Tlaxcala Tourist Attractions
How to get thereFrom Mexico City by bus about 2 hours; by car 113km/70mi along the MEX 150 and MEX 119.Tlaxcala is situated in the Mexican highlands on the slopes of the eastern Sierra Madre and is the capital of the state of the same name.
The town was once a focal point in the process of integration between Spaniards and Indians and also in the Christianisation of Mexico. Only a few old buildings in the town's sleepy little centre remain as evidence of its long and important history.HistoryTlaxcala (Náhuatl: "place of maize") was given its later name "de Xicoténcatl" from a ruler at the time of the Conquista, who opposed any alliance with the Spanish. The town was founded in the middle of the 14th c. by a Nahua tribe called the Tlatepotzca, which had migrated from Texcoco, and for almost 200 years its played an important role as capital of a republic seeking to assert itself against the surrounding Aztec empire. The town's history prior to the arrival of the Spanish is closely connected with the Tlaxcaltec state.The Spanish arrived as early as 1519 on their way to Tenochtitlán and after initial hostilities the Tlaxcaltecs forged an alliance with them against the Aztecs. After their withdrawal from Tenochtitlán ("Noche Triste") the Spanish were able to gather here and rearm with the support of the indigenous population. Without the help of Tlaxcala, which provided Cortés with protection as well as materials and warriors, the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán would possibly never have succeeded. In 1524 Franciscans were involved in building new additions to the town and giving the first Christian baptisms to Indians in Mexico. In 1535 Emperor Charles V granted the town its charter as well as special privileges in recognition of the support which the Tlaxcaltecs had given to the Spanish. The populous town, which at that time was one of the largest in Mexico, lost a large proportion of its inhabitants between 1544 and 1546 owing to a plague outbreak. Tlaxcala was never really able to recover from this setback and as a result the part it has played in the later history of Mexico has been relatively modest.
The Palacio Municipal (town hall) stands in the Plaza de la Constitución and was built in 1550. Its second-storey window arches are fashioned in the unusual and arresting Indian-Moorish style.
Palace of Justice
The present-day palace of justice (Palacio de Justicia), which is on the site of the old royal chapel (Capilla Real), was begun in 1528. Towards the end of the 18th c. it was partially destroyed by a fire, and then in 1800 by an earthquake. The bas-reliefs on the entrance frieze, which show the coats of arms of Castile and León and the House of Hapsburg, are a survival from the original chapel.
Parish Church of San José
Church of San Francisco
Near the Plaza in a south-easterly direction are the convent and church of San Francisco, founded in 1526 and thereby becoming the first monastic foundation in Mexico. The main complex of buildings on the convent site was erected between 1537 and 1540 and this is where the renovated and newly-equipped regional museum (Museo Regional) is housed.
Address: Avenida Juarez, Ex-Palacio Legislativo, Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala 90000, Mexico
Opening hours: 7am-2pm, 5pm-8pm
Iglesia de la Asunción
The Iglesia de la Asunción, today Tlaxcala's cathedral, is worth seeing for its magnificent Moorish-style cedarwood ceiling decorated with stars and also for the font in the Chapel of the Third Order where the four rulers of Tlaxcala are supposed to have been baptised.On a lower level, reached by two flights of steps, is the Gothic "Open Chapel" (Capilla Abierta or Capilla de Indios), which was one of the first of its kind in Mexico. In the atrium can be seen the remains of two of the original four Capillas Posas (processional chapels).
Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares
Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares In this museum (C. Emilio Sánchez) local people display examples of weaving and carpet-knotting work. The production of pulque (Mexican fermented drink) is also explained.
Just outside of Tlaxcala is the Basilica of the Virgin of Ocotlán, with an 18th C Churrigueresque facade. The dramatic entrance and tower tops are a brilliant white, and stark contrast to the surrounding red tiles.