Ancient Heights

BBC + Rosewood Hotels & Resorts · April 1, 2017

What to see at Puebla’s Great Pyramid of Cholula.

Often mistaken for a mere hill or small mountain, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is a grass-covered ancient monument in the town of Cholula, just outside Puebla City, that once served as a sacred religious site. At 216 feet tall, and with a base of 1,300 feet by 1,300 feet,  it is the largest pyramid that exists in the world today.

The Aztecs believed that a mythical giant named Xelhua built the Great Pyramid of Cholula as an asylum for himself, after escaping heavy floods caused by Tlaloc, the god of rains. In the pre-Hispanic times, the pyramid was used as a temple by various ethnic people, including the Aztecs and the Nahua people local to the region surrounding Puebla City. Rituals and sacrificial offerings were performed here, on temple alters built by stone fragments that fit perfectly together. Through research, the site has also offered clues to how these ancient civilizations lived, and archaeologists have found a large colored mural depicting a party scene, where the people in the painting seemed to be drinking potions, historically known to cause merry hallucinations.

A vantage point half way up the pyramid provides a good view of the El Popocatepetl, the snow-capped volcano that occasionally blows puffs of white smoke into the sky. For a closer look at the great structure itself, the tunnels dug and restored by the archaeologists at the base of the pyramid are free for visitors to explore.

Details

Great Pyramid of Cholula: Av. 8 Norte #2, Centro, 72760 San Andrés Cholula

Photos by @marcomc98, @goganncla and @alfredorebaza.

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Written By: BBC + Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

4.1.17

Locations: Puebla

See more: Experiences

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