After the Easter weekend, we said goodbye to Oaxaca and proceeded to Puebla for the month of April. Puebla, Mexico’s 4th largest city, is a beautiful colonial center, located a couple hours south of Mexico City, amidst the country’s highest mountains.
In 1531, the Spanish founded Puebla as the first planned city in the New World, conveniently situated between the capital of Mexico City and principal port city of Veracruz. Given its central location, Puebla makes a good base for one-day and overnight trips to Mexico City and the nearby Mexican states of Tlaxcala and Veracruz.
A worthy half-day trip just outside of Puebla is the charming town of Cholula. Besides its famous hot sauce, Cholula is best known for its great pyramid, which is the largest by volume ever constructed. Since the pyramid was made mostly of adobe mud bricks, it has weathered into a rounded tree-covered hill, laced with narrow tunnels, and topped by a gleaming yellow church.
Puebla sits at an altitude of over 7,200 feet (2,195 m), and has good access to Mexico’s tallest mountains. The six highest peaks in Mexico are volcanoes, and all are located less than 100 miles (160 km) from Puebla. Over the course of the month, we hope to visit and hike as many as we can.
Back on September 19, 2017, while inside a Mexico City movie theater, we experienced a tragic 7.1 magnitude earthquake, centered just 34 miles (55 km) south of Puebla. In this geologically dynamic area, Mexico’s only active volcano Popocatépetl (El Popo) occasionally puffs plumes of gas and ash from Puebla’s western horizon.
Puebla is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and remains one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Known as the cradle of Mexican baroque architecture, Puebla is the largest and best-preserved baroque city in Mexico and the Western Hemisphere.
In Puebla, the ornate churches and other buildings are accented with gold leaf and local talavera ceramic tile. Hand-painted in cobalt blue and other natural colors, the tiles decorate the city’s church domes and facades, and trim many of its buildings, gardens, and dining tables.
After a fun and interesting month in Oaxaca, we have proceeded to our new home of Puebla for the month of April. With its convenient and elevated location close to many of the country’s most interesting sites and highest mountain peaks, this beautiful colonial city should make an excellent base for exploring this pleasant and active part of Mexico.
Feature Image: Puebla Cathedral twin towers (Mexico’s tallest) and Fountain of St. Michael (Puebla’s Patron Saint)