Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl

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May 1st 2014
Published: May 2nd 2014
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Approaching CacaxtlaApproaching CacaxtlaApproaching Cacaxtla

The family gathered for a group photo before we entered the ruins
May 1st is Labor Day in Mexico so it gave us the perfect excuse to escape and do a little exploring of our own. We've lived here almost 4 months now and we've done more exploring in other states than we have our own. It seems easier to plan a weekend trip than a one day outing. When everyone mentioned yesterday that today was a holiday, I decided to take advantage of it and drag them to some local ruins about 30-45 minutes away. My nieces decided to join us today while my SIL and nephew stayed home to mind the house and store. I wasn't exactly sure how to get to Cacaxtlabut I've seen some signs on the Santa Ana-Puebla highway so I just started driving in the direction of Tlaxcala and hoping the signs would show me the way. There was only one turn that didn't have a sign but I knew the general direction so we were able to stay on the right track. Once you get out of Tlaxcala, it's just narrow twisty roads through lots of little towns and you really have no idea where you are. I just kept driving until we found the huge sign that pointed us to Cacaxtla on the right and we wound our way up the hill towards the top. There is a parking lot on the right hand side that charged 30 pesos for tiempo libre (unlimited) parking. The entrance fee was 57 pesos for anyone over 13 years of age that didn't have a student or senior ID card so we lucked out and only had to pay for 3 of us since one of my nieces forgot her ID card.

You have to walk down a road to arrive at the ruins as it is foot traffic only once you pass the vendors at the entrance. I would recommend bringing a bottle of water and using the facilities when you arrive as there is nothing once you get inside. Cacaxtla is completely covered by a large roof to protect it from the elements. They have constructed wooden steps that take you up the walls of the city to the top where you can view the layout. The girls wandered off in one direction to explore while I apparently went the wrong way around the exhibit. When I saw the exit signs, I had to double back and retrace my steps so I could see every thing. The girls were quite enthralled to hear an older white lady speaking English. It is still such a novelty to hear English spoken in our state as there is not a large gathering of expats here. One room showed a large stone slab which I can only assume was a sleeping platform. I don't think I'll ever complain about hard hotel mattresses ever again. The colors in the murals were very beautiful and it's amazing how they were able to use natural materials to create such colors that have lasted for centuries.

When we were walking back along the grounds to the path back, Erika started chasing a lizard and that thing got up and ran like a racecar!! Its four legs pushed straight up and it ran so fast that I couldn't even follow it with my eyes, much less try to get a picture of it. All of the girls were laughing so hard because we have never seen anything like it. It had black lines down its body with a metallic blue sheen to the bottom half of it.

After we toured Cacaxtla, we had to get back on the road and drive a couple miles down the road to the entrance to Xochitecatl. Since we had already paid the entrance fee at Cacaxtla, you get free entry here as well and no parking fees. There were even less people here, four other cars in the parking lot. The museum here was open with a few artifacts that had been recovered from the ruins. I think the girls might have actually enjoyed exploring these ruins more because it is a wide open area with lots of room to run around and burn energy. We were able to climb to the top of both structures and the view was absolutely gorgeous. The girls ran around, smelled the flowers, and climbed on every tree in sight. I think we were all panting with exhaustion by the time we finished exploring everything. It was a fabulous spur of the moment trip and a great exploration into the local history of our state.

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Stone bedStone bed
Stone bed

I'll never complain about a mattress again
The Woman FigureThe Woman Figure
The Woman Figure

Notice the drooping breast on the left, very realistic
The Bird CageThe Bird Cage
The Bird Cage

These boxes were used to hold exotic birds so their feathers could be used in the costumes
A Giant PinchA Giant Pinch
A Giant Pinch

Erika wanted a picture of her pinching the pyramid in the far distance
Snatching up a PyramidSnatching up a Pyramid
Snatching up a Pyramid

Mia wanted to play around and snatch it up too
Hummingbird in the flowersHummingbird in the flowers
Hummingbird in the flowers

This lovely bird showed up on our way out of Cacaxtla
A large cauldronA large cauldron
A large cauldron

This temple was supposedly used for water/rain rituals
Yay for holidays and ruins!Yay for holidays and ruins!
Yay for holidays and ruins!

My family is still learning how to get a little crazy with us. Give them time
Edificio de la Espiral Edificio de la Espiral
Edificio de la Espiral

By the time we hit this one, we were pooped but up we went!

2nd May 2014

Archeological zones
The Roof over Cacaxtla covers 10,000 square meters. It is the second largest roof in the world over an archeological zone. The first largest covers the terracotta soldiers in China. Xochitecatl is about 300 years older than Cacaxtla, they are about a mile apart from each other. Thousands of small figures were recovered from Xochitecatl, almost all of them female forms which leads archeologists to believe it was possibly a Matriarchal society or at the very least a place dedicated to fertility rites. it has four major structures, pyramid of the flowers, pyramid of the serpent, beginnings of a structure known as pyramid or base of the Volcano building and a Spiral Pyramid that was dedicated to the Wind God Ehecatl.

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