacio de Justicia is in fact two buildings rebuilt in 1884. Its intricate facade blends French…

3. Museo Casa Natal de Morelos

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4. Museo Regional Michoacano

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Housed in a dozen rooms of a renovated late-18th-century baroque palace, this museum contains an impressive array of pre-Hispanic artifacts, including a…

5. Colegio de San Nicolás de Hidalgo

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This building is now part of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, which produced such scholars as Morelos, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and…

6. Museo de Arte Colonial

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This ambitious museum contains five rooms chock-a-block with religious paintings and sculptures, including more than 100 depictions of the crucified…

7. Museo del Estado de Michoacán

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A beautifully renovated 18th century casona (mansion), this museum hosts temporary exhibits and workshops often related to the history and culture of the…

8. Museo Casa de Morelos


This museum, arguably Morelia's best on the subject of José María Morelos y Pavón, resides in the former house of the independence hero, who bought the…