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Cacaxtla & Xochitécatl/Mexico

Introducing Cacaxtla & Xochitécatl

These sister sites, about 20km southwest of Tlaxcala and 32km northwest of Puebla, are among Mexico’s most intriguing.

Cacaxtla (ca-casht-la) is one of Mexico’s most impressive ancient ruins with its many high-quality, vividly painted depictions of daily life. Rather than being relegated to a museum collection, these works – including frescoes of a nearly life-size jaguar and eagle warriors engaged in battle – are on display within the site itself. Located atop a scrubby hill with wide views of the surrounding countryside, the ruins were discovered in 1975 when men from the nearby village of San Miguel del Milagro, looking for a reputedly valuable cache of relics, dug a tunnel and uncovered a mural.

The much older ruins at Xochitécatl (so-chi-teh-catl), 2km away and accessible from Cacaxtla on foot, include an exceptionally wide pyramid as well as a circular one. A German archaeologist led the first systematic exploration of the site in 1969, but it wasn’t until 1994 that it was opened to the public.