the neighborhood of Puebla, you will be able to practice different
activities in wonderful landscapes. You can visit the National Park
Izta-Popo*, the National Park La Malinche as well as the Reserve
of the Biosphere of the Valley of Tehuacán, (the biggest
in the world). Twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) south-east from Puebla,
towards Valsequillo, especially with children, you can go to the
park Africam Rhinocéros
where bears, tigers
and other exotic animals freely roam (200 ha-2000 animals). You
can also watch many birds. Open daily from 10AM to 5PM for the tickets
and 06:30PM for the park, entrance fee: mxn$232 for adults and mxn$225
for children :
Departure on autobus from CAPU (central autobus station in Puebla
and also from Mexico–Tapo
* It is located 55 km (34miles) from Puebla
and 70 km (43miles) from Mexico City.
It is a protected natural site of more than 25,600 ha of hills and
mountains (with the second and third highest points in the country
: Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl). Because it is an active
volcano, the access to Popocatépetl is not allowed but you
can consider nice hikes in pine and live oak forests.
The well trained climber
can ascent the Iztaccihuatl, «the sleeping woman»,
another volcano of 5, 286 m (17,342 feet) elevation, more
difficult but totally extinct so safe. This volcano was named
after a Nathtuatl legend saying that a Popocatépetl
warrior fell in love with Princess Iztaccihuatl. Her father
required that the young man fights one of the most dangerous
enemies of the tribe. He won the fight but the young princess
succumbed to her pain thinking he could die. Popocatépetl
carried her body to the top of a hill and started a fire at
her bedside. The fire is still burning nowadays.
The mountain lovers can find many possibilities of trekking.
In order to reach the summit of Iztaccihuatl, you have to
spend a night in a basic hut located 4 or 5 hours from the
top. You have to start early morning and be in good physical
shape. You can hire local guides if needed (they stay in Amecameca).
You can also reach the small city of Amecameca
through a pass planted with dark pines, the Paso de Cortes,
located at an elevation of 3,800m (12, 467 feet). The pass is named
after the Spanish conquistador who saw the city of Tenochtitlán
(Mexico City) for the first time while
coming from Veracruz. When crossing the pass, you’ll have
to show an authorization obtained at the office of the National
Park, in Amecameca close to the market.
site of Cantona
The 12 km2 (2,965 acres) site, located 92 km (57miles) north-west
from Puebla via road 129, is the
location of one of the biggest Pre-Hispanic city in Mesoamerica.
It was built during the loss of power of the big cities of the “classic"
period, under cover of the military groups of the "post-classic"
period. It depended upon commerce and trade as well as some agriculture.
This site includes three big units, the southern one (best preserved)
covers almost a 5 km2 (1,235 acres) area, the center and north,
destroyed by farming, covers about a 3.5 km2 (865 acres) area each.
Exploration and restoration works have started lately, especially
on the southern part, where is the Acropolis. The city of Cantona
was serviced by an extensive roadway network (roads, streets, passages,
walkways) linking every inhabitant. The people lived in residences
called patios. 3,000 patios, accessible through one of these streets,
were found. It is believed that one or several families lived in
each patio. Buildings were assembled by carved stones being placed
one atop of the other without stucco covering or cement mortar.
You can also notice no symmetry.
Another important element : the 24 ball-courts discovered on the
site. Twelve of them are part of aligned architectural ensembles
consisting in a pyramid, one or two places, with peripheral structures,
an altar and a cage. The other 12 are cages like the ones in the
other part of Mesoamerica (part of the civic-religious domain).
Ten of the 12 “Cantona type “ball courts are in the
Acropolis and three of them have two places. Cantona was a fortress,
with a trench, protected access and guard posts.
The presence of the ball courts, the civic and religious places
and the vestiges of human funerals underlines the rituals and religious
ceremonials. One of the most important ceremonial was the one of
the farming ritual and fertilization. A deep analyze of the data
collected by specialists is still missing. Many phallic sculptures
Apart from the farming products, the people lived from trading obsidian
(jet black volcanic glass) found in the area.
This site located between 2,500 and 2,600 m (8,200 to 8,500 ft)
of elevation, inhabited between 600 and 1000 A.D, had his peak of
power between 700 and 900 A.D., and then was abandoned after 1050
A.D. It will be interesting to read the explanations that will follow
the excavation that just started.
open 10AM-5PM, Tue-Sun, $46
Map of Cantona :
What does it mean : tentative list in the World Heritage ?
A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties
which each State Party intends to consider for nomination during
the following years. States Parties are encouraged to submit in
their Tentative Lists, properties which they consider to be cultural
and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore
suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List : .
You can stop in Cholula, 12 km (7.5 miles) from
downtown Puebla. The city (if you
believe the municipal officials and propagandists) has a church
for every day of the year. A long time ago, even before the Aztecs,
it was the Mecca of Mexico. A saint among the saint
cities, it should look like Teotihuacán
in a more impressive way. There was the highest pyramid in America,
corresponding to the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, in a forest of smaller
pyramids. Each God of Toltec pantheon got its own pyramid. The stone
of these monuments blushed every year from the blood of 6,000 human
and his men almost extended the list. The Spanish marched towards
Mexico City when they accepted, for
the night, the hospitality of the Aztecs of Cholula. The men of
Moctézuma planned on cutting off their gorge while sleeping.
But Princess Malinche, Cortés’ mistress, eluded the
plot and, according to the legend, 3,000 Aztec gorges had been cut
off during this night.
