Which is the oldest city in Mexico


Cholula is located about 13 kilometers from the city of Puebla and has the name of Pueblo Mágico.

Cholula, currently divided into the sister towns of San Pedro and San Andrés, is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in Mexico and one of the oldest in the continent with more than 23 centuries of history.

In accordance with a presidential decree of 1993, in which the zone of archaeological monuments of Cholula is declared, this territory has been continuously populated since, approximately, the years 650 BC For this reason, it is the oldest active city in Mexico and in all American continent. 

The importance of Cholula in Mesoamerica, as explained by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), was its strategic location in the commercial networks of the region; It is known that during the Classic period (from the year 200 to 900) it was part of the Teotihuacán network to the southeast. 

Cholula had a great cultural richness due to the different groups that inhabited it. It is believed that during the Classic the ñuiñe population dominated, coming from the southwest of Puebla and the northeast of Oaxaca (current Mixtec region).

It was also inhabited by Olmec-Xicalancas and Toltecs, in addition to the fact that the city was a tributary of the Mexicas.

In this place, one of the most violent attacks of the Conquest took place, known as the Cholula massacre, in which Hernán Cortés’s troops killed around 6,000 people, according to the Noticonquista website. 

You may locate Cholula by its emblem: the Great Pyramid. Dedicated to Tlaloc and built in various stages, it reaches 450 meters long per side and represents the largest pyramidal base in the world. On its top, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies was built. 

What to do and see in Cholula?

These are some of the experiences you can have in the oldest continuously inhabited city in Mexico. 

1. Archaeological Zone of Cholula

The Great Pyramid is so massive that it can easily be mistaken for a hill. According to the BBC, its base is 4 times larger than that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. 

Currently, it is possible to see the ceremonial patios of the south and west of the pyramid; It is one of the 3 areas that make up the Archaeological Zone of Cholula. 

There is a site museum, where you can see remains of the different construction stages of the pyramid and learn more about the mural painting found here.

It has a model to give you a clearer idea of ​​its structure and the enclosure also tells you the history of the archaeological zone.

Inside the Great Pyramid, a tunnel was built with 280 meters of simple and well-lit route, where it is possible to dimension the spectacular nature of this archaeological site from another perspective.  

2. Sanctuary of the Virgin of Remedies

There is no more famous postcard of Cholula than the panoramic view of this temple with Popocatepetl in the background. It is located at the top of the pyramid. 

The church was initially built in 1594 as a small hermitage but had to be rebuilt after an earthquake in 1864 destroyed it almost entirely. 

One of the most striking features is its dome lined on the outside with talavera. The temple is of neoclassical style on the façade and inside it is of republican baroque style. 

3. House of the Eagle Knight

It is the oldest New Spain building in the city, since its ground floor dates from the 16th century and the upper part has existed since the 17th century.

Throughout its history, it had different uses, from residential homes and commercial premises to a neighborhood.

It served as a location for the film “Enamorada”, directed in 1946 by Emilio “El Indio” Fernández and starring María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz. 

It is currently a museum with temporary exhibitions. Admission is free. 

4. Royal or Natural Chapel

How many Catholic temples with 49 nine domes do you know? Because it is inspired by the architecture of a mosque, the Royal Chapel is unique in Mexico and is a place you must-see during your visit to Cholula. 

The construction dates from the 17th century. It has 7 naves and 12 columns. His cross was carved in 1668. 

5. Talavera de la Reyna Gallery

This company, well known in Puebla for its work with talavera, has a gallery and workshop in San Andrés Cholula. They exhibit contemporary pieces and tell you about this technique with an artisan denomination of origin. 

6. Regional Museum of Cholula

It is located in the old Psychiatric Hospital of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Through pre-Hispanic pieces, paintings, regional art and multimedia elements, it covers topics as diverse as Cholula through time, the valley of the volcanoes in Puebla, and the building that houses the museum. 

7. San Gabriel Convent

Built-in 1552, it is another of the most historic temples in Cholula. It is believed that it was built on the land where a place of worship for Quetzalcóatl used to be. Inside there is a series of preserved murals from the 16th century, which recount scenes from the life of the Franciscan Order, which has been in charge of the convent. 

8. Stay in a historic hotel

The La Quinta Luna hotel is housed in a 17th-century mansion that is listed as a Historical Monument by the INAH. It is a colonial-type property that was inhabited by Juan de León y Mendoza, a direct descendant of the pre-Hispanic nobility. 

It has 7 suites, each one different from the others and most with old architectural elements, such as high ceilings with wooden beams. Among the amenities that you can find in some of the rooms are smart TV, Jacuzzi, fireplace or private terrace. 

The accommodation has a restaurant available for breakfast and a spa. 

9. Experience gastronomy

Both in the town of San Pedro Cholula and San Andrés Cholula, you find traditional and contemporary culinary proposals.

Among the typical dishes is the cecina cholulteca, which is served in restaurants such as Ciudad Sagrada, and the chalupas from Puebla, which are also prepared in La Norberta.

Chalupas are a snack prepared with fried corn dough and in the shape of a boat, stuffed with pork or other ingredients. 

Establishments like Casa Ardens are characterized by their variety: there are, for example, mole wraps and risotto with mushrooms from the volcano.

There is also Chez Marie, a French restaurant that uses some ingredients from the region, and the Central de Agaves mezcalería, perfect for lunch for its chilaquiles with 5 different sauces accompanied by flank steak, chistorra and cochinita. 

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