Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/244

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esque; but, unfortunately, the road is one of the very roughest in Mexico. A part of it is paved with basaltic bowlders, on account of the frequent rains in the neighborhood. Leaving Morelia, the diligence travels up-hill for about ten miles, until the summit of a low divide is reached. Then the road descends to a small village, where the mules are changed. Proceeding farther, the tourist enters a valley, with lofty and densely timbered ridges, or sierras, on either side. A few extinct volcanoes are seen, and the prevailing rock is blue amygdaloidal basalt. The worst part of the road has now been passed, and soon the stage-coach stops, to change animals for the last time. There is very little vegetation along this route. Traveling over an ascending grade for several miles, the observer obtains a view of the eastern end of the beautiful Lake of Pátzcuaro. In half an hour the driver halts in front of the Hotel Diligencias.


Population, about 8,000.

Elevation, 6,717 feet, according to the surveys of the Mexican National Railway engineers. We may state that the line of this railroad has been graded to within a few rods of the town; but the officers of the company have as yet made no announcement of the time when this branch of the road will be completed. Alexander von Humboldt visited this region in 1803, and computed the elevation of this town to be about 500 feet higher than that above given, according to barometric measurement. The word "Pátzcuaro" means a place of pleasure in the Indian language. The houses are mostly of one story. The streets are narrow and winding, but the plazas are ample, and often filled with fruit-venders. This city was formerly a resort of the ancient kings of Michoacan, and after the Conquest it became the capital of the province.

There is a large Indian population here, who speak the