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Ann Murdy | profile | all galleries >> Postcards from Puebla and Tlaxcala, Mexico tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Postcards from Puebla and Tlaxcala, Mexico

Before and after the time spent in Tlaxcala for Carnival I enjoyed the sites in both the cities of Puebla and Tlaxcala. I was more attracted to Tlaxcala as it was a more intimate and calmer town with a fascinating indigenous past. Puebla, which is a conservative Catholic city of two million people, was a bit overwhelming at first until I got my bearings.

The highlight of being in Tlaxcala was seeing the murals in the Palacio de Gobierno created by Desiderio Hernández Xochitiozin. This talented artist was born in the state of Tlaxcala in 1922 and he passed away in 2007. His most important work was these murals in Tlaxcala illustrating the history of the state. The murals in this building were started in 1957. Unfortunately, the work was never completed before he died in 2007. These murals were equally as impressive as the murals done by Diego Rivera in Mexico City. These murals bring in visitors from throughout Mexico and the world over. I was in awe of them.

Outside of Tlaxcala about fifty minutes away are two pre-Columbian sites that are also a major tourist draw to Tlaxcala as well. These two sites are Cacaxtla and Xochitécatl. I was most fascinated by Cacaxtla. This site was uncovered in 1975. It has vivid murals depicting Mayan warriors in the colors of turquoise, white and brick red. This site was occupied from 650 - 900AD by the Ollmeca-Xicalancas.

Once I was back in Puebla after photographing carnival in Tlaxcala I was treated to some of the most amazing churches that I have seen in all of my visits to Mexico. In Puebla the Templo de Santa Domingo has a chapel known as La Capilla del Rosario done in the baroque style with angels and cherubs covering the walls and ceiling. Construction on this chapel began in 1650 and it was completed in 1690. The figurines in the chapel are covered with twenty-two carat gold plating. It is considered the eighth wonder of the world!

The construction of the Cathedral of Puebla was started in 1575, but the work was suspended from 1618 - 1640. The building was consecrated in 1649. The building and first tower were completed in 1678. The second tower was completed in 1768. The architectural style ranges from baroque to neo-classic.

Pueblo is known for its buildings covered with azulejos (painted ceramic tiles). Throughout the central historic district one can see elaborately decorated buildings and churches covered with tiles. There are more than 1,000 colonial buildings decorated with azulejos. When I walked through the streets of Puebla, I found myself looking up at all of the architectural details. It was overwhelming especially since the streets were packed with people.

Puebla does have some shopping areas which are fun to visit. One of them is the Puebla Flea Market known as Plazuela de los Sapos that is located on Calle 6 Sur between Calles 3 and 7 Oriente. It is open at 11:00AM on both Saturdays and Sundays. Another place to shop is the El Parian Crafts market. It is located at 6 Norte between 2 and 4 Oriente. There is quite a bit of tourist merchandise here but there are two stalls where they specialize in the calavera (skeleton) art and shadow boxes that are made in Puebla. Stall 36 is particularly good. They carry the ceramic skeleton folk art by Daniel Paredes Cruz. He has participated in the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. There are antique stores in the Plazuela de los Sapos, but the store that I have enjoyed the most is La Quinta de San Antonio Antiques and Art located at 7 Oriente, number 10. It is only two blocks from the zócalo. Another street that is fun to visit is Casa de los Dulcs on 6 Oriente Street. It is know as the street of the candies because there are so many dulceries. Puebla's traditional candy is dulce de camote. This is a sweet made from yams. Another popular sweet is a cookie called Santa Clara. It is a cookie made from ground pumpkin seeds and it is covered with a cream frosting.

Puebla also has great art museums to visit as well. Some of the museums work visiting are Museo Amparo, Museo de Arte Popular Poblano, Casa de Alfeñique, Casa de Dean and the Ex-Convento de Santa Monica which gave birth to Chiles in Nogada.

The day that I walked to the Museo de Arte Popular Poblano along 3 Norte I discovered stores selling various varieties of Baby Jesuses dressed in all types of clothing. These Baby Jesuses are usually used for El Día de la Candelaria, which happens on February 2nd. This is the day that the Christ child is presented in church forty days after his birth.

I went to Cholula where I visited the churches of Santa Maria Tonantzintla and San Francisco Acatepec. Both of these baroque churches are covered with tiles. Photography is no longer permitted inside Santa Maria Tonantzintla because people kept taking photos with flash when flash photography is strictly forbidden inside all of these churches. After I purchased some postcards of the interior of the church at Santa Maria Tonantzintla I spoke with the girl who was in charge of looking after the church that morning. I told her it was sad that people didn’t have more respect for these buildings by continuing to take photos with flash. I explained to her if one had a good camera you could take photos without flash. After this brief conversation, she gave me five minutes to take photos inside of the church as I was the only one there. I was sincerely grateful for her kindness to allow me to take photos inside this jewel of a church that was built by the Franciscans in the mid 16th century. In the 18th century Indians were commissioned to decorate the church. There are approximately 1,000 polychrome angelical faces, flowers and plants on the walls and ceiling of this church.

Both of these cities were great places to visit to take in their museums, architecture, art and magnificent churches!
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Murals of Tlaxcala by Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin
Murals of Tlaxcala by Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin
The Zócalo in Tlaxcala
The Zócalo in Tlaxcala
View of Popocatépetl
View of Popocatépetl
Inside the Parroquía San José in Tlaxcala
Inside the Parroquía San José in Tlaxcala
Santuario de la Virgen de Ocotlán
Santuario de la Virgen de Ocotlán
Ceiling detail Santa Maria Tonzantzintla
Ceiling detail Santa Maria Tonzantzintla
Plaza Xicohencatl in Tlaxcala
Plaza Xicohencatl in Tlaxcala
Pyramid at Xochitécal
Pyramid at Xochitécal
Parroquía de San José en Tlaxcala
Parroquía de San José en Tlaxcala
Belltower Ex-Convento Francisco in Tlaxcala
Belltower Ex-Convento Francisco in Tlaxcala
Larger mural at Cacaxtla
Larger mural at Cacaxtla
Palacio de Justicia en Tlaxcala
Palacio de Justicia en Tlaxcala
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