The Sunday Traveler~The Yacatas of Tzintzuntzan

The yacata, a pyramidal structure of a different shape than that which we associate with a pyramid. The Tarascan addition to  pre-hispanic architecture. Five structures built high on a hill in Tzintzuntzan, overlooking Lake Patzcuaro.


There were five yacatas here that were eventually destroyed, and excavation began in the 1930’s.

Reading up on this phenomenon I found that the core of the structures consisted of what amounts to piled up rubble/rocks that had slabs of rock covering this, and decorated with drawings and paintings much like the structures built by the Incas in Peru. It is believed that there somehow were travels and communication between these places. Pretty mind boggling.

The yacatas were rounded structures as mentioned, and said to have been built over more traditional type pyramids. Rounded structures built on flat bases and were used as ceremonial sites where human sacrifices were performed; prisoners of war were the most usual sacrifice, sent along to atone the gods.

The hilltop area of the yacatas is immense, and walking the length and around them to the back side of the field was an amazing walk, feeling the history and, as I’ve had at other sites like this on previous travels, feeling the people that had placed their feet here also a very long time ago. Looking across the expanse down to the lake, as they must have.

Looking at the stacked stones, no sign of there having been any type of mortar used

It was a cloudy day, rain threatening, adding to the mystique and feelings of what had been here, and what was left.


A look back as I was leaving; how it must have looked in the beginning.

Until next week; will you join me for a post Tzintzuntzan lunch at an hacienda? It will be delicious.




About Angeline M

Love travel and photography. Living in Northern California. Photos of locations visited are personal file photos.
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6 Responses to The Sunday Traveler~The Yacatas of Tzintzuntzan

  1. what a wonderful treasure! wow, i’ve never heard of the yacatas – thank you so much for sharing this with us!
    seeing the rubble, i had the ‘urge’ to start picking up stones and stacking them – ha – it would take a long time to turn that back into an orderly arrangement!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angeline M says:

      You just made me laugh! I’ve just met someone who creates cairns here on the beaches where I live and I told him he would love the old yacatas 🙂
      I had never heard of them either. Thanks for stopping in for a visit with me.


  2. Yes! I can’t wait for lunch with you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These structures fascinate me, Angeline. Thanks for the post.


    • Angeline M says:

      The yacatas are very interesting as to why they were made round when there are pyramids in other parts of Mexico that are the more familiar shape. I was glad to share this. Have a good week, Allan.


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