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Puebla : tourism
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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National parks

view on PopocatépetlIn 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).

      Above picture : view on Popocatépetl

* 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).



El Volcan Popocatépetl in Mexico

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.

Popocatépetl, México Popocatepetl México. Popocatépetl, Mexico (1997) Popocatepetl, México. Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico
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Puebla Puebla Puebla Puebla Puebla
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Archaelogical 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 were found.
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 :


cantona-pyramid cantona pyramid on Top of the Pyramid cantona the house of the gods was replaced with a pine tree
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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 : .




CHOLULA

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 sacrifices.
Cholula downtown Hernán Cortés 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.

Left picture : Cholula downtown

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.



convent saint Gabriel and its church

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.



     Right picture : convent saint Gabriel and its church





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 Nuestra Señora de los Remedios church:


Left picture : Nuestra Señora de los Remedios church


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 # 510, 247 1765).


Cholula Pyramid Cholula Cholula Pyramid Cholula Pyramid Cholula Pyramid
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    Map of Cholula :


A 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.

TonantzintlaTonantzintla (left)

Acatepec (right)

AcatepecGoing 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 of view.


Going 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 the dead).


náhuas indian in Cuetzalán Less 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.

Left picture : náhuas indian in Cuetzalán







Carnaval Huejotzingo 2017 CARNAVAL DE HUEJOTZINGO Carnaval de Huejotzingo 2 carnaval de huejotzingo Danzante Carnaval de Huejotzingo
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     Map of the state :

      
The MALINCHE**

carnival in HuejotzingoWhat 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.


   Right picture : carnival in Huejotzingo

Tlacoyos in Cholula San Francisco Acatepec San Miguel Church - Cholula - founded 1520  from the top of the Pyramid San Francisco Acatepec Nuestra Senora de los Remedios -  Cholula
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