DescriptionCapital of the same-named state, Tlaxcala (tlas-KAH-lah) is about 75 miles east of Mexico City. This amiable colonial town is off the tourist track, but it's one of Mexico's most picturesque places, and makes for a delightful day trip from Mexico City or Puebla.
Buildings downtown are painted in shades of sepia, deep red and orange. Plaza Constitución, the main square, has neatly trimmed trees, a bandstand and a burbling fountain presented to the city by King Philip III.
On the plaza's north side is the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), with a brick exterior accented by ornately decorated windows and doorways. Inside are extravagantly colorful murals depicting agricultural life and the history of the Tlaxcaltec people, painted in the early 1960s by local artist Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin.
Also on the plaza is the baroque Palace of Justice (Palacio de Justicia), with neoclassic touches added in the 18th century. Inside the Parish Church of St. Joseph (Parroquía de San José), a peach-colored building, is the Chapel of St. Joseph (Capilla de San José), which has an arched ceiling with plaster ornamentation and impressive altarpieces.
Perhaps the finest examples of pre-Columbian artwork in all of Mexico are the mural paintings on view at the ruins of Cacaxtla (ca-CASHT-la). Discovered in 1975, they remain vividly colorful more than a thousand years after their execution. Archeological evidence suggests the city that once stood here reached a peak of development between A.D. 650 and 900, and was abandoned by the beginning of the 11th century.
Cacaxtla's earliest structures were a group of adobe edifices demolished over time and filled in to form a large platform. This process was repeated several times until the foundation reached its present height. Most of the structures seen today are vestiges dating from the latest period of construction. Ceremonial courtyards, tombs and enclosures were repeatedly reconfigured during the site's centuries of occupation.
About 45 kilometers (28 miles) southeast of Tlaxcala is La Malinche National Park. The park's dominant feature is La Malinche, an extinct volcano 14,632 feet high. At the park entrance is Malintzin, a vacation resort run by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) that offers lodgings, sports facilities and medical services in a wooded setting. Malintzin lies at a 9,840-foot elevation on the northern slopes of the mountain; from a marked exit on Mex. 136 between the towns of Apizaco and Huamantla (the sign reads “Centro Vacacional Malintzi”), a road ascends 14 kilometers (9 miles) to the retreat.
Visitor InfoTlaxcala State Tourism Office (Secretaría de Turismo)
Things to SeeCacaxtla Ruins