Way back in May I promised to post about the cities in Mexico's high plateau we visited earlier this year. We spent the second half of February exploring these historic cities that aren't as often visited. Our first stop was Puebla, located south and east of of Mexico City, founded in 1531 and features a large Colonial centre. It was founded in 1531 and is now a world heritage site because of its variety of architectural styles ranging from Renaissance to Mexican Baroque.
Many of the buildings are decorated with the Talavera tiles which are produced in workshops all over the city.
These tiles are hand-painted with Spanish and Moorish-inspired designs. We visited a couple of workshops and drooled over the beautiful ceramic plates and tiles.Tiles are also used to decorate the traditional kitchens with their wood fired stoves that are found in many of the wonderful family-run restaurants in Puebla.
Here's the showroom of one of the best-known Talavera workshops. You can see that they do beautiful work. We didn't bring home any dishes though, just a couple of lovely tiles for gifts.
Puebla also has a several artisan markets with quality work by Indigenous people who live in outlying villages.
Plus it has a huge public market in a very old building.
We stayed for three nights in a lovely B&B within walking distance of the lovely zocalo so we managed to see a lot.
The zocalo was a lovely spot to have coffee and plan a day of sightseeing. It was frequented by lots of locals on bicycles and with dogs and people doing their shopping, as well as tourists. I would definitely recommend Puebla as a place to visit that is quite different from Mexico City. Puebla has a lot to offer visitors and in spite of being a big industrial city it's easy to get around and has a charming centre.
On our last day there we took a taxi out to Cholula, a small city south of Puebla that is home to what we were told was the largest pyramid in the world. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: The most important tourist attraction of the city is the Great Pyramid with the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary on top. At first glance, the pyramid looks like a hill as most of it is overgrown. The south side of the pyramid has been excavated and there is a network of tunnels inside. The pyramid and church receive about 220,000 visitors each year, and on certain special occasions such as the spring equinox and the feast of the Virgin of the Remedies, there can be up to 20,000 visitors at a time. From the top of the pyramid, in the sanctuary atrium, it is possible to see the Malinche, Popocatepetl, Iztccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba volcanoes in the far eastern horizon.
It seems that for centuries they didn't know that there was a pyramid underneath the hill just outside the town. The Spanish built a church built on top of the hill (above left), which you can walk up from the town. On the way up the hill you can look down to see some of the excavations that are still underway.
We were able to able to take a tour through some of the tunnels within the pyramid beneath the hill, but sadly the museum explaining the pyramid and its history was closed.
Now that I've started posting again my plan is to do one on a few of Mexico's other high plateau towns that we visited in February. I may have more time in the next few weeks because I am going in to hospital on Monday for a total knee replacement and it will be a few weeks after that before I'm out and about.