Mexico: State of Tlaxcala (2017 & 2018)

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(This banner shows a portion of a mural of Desiderio Hermandez Xochitlotzin in El Palacio de Gobierno of Tlaxcala.)

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The state of Tlaxcala (capital: Tlaxcala de Xicohtencatl) is located east of Mexico City. It is the smallest of the 31 states of the Mexican federation. Its population is approximately 1.3 million and that of its capital is only 90,000.

 

(November 2018) Tlaxcala de Xicohtencatl:

As one would expect, the relatively small city of Tlaxcala is much more laid-back than other state capitals in Mexico. One of its main attractions is the collection of stunning murals of Desiderio Hermandez Xochitlotzin (1922-2007) that recount the history of Tlaxcala and its contribution to Mexican identity. They are located in the Palacio de Gobierno on the Plaza de la Constitucion.

 

Facade of the Palacio de Gobierno, built in 1545.

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The murals are located in the entrance hall of the palacio and along the stairway to the second floor. They cover a total area of ~500sq.m.

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Some of the murals (in no specific order).

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[This mural spans three walls surrounding the stairway from the entrance hall to the second floor.]

 

Paseo San Francisco leading to the Ex-Convento Franciscano de la Asuncion. The ex-convent and its church are located slightly further up on the left of the stone arches, while the bell tower stands isolated on the right of the arches. A passage hidden above the arches connects the ex-convent and the bell tower.

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Moorish-style wooden ceiling in the church of the Ex-Convento Franciscano de la Asuncion built in the mid 16th century.

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Capilla Abierta (open chapel) and three brick arches, on the other side of the Paseo San Francisco from the ex-convent′s church. The isolated bell tower is visible in the second photo below, along with a small portion of the stone arches that connect it to the ex-convent. Note also the bullring (yellow and red) on the left of this second photo.

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Plaza de Toros Jorge ″El Ranchero″ Aguilar located below Capilla Abierta (with the ex-convento′s bell tower in the photo on the right).

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Parroquia de San Jose (closed in 2018 due to the 2017 earthquake).

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In the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Ocotlan.

 

 

 

(November 2017) Cacaxtla and Xochtecatl (State of Tlaxcala):

Cacaxtla and Xochtecatl are two archeological sites located in the southern part of the state of Tlaxcala. Cacaxtla reached its peak between 650AD and 950AD. It was ″rediscovered″ in the mid-1970s and excavated since the 1980s. It is most famous for its colorful murals that combine local symbology with Maya stylistic influence. Xochtecatl is much older (1000-400BC), but it was reoccupied in the 7th century as an extension of Cacaxtla.

 

Seven of the eleven Senores de Cacaxtla exposed in the museum of Cacaxtla. These amazingly well preserved clay sculptures represent priests or deities with complex headdresses and costumes. Each sculpture is distinct, but their characteristics indicate that they are associated with the agriculture cycle.

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The main part of the archeological site of Cacaxtla is on top of a 25m-high natural platform, now protected by a huge metallic roof. The original mural paintings can be viewed in situ.

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Mural of the ″Templo Rojo″ (original painting in situ on the left and reproduced painting in the museum on the right).

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The ″Feline Man″ (original painting in situ on the left and reproduced painting in the museum on the right).

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The ″Bird Man″ (original painting in situ on the left and reproduced painting in the museum on the right).

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Two sections of the 20m-long ″Battle Mural″ (dating from prior to 700AD), a life-size depiction of an epic battle between two groups of warriors. Some details go as far as to show entrails falling from warrior bellies. On the lower right of the first picture below and the lower left of the second, one can even see a warrior who tries to push back his guts into his body.

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The Spiral Pyramid of Xochitecatl, built around 700BC. The pyramid had no stairway giving access to the top. So, it is believed that it was climbed by following the spiral steps. The cross on top of the pyramid was erected in 1632. Popocatepetl is visible in the background on the left of the pyramid.

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The Pyramid of Flowers of Xochitecatl seen from the Spiral Pyramid. Its base measures 140mx100m. Part of La Malinche volcano (~4440m) is visible in the background.

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The Pyramid of Flowers seen from the Serpent Building. The monolithic stone basin in the forefront sits on the Serpent Building. It is 60cm-high with a diameter of 1.3m. A snake head is carved in the damaged stela deposited inside the basin, giving its name to the building.

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View from the top of the Pyramid of Flowers, with Iztaccihuatl in the background and the Spiral Pyramid in the lower right of the photo.

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View over the fertile plain on the north-east side of the Pyramid of Flowers.

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Typical local church in the pueblo under Cacaxtla, with markings embedded in the pathway to its entrance door remembering people who died long ago.

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