A bastion of conservatism, Catholicism and tradition, Puebla can sometimes feel as if the colonial era in Mexico never quite ended. For the most part this is a positive thing, giving Puebla its fantastic colonial center, a stunning cathedral and a wealth of beautiful churches, although it also contributes to the (quite unfair) Mexican stereotype of the criollo poblanos being snobbish and aloof.
The city is well worth a visit, with 70 churches in the historic center alone, more than a thousand colonial buildings adorned with the azulejos (painted ceramic tiles) for which the city is famous, and a long culinary history that can be explored in any restaurant or food stall.
A great deal of conservation and restoration has taken place in the Centro Histórico in the wake of the 1999 earthquake, which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. For a city of its size, Puebla is far more relaxed and less gridlocked than you might expect. Its charming architecture and well-preserved colonial imprint in no way make the city feel like a museum piece, and part of its attraction is that it’s so clearly a thriving city yet it still takes great pride in its past.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009