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PUEBLA

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Puebla de Los Angeles invites you to tour its churches, which astound visitors with their packed baroque interiors, its convents full of history and beauty, and its singular old houses and buildings "carpeted" with the unique Talavera tiles, a characteristic hallmark of a City still wrapped on its colonial robes.

The adventure continues along its noisy crafts markets, transits along its millenarian towns of pre-Hispanic origins, such as Cholula and Huejotzingo, and then it turns into a tenacious tour on the Popocatépetl (Smoking Mountain) and Itzaccíhuatl (White Dame) Volcanoes, two of the three highest summits in Mexico.

When in Puebla, you must not fail to visit the following places:

-El Zócalo: It was one of the first public spaces that surged after the founding of the City. Not much time had to pass before it became the heart of the nascent Puebla, being the Main Plaza, an indigenous marketplace, a tribunal in open air, and even a place for public executions; but it also performed other more festive roles, for it was a place to stage plays, religious ceremonies and even bullfights.
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    -The Cathedral: Simplicity has no room within this novo-Hispanic architectonic jewel of ancient Mexico. Its imposing 70-metre high belfries, the tallest in Latin America, and the delicate angels and cherubs seemingly yearning to fly off the iron grids, are a brief anticipation of the fulsomeness and exquisiteness of this magnificent religious precinct, the second largest in the country. Designed by Francisco de Becerra and Juan de Cigorondo, its construction was a long and intermittent process that started in 1575 and ended in 1649, being consecrated on April the 18th of that same year, under the advocacy of the Virgin of the Purest Conception. The ceremony was officiated by the City's Archbishop, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza.
    The monumental building, made out of limestone, links the early baroque with the refined Spanish renaissance. Its façade is sober and presents great doorways on which the images of gracious angels stand out.
    Its interior is a true ornamental fulsomeness with numerous pieces of great value disseminated upon its five naves, being of mush interest its main altarpiece, a work by the creative genius of Manuel Tolsá, its 14 lateral chapels, and its splendid choir stalls with ivory and bone applications. There are also mural and baroque paintings from the XVIII century and an entourage of angels on the atrium representing the City, officially christened Puebla de Los Angeles.
    The Cathedral was restored in 1960, and it is situated on 16 de Septiembre Avenue, unnumbered.

    -Municipal Palace: Splendid colonial portals, solid Toscana columns, and a tower on which a clock marks the pace of time, are a few features characteristic of this attractive building of French-Spanish renaissance style, a work of architect Carlos H. Hall. Built with grey quarry stones, the Palace was finished in 1906 and is currently a typical sample of public buildings' architecture built between the years 1870 and 1910.
    Its interior houses several artistic treasures, with a valuable collection of canvases and sculptures standing out. Besides, its captivating flight of stairs made of marble from Carrara is an architectonic beauty. It is located on 14 Portal Hidalgo, in the northern part of El Zócalo.

    -Palafoxian Library: Its history began in 1646 when Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, on a pious act of detachment, decided do donate all the volumes of his library, composed of more than 5000 titles, to the City of Puebla. The Library, one of the oldest in Mexico, was included on the list of Mexico's Historic Monuments in 1981. It currently houses more than 41582 volumes of theology, philosophy and the Holy Scriptures, amongst other branches of human knowledge.
    Its bookcases contain authentic bibliographical treasures, such as an incunabular with more than two thousand illustrations on linen paper, and an ancient edition of the Nuremberg Chronicles dating back to 1493.
    Besides the artistic and literary value of the thousands of volumes, this "temple of reading" preserves valuable bookcases of carved wood, a baroque altarpiece, tables made of onyx, and a circular bookstand for the books of large formats.
    It is located in the premises of the House of Culture (former Archiepiscopal Palace), on 5 Oriente Street, Colonia Centro.

    -House of the Dean: It was the monumental mansion of don Tomas de la Plaza y Goes, dean of the canonicals in Puebla, who hired the services of architect Francisco de Becerra (who took part on the drawings of the Cathedral). The works ended in 1580, being the result a magnificent home of renaissance style.
    The house keeps its noticeable portal from its original design, along with two rooms whose walls show ancient murals "rediscovered" in 1953, being called since then with the names of The Sibyls and The Triumphs.
    In the first one, probably a dinning room, one can see images of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, whilst the second one bewilders visitors for its illustrations allegorical to love, chastity, fame, time and death, inspired on the verses of Italian poet Francesco Petrarca.
    It is on 505, 16 de Septiembre Street.

    -House of He who killed the Animal: There was a legend in colonial times referring the fight between a conquistador and a huge killer rattlesnake who had already claimed several human lives.
    This legendary clash, possibly related to the cult of Quetzalcóatl, the feathered serpent of the Aztecs, was represented on the singular façade of this house, built in the XVI century.
    It is located on 301, 3 Oriente Street. It is the current seat of El Sol de Puebla newspaper.

    -House of the Puppets: It bears this name due to the 16 human figures made out of glazed tiles on its façade that seem to be dancing. Of baroque style and built in 1792, the house had mayor and town councillor Agustin de Ovando y Villavicencio as its first proprietor. It is said that the then Town authority ordered the placing of these figures to mock his political enemies, who fustigated and accused him of having built the house without the corresponding permit.
    However, there are scholars who assure that the said images have no relation with ephemeral political conflicts whatsoever, but that they represent an ancient myth know as "Hercules' Tasks".
    In 1983 the Autonomous University of Puebla acquired the old house. After some modifications that did not damage its original structure, its rooms became the exhibition rooms of the University Museum, where more than 200 colonial paintings, besides several instruments and scientific appliances, used in the lecture rooms and laboratories of this academic facility founded by the Jesuits, are exhibited. It is situated on the crossing of 2 Norte and Maximino Avila Camacho Streets.

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