Fodor's Expert Review Plaza Vasco de Quiroga
A tranquil courtyard girded by towering, century-old ash and pine trees and 16th-century mansions (since converted into hotels and shops), the larger of the two downtown plazas commemorates the bishop who restored dignity to the Purépecha people. During the Spanish conquest, Nuño de Guzmán, a lieutenant in Hernán Cortés's army, committed atrocities against the local population in his efforts to conquer western Mexico. He was eventually arrested by the Spanish authorities, and in 1537 Vasco de Quiroga was appointed bishop of Michoacán. To regain the trust of the indigenous people, he established model villages in the area and promoted the development of artesanías (crafts) commerce among the Purépecha. Quiroga died in 1565, and his remains were consecrated in the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud.