Situated amid fertile farmland north of Morelia, this 500 year old former royal resort is the site of a 16th century Franciscan monastery—now a popular shrine to the Virgin of the Stairway whose cult image is housed in a sumptuous new chapel.
An enclosed atrium planted to large shade trees fronts the monastery buildings across from the busy village plaza. A churchyard cross, mostly plain except for its bulbous arms and shaft, stands in front of the doorway.
A ribbed half dome vaults the chapel interior, fitted with a continuous stone bench all around. Although it appears similar to the Augustinian chapel at Cuitzeo, the form of the chapel is more likely derived from the Franciscan chapels at Tzintzuntzan and Erongarícuaro.
The murals in the baptistry are better preserved, including the Baptism of Christ with the Virgin Mary, Christ in Glory, Sun and Moon.
The figures are simply delineated in flowing lines of gray/blue grisaille accented with passages of red and brown.
text © 1997 & 2013 Richard D. Perry All rights reserved