Packing Tips › What are the magical towns?
Cholula, magical town
The Programa Pueblos Mágicos ("Magical Villages Programme") is an initiative led by Mexico's Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR), in conjunction with other federal and state agencies, to promote a series of towns around the country that offer visitors a "magical" experience – by reason of their natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance. The Mexico Tourism Board acknowledges that México´s magical element, and not only its sun and beaches, is what keeps many tourists coming back. Thus, they created the 'Pueblos Mágicos' program to recognize places across the country that imbue certain characteristics that make them unique and historically significant.
A "Magical Village" is a place with symbolism, legends, history, important events, day-to-day life – in other words, "magic" in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism.
The programme was launched in 2001 and by 2012 a total of 83 towns and villages in all 31 states have been awarded the title Pueblo Mágico.
Temples on the Top of Temples
Cholula was second only to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City), possibly with a population of up to 100,000. The great city stood at the foot of what appears to be an earthen hill that is, in fact, the largest pyramid ever built, covering over 46 acres and spanning an incredible 405 meters on each side! In addition to this great construction dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the city had a reported 365 temples. After taking the city during the Spanish Conquest, Hernan Cortes vowed that it would be rebuilt with a Christian church to replace each of the old pagan temples; less than 50 new churches were actually built, but the Spanish colonial churches are unusually numerous for a city of its size. Cholula is actually divided into eighteen neighborhoods or barrios, each with a patron saint.
Cholula is often visited as a day-trip from Mexico City or Puebla, and gets crowded on weekends and holidays. In the center of this grid is the main square, the Plaza de la Concordia or zocalo. On the west side of the Plaza is the City Hall, fronted by a line of businesses, which in turn are fronted by a 170 metres (560 ft) gallery, marked by 46 arches supported by Doric columns, called the “portales.” This archway is the longest of its kind in Latin America.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula can be explored either via a labyrinth of interior tunnels, or above ground by walking through excavations at the pyramid’s base. There’s a fine on-site museum with models showing the site’s full glory. Take time to climb atop the pyramid. The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios was built on the pyramid. It is made of bradstone and decorated with laminilla of 24k gold. The views from this hilltop site are spectacular!