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The Editor's Foreward

Puebla - Mexico 

The people of Puebla alone can make their historic destination a happy one and they surely do put on a great show too. Puebla, one of Mexico’s oldest cities, was founded on 16 April 1531; it is the first City to be built as a “Perfect City” by the Spanish in the Americas.

Puebla as viewed from top of the Pyramid in Cholula

The city is formally known as Puebla de Los Angeles from its previous name of Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza. It is nestled between volcanoes and is Mexico’s 4th largest city* as well as the seat of the Municipality of Puebla, the capital of the state of Puebla; one of the five most important Spanish colonial cities in Mexico.

Characteristics:

The pedestrian friendly City has some 2600 buildings deemed of historic value all adorned by pedestrian friendly streets. The mixture of architectural styles ranging from Spanish to French and Mexican fashioned with colonnades that shade the numerous cafés and shops in the zócalo main square make you want to stroll the city centre endlessly.

Dancers doing a traditional mexcan love dance
Cathedral of San Francisco, Puebla - Mexico
Culture thrives in Puebla and the city proudly pays tribute to the Cathedral of San Francisco, which was built in 1535. The cathedral which stands prominently in the Plaza Principal at the corner of Callé 16 de Septiembre has the tallest towers in Latin America standing at 210 ft. Its beautiful neo-classical interior has choir benches with intricate marquetry and a very flamboyant alter. The city’s treasures continue across the street from the cathedral with the Bibliotheca Palafoxiana, the oldest library in Mexico. The Bibliotheca Palafoxiana is a grand library with some 43,000 titles including the 15th century manuscripts is appropriately well situated within the Casa de Cultura (the cultural centre).
Apart from the Cathedral of San Francisco, the State of Puebla has outstanding religious architecture, but what has really put Puebla on the map is Cholula. Mexico’s pre-hispanic past is magnified in San Andrés, Cholula, and five miles from Puebla where the immense Great Pyramid sits proudly. The pyramid was built in layers and it is the largest pyramid in Mexico and is not surprisingly topped by the Church dedicated to the Virgin of the Remedies (the Mexicans are very religious). It has views of the snow-capped peak of the Popocatépetl volcano in the background.
The Bibliotheca Palafoxiana, Puebla - Mexico
Visitors to the pyramid will find the pyramid excavated to reveal tunnels decorated with murals, one of which is dedicated to diners of pulque, Pulque is an alcoholic beverage fermented from the maguey plant. During the walk-up or climb to the top of the pyramid and church hawkers of various Poblano delicacies greet you many snacks including fried crickets, a snack not for the faint-hearted. The climb is worth the effort because one is blessed with the not only the panoramic views of the church but also with the stunning views of the frequently erupting Popocatépetl volcano in the background.

Going Poblano with food at the Mercado de Sabores

We cannot guarantee that you would like what you taste but the only sure way to taste all things Poblano is to visit the Mercado de Sabores in downtown Puebla. This is a unique food market where various freshly cooked foods pertaining especially to Puebla are sold as set menus. You are sure to find almost any delicacy relating to Puebla here. It is worth the visit. This year’s Tianguis, Mexico’s Annual Tourism Fair, the largest in Latin America, hosted in Mexico’s colonial state of Puebla, Mexico’s largest state capital, turned out to be the best yet, Tianguis 2013 had record attendance from 41 countries and generated a record net business income for participants and exhibitors.

Ten unique things about Puebla

1. Founded on 16 April 1531; it is the first City to be built as a “Perfect City” by the Spanish in the Americas;
2. The most beautiful Cathedral in the world: The Cathedral of Puebla is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world because of its architecture, picturesque, sculptural, musical and documented qualities. It also has the tallest towers in cathedrals of the continent.

3. Keeper of its original founding documents.Unlike other cities, the Municipal archives of the City of Puebla keep the unique original Royal Charter, which is the City’s foundation document; this is to say, its birth certificate. In addition to this, it also indicates where the famous Coat of Arms was granted. These important documents together with others in the Municipal Archives have been declared as Records of the World UNESCO-Mexico.
3 . A historic centre worth “showing off” to the World: The historic centre of Puebla was declared a World Heritage on 11th December1987 by UNESCO. The historic centre of Puebla has 2619 monuments, 391 properties spreading over 6.9 square miles, making it one of the cities in the Americas with many monuments.
4 . History presents itself in Puebla: Puebla has so much history to its credit; such as the battle of 5 May 1862 when the Mexican army defeated what was regarded as the strongest army of the time, or the beginning of the Mexican revolution by the Serdán brothers on 18 November 1910.
5 . You will only find this in Puebla: Talavera pottery is unique to Puebla. They have been manufactured for over four centuries Authentic Talavera pottery only comes from the city of Puebla and the nearby communities of Atlixco, Cholula, and Tecali, because of the quality of the natural clay found there and the tradition of production which goes back to the 16th century. Much of this pottery was decorated only in blue, but colors such as yellow, black, green, orange and mauve have also been used
6 . Distinctive gastronomy.
Poblana gastronomy is very distinctive and they have a whole market dedicated to food to prove this. Puebla is well-known for dishes like “El Mole Poblano”, “los chiles en Nogada and las Chalupas. You cannot dine anywhere in Puebla without anyone Mole on menu.
7 . The Eight Wonder of the World:
La Capilla del Rosario (The Chapel of the Rosary) is the ultimate of seventeenth century baroque gem of Puebla and Mexico, which is why since its opening on 16 April 1690, it has been seen as unique in its kind for its symbolism and for quality of its decoration, the majority of which is gold plated.
8 . Cinco de Mayo:Puebla’s greatest moment came on May 5, 1862, when the invading French army was soundly defeated by a Mexican army one-half its size. Today the victory is celebrated throughout Mexico (and the U.S.) as Cinco de Mayo. The forts of Loreto and Guadalupe, where the battles took place, can be visited on the city’s outskirts – now part of the Centro Civico 5 de Mayo.
9. Puebla does actually have an African Safari destination where the animals roam freely. It is regarded as one of the largest and important animal reserves in Latin America.

*Ranking
1. Mexico City
2. Ecatepec de Morelos
3. Guadalajara
4. Puebla

Bus/Coach services from Mexico City Airport to Puebla
Check timetable and buy your tickets here:

Mexico - the new force of Latin America, enjoys prosperity and a big boost for Tianguis 2013 - Lyssiemay Annoh reports from Puebla - Mexico

This is the first time that the Tianguis has been held in a non-coastal city.

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© Executive Traveller 2003