The Spanish destroyed also the pagan temples. In the blow-up of
the religious fervor brought by the Conquest, it was decided to
build a Christian church everywhere there was an Indian shrine.
In Cholula, the church builders worked for a long time. The small
city got more than consecrated churches but there are more than
20 disused. Almost all of them are over small hills or what looks
like hills because there are, in fact, hillocks made by the old
pyramids and covered with vegetation.
Among the most interesting, the church of the convent
San Gabriel comprises a single vaulted nave with gothic nervures.
Close by, the Capilla Real (royal chapel) was built in 1540 on the
model of the mosque of Cordoue. Its naves are covered with 49 small
domes, added in the eighteenth century and supported by eight rows
of seven pillars. See also the church of San Pedro dating from the
seventeenth century, on the North side.
Archaeological site of Cholula (from 800 B.C to 1521 A.D) :
The Pyramid of Tepanapa, dedicated to Quetzalcóatl,
is the largest ancient man made structure in the world. The Olmec
as well as the Zapotec, the Toltec, the Chichimec and the Cholultec
(branching of the Aztec) chose this place to practice their cult.
The archaeological site has 7 basements, among them the pyramid
dedicated to Chiconahui Quiahuitl: the 400m (1,312 ft) side base
makes it the largest pyramidal base in the world. It is possible
to get in some underground passages to visit the partially searched
site. One part of the hill was cleared to show evidence of the refined
plan of the classic period. The access to the archaeological zone
is on the north side of the pyramid. The site is open daily from
10 AM to 5PM, mxn$46. See the museum of the site for the reproduction
of fresco and for admiring some polychrome dishes. 12 km from Puebla.
On top stands the church Nuestra Señora de los Remedios,
built in the late sixteenth century by the Conquistadors. You get
a spectacular view of the city and volcanoes, weather permitting
In the city of Cholula, there are some talavera shops, among them
the Tienda de las Americas, with prices more affordable than in
Puebla, (av Morelos, esq 4 Sur,
261 0367), You can visit the small workshop from 9AM to 2PM (7 Poniente
Map of Cholula
few kilometers from Cholula, you can visit the churches of Santa
María Tonantzintla (fantasy of the indigenous artists- left
picture) and of San Francisco Acatepec (right picture), adorned
with bricks and azulejos, and topped with a cornice and a white
stone bell tower (open daily 10:00 AM-6:00 PM). Take a bus either
from Puebla or Cholula. If you
go to Cholula, make the detour to see these two jewels : it is a
40 km (25 miles) loop between these two churches and Cholula. Take
the bus between Puebla and Cholula,
then a colectivo to get to the churches.
south towards Izucar de Matamoros, you can stop in Atlixco (27 km
or 17 miles from Puebla
), a village
living from the culture of flowers and especially the cempoaxochitl,
the orange flower used for the offerings on the day of dead.
It is also an excellent place to admire the volcanoes. The best
time for admiring the volcanoes is, by far, the months of December,
January and February. Just start from the Zócalo of Atlixco,
take the street Hidalgo. After 5/10 min walking, at the fork with
the Maya fountain, take the uphill on the right, then the stairs
on the right on Plazuela Fray Toribio de Benavente. Walk up until
seeing the volcano (about 20 min walking). There is also the trail
Camino Izucar de Matamoros (15 min walking) leading to a nice point
further south, you can go to Huaquechula and admire its convent,
the first Franciscan convent in Mexico, with architecture
similar to the one of the cathedrals of Mexico
and Puebla. Huaquechula is also
famous for its offerings on October 31st and November 2nd (day of
than 16 km (10 miles) Northwest from Cholula, the village of Huejotzingo
hosts an old convent « Convento Franciscano » (open
10AM-5PM Tue-Sun) dating from the sixteenth century. This convent
was built in the sixteenth century by the Franciscans. It is one
of the most beautiful cloistered ensembles in Mexico,
especially famous for its big retable. Close to the church, many
repository-chapels were built to allow the believers to rest during
the long processions.
This village is famous for its Carnival of February as well as for
the making of sarapes, traditional blankets.
Take a bus from Puebla (CAPU) to
Huejotzingo with Estrella Blanca, every 10 minutes from 5AM to 9PM.
Map of the state :
better royal gift could Hernán
Cortés have dreamed of when he received the young Malinalli
from the hands of the Indigenous of Tabasco ? He was dazzled by
her beauty, first made her his favorite, and then his legal Indian
spouse. This princess was his lucky charm. Malinche sincerely loved
Cortés. More than
a slave, she was an incomparable help to Cortés.
With tact and intelligence, she was his counselor and interpreter,
showing him the subtle psychology of the Indians. She even became
his accomplice by warning him of the trap set by Moctezuma in Cholula
! The fascination that he exerted on her never weakened. After ten
years living together, he gave her to one of the captains of his
guard, Juan Jaramillo. Jaramillo, who was in love with the beautiful
Indian since he first saw her, insisted on marrying her in church.
Malinche accepted only if Cortés
walked her to the altar.
Certainly, without the advice of this very smart woman speaking
several languages, the Spaniards never would have conquered Mexico.
Historians confirm it, and for Mexican nationalists, it is why the
“malinchismo” became a synonym for cooperation with
enemy and treason.
The « Malinche » is always in the minds of the Mexicans.
She even rumbles like the volcanoes she gave her name to.
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