Sunday, October 19, 2014

CHOLULA, PUEBLA: A Walking Tour of the Great Pyramid of Cholula



     Cholula is a Pueblo Mágico, a town with beauty, historical relevance, and an amazing archaeological zone. We spent an afternoon touring the Great Pyramid of Cholula, both the interior and outside. The Pyramid is located in the San Andrés Cholula, Puebla municipality, an important detail when trying to locate it the first time. From a distance it looks like a large natural hill with the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary and its numerous churches perched on top. The history of the construction of the pyramid itself spans over a period of at least one thousand years prior to the Spanish Conquest. Consecutive construction phases gradually built up the bulk of the pyramid until it became the largest in Mexico by volume. The temple-pyramid complex was built in four stages, beginning around 200 BC. and was already covered by dirt by the time Cortez arrived in Cholula in 1519 AD, 1700 years later. This was one ancient temple he did not destroy in order to build his own monuments. In 1594, the Spanish simply built a church, La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, on top of what they thought was a natural hill. It has a base of
 La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora Church
450 by 450 metres (1,480 by 1,480 ft) and a height of 66 m (217 ft). According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid as well as the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world, with a total volume estimated at over 4.45 million cubic metres,
     We climbed the many steps to the top of The Great Pyramid and really felt the effect of the 7000 foot altitude on our lungs and on our stamina. My "Fitbit" pedometer told me that we climbed the equivalent of 20 stories to get to the level where this beautiful Catholic Church was built! 
     We then purchased a ticket at the ticket booth at the base of the pyramid to take a self-guided tour through the tunnels and stairways within the ancient structure. It was fascinating, imagining people 2200 years ago, carving out the soil and rock to form miles and miles of walkways, stairways, and chambers under the ground. English-speaking guides were available to take us through for a fee, but we did not think it was necessary. We probably would have learned a lot more by hiring a guide and would recommend it to others.
Jon Climbing The Many Steps Up The Pyramid
Finally, Reaching The Top of the Pyramid!

A View From The Top - Another Pyramid Hill!

 Front Of La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora

A Passage Inside the Great Pyramid of Cholula
Church on the Pyramid Was Beautiful at Night!

A Stairway Inside the Great Pyramid of Cholula
Pyramid Behind Ciudad Sagrada Restaurant
Dinner at Ciudad Sagrada, Pyramid Behind Us
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