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State of Tlaxcala
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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The state of Tlaxcala is located at the north-east of Mexico City. Its capital, named Tlaxcala as well, had 81, 000 inhabitants in 2007. The state is bordered by the states of Hidalgo, Puebla and Mexico; it countains about one million of inhabitants. It is comprised of 60 municipalities.


Place of the Constitution in Tlaxcala Capital of the smallest State in Mexico, the city has nothing of note except that it is the location of the famous Republic of Tlaxcalan, never conquered by the Aztecs, and where Hernán Cortés found allied (the tlaxcaltecs) against Moctezuma. Tourists can however enjoy the huge sarapes market (poncho) on saturdays and sundays.
Tlaxcala possesses the first permanent church of New Spain. You really should visit the Franciscan monastery, built from the stones of a pyramid dedicated to Tlaloc, god of rain. The church is named ex-convento de la Asunción. The cloister hosts the Regional Museum of Tlaxcala (open 10AM-5PM, Tue-Sun, $41) which displays a nice pre-Hispanic collection. The church of the convent has a beautiful ceiling from the seventeenth century.

     Right picture : Place of the Constitution in Tlaxcala

The history of the Conquest is told by frescos painted on the walls of the Palacio de Gobierno, standing on the Plaza of the Constitution. The parish of San José (parroquia de San José), at the north-west side of the place, is adorned with bricks and blue talavera ceramic. It is really beautiful. Also walk over the Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sun), where you will find explanations from the artisans about sculpture of masks, weaving and pulque-making.

Another good reason to come to the State of Tlaxcala is to stay in one of the haciendas of the State and renew with the colonial past. Patios surrounded by archways, fountains, paved alleys, luxuriant gardens and pious chapels contribute to the charm of these haciendas. For sure, the rooms are in the most pure colonial style with high ceilings, wrought iron or wooden beds and furniture and bathrooms with mosaic. Depending on your choice, a hacienda will offer you a swimming pool, an exercise room and a restaurant or even horse riding and pulque tasting.

Ex-convento de la AsunciónLeft picture : Ex-convento de la Asunción

One kilometer north of Tlaxcala, standing on a hill, is a spectacular sanctuary of the Virgin. The Basilica de la Vírgen de Ocotlán is a Churrigueresque church in the village of Ocotlán. This village also has a beautiful baroque basilica dating from the eighteenth century. It is worth the detour.

Extract from the UNESCO site : Tlaxcala, its regional museum, ex-convent and its cathedral are inscribed on the UNESCO Tentative List since December 2004 (The tentative list is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination during the following years)

Tranvía available on fridays, saturdays and sundays in the capital. Information with the Secretary of tourism, (246) 465 0900 ext.1519 or  01 800 509 6557.

      Map of the city :


The surroundings of TLAXCALA

Twenty km (12 miles) west from Tlaxcala, the site of Cacaxtla (open daily 8 AM-5:30 PM, $49) houses the ruins of a two thousand year old city. This site is on the top of a hill with the snowcap summits of three volcanoes on the background. The ruins were discovered only thirty years ago. The site, very deteriorated by the time, is under restoration. They have identified nice murals painted by the mysterious Olmecs-Xicalancas, descendant from the Olmecs of the Gulf Coast. You can notice Maya, Teotihuacán, Zapotec, Mixtec and Náhuatl influences. (Teotihuacán influence is seen in the symbols). The apogee of this site was between 650 and 850 AD after the decline of Teotihuacán. These mysterious Olmecs-Xicalancas, whose origin is not certain, are an enigma and a proof of an intense cultural exchange at the Pre-Hispanic time. You will be able to reach the Plaza Norte by going through the Gran Basamento, a vast religious seven level platform of 200 m by 100 m (656ft X 328ft). Skeletons of sacrificed children were found here. Look at the murals, especially in the Templo de Venus and the Templo Rojo. The Battle Mural (25m2 or 270 sq ft), the biggest of the murals, shows Olmecs-Xicalancas warriors with Maya personages, dressed with feather capes. It is not a fight but a real ritual sacrifice. A strange fact is the juxtaposition of Mayas personages and Náhuatl áglyphs, two artistic currents coming from two distant and distinct zones. This combination gives a pictorial creation rich in symbols telling us mythic and epic stories. The painted scenes are striking by their naturalism and the excellent conservation of the colors.
They first discovered the building A, with less deteriorated frescos. On two big panels, the full size Eagle-man and the Jaguar-man are doing rituals of sacrifice and fecundity. From the top, the view of the valley is gorgeous. Close to the entrance, a small museum (Museo de Sitio), displays artifacts found during the excavation (open 9 AM-5 PM). Look especially at the collection of ceramic divinities. From the panoramic restaurant, you can also see the Popocatépetl, weather permitting. Looking down from the temple of Venus, on the other side of the ravine, you could catch sight of the pyramid of Xochitécatl. It is 1.5km driving from Cacaxtla and the entrance ticket is good for both sites, Cacaxtla and Xochitécatl. Visit the pyramid of the flowers (piramide de las flores), the pyramid of the snake, the edifice of the volcanoes and the pyramid of the espiral. Weather permitting, you can see the three volcanoes from the top of the pyramid of the flowers, which culminates 30m above the site. There is also a small museum with numerous clay woman-like figurines, proofs of the importance of the cults to fecundity-fertility practiced on this site.

church of Huamantla Eastbound, the small city of Huamantla ("pueblo mágico") is the setting, at the time of the Assumption, of a big celebration called Huamantlada, whose big event is a “running the bulls” in the streets of the city.

     Right picture : church of Huamantla

Map of archaeological site :

The history of the state and its capital :






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