Puebla is known, among other things, for its talavera pottery, la China Poblana, it's food (especially mole), and as the battle site of the unlikely victory against French forces on May 5 (Cinco de mayo) 1862 (note -- 5 de mayo is NOT Mexico's Independence Day).
|view of Iztaccihuatl ("the sleeping woman") volanco on the|
drive to Puebla
|view of Iztaccihuatl (left, dormant) and Popocatepetl (right, active) |
|view of Iztaccihuatl|
In Cholula we visited the Great Pyramid of Cholula. It is the largest pyramid in the world but it looks like a hill or mountain because it has been covered with earth and grass. Like other pyramids in Mexico, the Great Pyramid was built in various phases, in successive layers. There are various tunnels that traverse the pyramid (dug during excavations), but they are now closed to the public. On top of the pyramid is a church, built by the Spaniards. To me, the most fascinating part was that if you clap in the courtyard area, a sound "echos" (though not an echo) back that sounds like a Quetzal bird. It was believed that it was the gods answering back.
|the "hill" is the covered pyramid|
|the separate walls indicate different constructions at different times|
|clapping in front of the stone results in the Quetzal sound|
From there, we visited Puebla -- the capital of the state of the same name.
We saw the house of the China Poblana ("the Chinese Pueblan" -- neither Chinese or from Puebla). I've heard/seen various versions of the legend, it's something along the lines that a young girl from Indian was stolen and eventually ended up in Mexico (was sold? escaped by hiding in a barrel that was sent on a ship?), where she was first a servant (but more like a daughter?) and later married a Chinese man (contributing to the idea she was Chinese, though the term "chino" is often used as a generalization for Asian). She is credited (at least in legend) with the creation of the China poblana style of clothing -- a white blouse and colorful embroidered red and green skirt -- which has become a folkloric, national symbol of Mexico.