• INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
    INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-Zona Arqueológica/Archivo
    INAH-Zona Arqueológica/Archivo
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
    INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
  • INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
    INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
  • INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
    INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Cacaxtla - Xochitécatl
Cacaxtla: Place of cacaxtles (carrying frames used by the indigenous people to transport goods) Xochitecatl: Lineage of flowers
Cacaxtla was a powerful political, military and commercial center that developed in the present-day states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. This site contains some of Mesoamerica’s most extraordinary and well-preserved murals. Xochitecatl's legacy is the unique Pyramid of the Flowers and a remarkable set of terracotta female figurines.
About the site

CACAXTLA

This city was founded in the distant past by the Olmeca-Xicalanca people, but only rose to dominance after the collapse of Teotihuacan and Cholula. Following the decline of the latter, Cacaxtla assumed political control over what is now the Puebla-Tlaxcala region. Cacaxtla flourished between 650-900 AD, during the Late Classic, a period when it established trade links with the Gulf coast and the Valley of Mexico. It acquired great wealth by taking advantage of its strategic location along routes leading to the territories of the modern-day states of Tabasco and Campeche. The site was abandoned in around the year 1000, for reasons that remain uncertain.

Research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) began at the site after it was discovered in the 1970s. The Gran Basamento ("Great Plinth"), measuring 656 feet long and 82 feet high, is one of the most outstanding archeological remains. This large complex of superimposed and interconnected structures (shrines, platforms and pyramids) boasts remarkable mural paintings—made using red, blue, yellow, black and white pigments obtained from kaolin, obsidian, lime and other local minerals—which are truly one-of-a-kind. These murals reveal influences from both the Mayan and Teotihuacan regions and depict motifs related to mythology, religion, war, defeat and peace; there are also highly realistic drawings of nature with symbolic features that have yet to be completely deciphered. The ancient inhabitants’ system of building structures on top of each other has preserved not only the ritual offerings but also these valuable paintings. In the 1980s, an enormous roof, spanning more than 100,000 square feet, was erected over the most important section of the Great Plinth in order to provide protection from the elements.

XOCHITECATL

Just over three miles from Cacaxtla and developed mainly between 600 and 100 BC, Xochitecatl was a short-lived ceremonial center for the Olmeca and Xicalanca people. Built on top of the Xochitecatl hill, the architecture was adapted to the hilly terrain with terraces created for houses and land for growing crops. The most important monuments are located on top of the hill: the Pirámide de las Flores ("Pyramid of the Flowers"), the Pirámide de la Serpiente ("Pyramid of the Serpent"), the Pirámide de la Espiral ("Pyramid of the Spiral") and the Basamento de los Volcanes ("Plinth of the Volcanoes").

Xochitecatl is distinguished by the numerous figurines of women depicted as pregnant, giving birth, carrying a child, or with a cavity in their stomach into which a baby could be inserted or taken out. Scholars agree that the ritual setting, the offerings of figurines, human burial sites, and archeo-astronomical features all suggest that the site was a ceremonial center based on a fertility and rainmaking cult, the symbols of which seem to have been conveyed through the female image.

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Archivo Técnico de la Coordinación Nacional de Arqueología-INAH
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Archivo Técnico de la Coordinación Nacional de Arqueología-INAH
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Archivo Técnico de la Coordinación Nacional de Arqueología-INAH
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Archivo Técnico de la Coordinación Nacional de Arqueología-INAH
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Archivo Técnico de la Coordinación Nacional de Arqueología-INAH
800 a.C. - 950

Preclásico Medio a Posclásico Temprano
650 - 950

Clásico

Did you know...
Cacaxtla
  • In the sixteenth century, a chronicler named Muñoz Camargo described the Valley of Tlaxcala for the first time, making this the earliest reference to Cacaxtla-Xochitecatl.
  • For 400 years the Cacaxtla-Xochitecatl area was uninhabited as a result of the Popocatépetl volcano’s eruptions, which altered the Puebla-Tlaxcala valley’s ecosystem.
  • The murals in this area make reference to astronomical symbols, discourses of legitimization, trade contacts, religious traditions, regional domination, lake fishing, and fertility.

Xochitécatl
  • The Map of Cuauhtinchan no. 2 shows the Xochitecatl glyph as a mountain with flowers at its highest point.
  • The beautiful figurines of women show their headdresses and clothes, as well as their facial pigmentations.
  • Key archeological finds include ornaments made of shell, copper and bone, as well as ceramic pieces of various shapes and designs, complete with an outstanding use of different colors.
An exert point of view
Rituals for fertility, maternity and rainmaking were traditions that lay at the heart of indigenous life.
Aurelio López Corral
Aurelio López Corral
Centro INAH Tlaxcala
Archeological site
Cacaxtla - Xochitécatl
Practical information
Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18: 00 hrs

$80.00 pesos

$80.00 pesos

  • Extra fee for video cameras
  • Free entrance for Mexicans under 13 years old
  • Free entrance for Mexican students and teachers
  • Free entrance for Mexican senior citizens
  • No Smoking
  • No entry with food
  • Pets not allowed
  • No Flash
Se localiza al suroeste de la ciudad de Tlaxcala cerca del poblado de San Miguel Magro.

From Mexico City take Federal Highway 150 Mexico-Puebla as far as San Martín Temexmelucan, Puebla and then take the road to Xalmimilulco in the direction of San Miguel Xochitecatitla, from where there are signs to the two sites.

Services
  • Accesibilidad
  • Cafetería
  • Estacionamiento
  • Módulo de información
  • Restaurante
  • Sanitarios
  • Tienda
GUIDE
Guide
  • +52 (246) 416 0000
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Directory
Subdirectora de la Zona Arqueológica
Yajaira Mariana Gómez García
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+52 (246) 416 0000
1866
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182_cacaxtla_meliton_tapia_1
INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
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INAH-Zona Arqueológica/Archivo
20160422_cacaxtla
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
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INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
MURO_SUR
INAH-DMC/Melitón Tapia
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
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INAH-DMC/Héctor Montaño
Altiplano Central
Museo de Sitio de Cacaxtla
Cacaxtla fue una poderosa urbe política, militar y económica que se desarrolló en las actuales regiones de Tlaxcala y Puebla. Posee algunos de los murales más extraordinarios y mejor conservados de Mesoamérica.
Xochitécatl dejó como legado la singular Pirámide de las Flores y asombrosas figurillas femeninas de barro.
Cacaxtla was a powerful political, military and commercial center that developed in the present-day states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. This site contains some of Mesoamerica’s most extraordinary and well-preserved murals. Xochitecatl's legacy is the unique Pyramid of the Flowers and a remarkable set of terracotta female figurines.
Cacaxtla: Lugar de cacaxtles (armazones indígenas para transportar productos)
Xochitécatl: Lugar del linaje de las flores
Cacaxtla: Place of cacaxtles (carrying frames used by the indigenous people to transport goods) Xochitecatl: Lineage of flowers

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