Fire destroys the Purépecha’s “Stories in the skies” in Nurio, Michoacan


Stories in the skies and domes of Michoacán XVI Century Churches are artistic treasures kept and preserved by the Purépecha indigenous people.

Dozens of chapels with splendid polychrome coffered ceilings remain untouched by mass tourism and await protection after the fire that has devoured the church of Nurio, Michoacan.

Church of Nurio, Michoacan (Archive)

Five days later, a breeze is enough for smoke to still rise from the charred beams in Nurio’s church.

Fire completely devoured this 16th-century jewel, with a richly ornamented wooden coffered ceiling with religious scenes. The flames have illuminated one of the many treasures that the plateau of the Purépecha Indians kept, the land that every year, in November, guides its dead back home with flowers and feasts them.

The whole world found out about them in 2017 with the famous animated film Coco. But very few know the artistic wealth that is hidden in the small churches of this region of Michoacán. From Nurio to Cocucho, from Cocucho to Zacán, from there to Angahuan, Aranza, Huiramanguaro and follow the road, each town has a temple with polychrome wooden panels left by the Franciscan evangelization in the 16th century, in good communion with local artists.

Pátzcuaro, its beautiful epicenter, attracts mass tourism with its colorful Day of the Dead celebrations. It is the land of the avocado, a lot of money that the narco’s hand turns into blood hundreds of times.

Entering the area requires precautions, but the Michoacan authorities are determined to guide art lovers along this route that they have named Vasco de Quiroga, in honor of the most famous religious among those who passed through those lands.

The bishop founded the hospital towns, with their churches and chapels, inspired by the Utopia of Tomás Moro, where each community specialized in a trade: here hats, there those who shaped clay, those who worked wood, farmers and the musicians.

Church of Nurio, Michoacan (Archive)

Five centuries later, life is not very different. The Purépecha have known how to keep the essences of ancient chores and rich traditions that were mixed with the uses and customs of Castile (Spain) in a syncretism that historians have discovered recently in the paintings of these temples.

Source: El Universal

Michoacan Post