Emperador Caltzontzin Theater – Pátzcuaro, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Emperador Caltzontzin Theater

This modern theatre is housed inside a convent constructed more than 300 years ago.  


Given that “caltzontzin” was the title of the ruler of the Purépecha people, this theater’s name could be translated as “Emperor Emperor.” While not opulent, one could easily picture an emperor or two enjoying a show inside.

The Emperador Caltzontzin Theater is crafted into a former convent that belonged to the same 16th century Augustine complex as the Gertrudis Bocanegra Library. In 1672 the building underwent its first transformation, as it became the Hospital de Indios (Indians’ Hospital).

The building was managed by the Augustinian order until the Mexican government expropriated the convent in 1832, a result of the Reform Laws. More than a century later, the building was converted into a theater by architect Alberto le Due and engineer H. Gómez. It was inaugurated on January 1, 1938.

Further renovations included the addition of its best-known interior feature, murals carved from wood that depict folkloric scenes of Pátzcuaro and the surrounding lake towns. Nowadays, the former convent and hospital is first and foremost a film house. The Emperador Caltzontzin Theater is managed by the organizers of the recognized Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), and is often the site of premieres and special showings during various festivals. Stage productions also still take place occasionally.

Know Before You Go

Going to watch a movie is the best way to see the interior of the theater, although, the staff will occasionally allow visitors to have a look in between showings.

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February 14, 2020

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