‪The Cacaxtla Archeological Site‬

חוות דעת על ‪The Cacaxtla Archeological Site‬, ‪Nativitas Municipality‬

‪The Cacaxtla Archeological Site‬

‪The Cacaxtla Archeological Site‬
‪10:00 - 16:00‬
10:00 - 16:00
10:00 - 16:00
10:00 - 16:00
10:00 - 16:00
‪Suggested duration‬
2-1 שעות
‪Suggest edits to improve what we show.‬
‪Improve this listing‬

‪209 reviews‬
‪Very good‬

‪Fair Oaks‬, קליפורניה‪13 contributions‬
‪Open select days‬
לבד • אוג׳ 2021
‪Site is now open a couple of days per week. I had to drive there to get accurate information. A common occurrence in the times of covid!‬
‪Written 28 באוגוסט 2021‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

ניו יורק, ניו יורק‪4 contributions‬
דצמ׳ 2019
‪We parked our car in a lot across from the entrance. A kid and a woman double parked us in intentionally even though there was tons of parking available and demanded we pay for them to move their car. AWFUL. DISGUSTING. BEWARE OF THIS SCAM AND REPORT TO THE POLICE IF NECESSARY.‬
‪Written 3 בינואר 2020‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

נובה סקושה, קנדה‪3,570 contributions‬
‪One of Mexico's Most Important Archaeological Sites‬
זוגות • נוב׳ 2018
‪I note that one recent reviewer describes being robbed at Cacaxtla which emphasizes why it is always best to travel in a group with a local guide. Despite that, this is a must visit place if you have an interest in pre-Columbian Mexico and its long history of mural painting. Here's why.

Many visitors to Mexico make it a point to see some of the great murals of the 20th century by artists like Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco that depict important scenes from Mexico's history in ways that are understandable to every Mexican, whether literate or not. I know I did in Mexico City by visiting the National Palace where Rivera's grand murals that surround the walls and stairways are overwhelming. However, the tradition of Mexican mural painting goes back far earlier than the 20th century, in fact over a 1,500 years earlier at a minimum.

Cacaxtla (pronounced Ka-cosh-la) lies a short distance outside the regional capital of Puebla where we have been staying for the last few days. On the way, we pick up our local guide Jean-Luis who is an elderly gent who carries a walking stick and is a fountain of information on all things related to the Puebla area including Cacaxtla.

Amazingly, the location of Cacaxtla was completely unknown until 1974 when what was presumed simply to be a natural hill was found to be a huge complex that might be the largest palace in all of Meso-America. Archaeologists have been working there almost continually since. What they have found is mysterious and controversial. The site dates from 650  to 900 which was after the collapse of the nearby cities of Cholula and Teotihuacan. Strangely, there are traces of Olmec influence even though they had supposedly disappeared from the scene over 800 years earlier. There are also Mayan influences as well. Just who the people who built Cacaxtla were is still unresolved as is the status of the exactly what Cacaxtla was actually meant to be. It was definitely not a city as there are few other ruins around it that are not strictly ceremonial.

Nearby are the much older ruins of Xochitecatl which you could visit by walking over from Cacaxtla, it is that close.

The one thing everyone agrees upon is that whoever built Cacaxtla, they were a very militaristic society as evidenced by the subject of most of the murals.

The site consists of both an excellent if small museum and the actual archaeological site which is several hundred metres away. Jean-Luis takes us through the museum first where there are reproductions of some of the murals found at Cacaxtla. Frankly, in retrospect, these are much more brightly coloured than the originals and give an idea of how they must have looked when fresh.

I've included a photo of a reproduction of what is called the Birdman Mural. The largest mural at Cacxtla depicts a battle between the Jaguarmen and the Birdmen, with the Jaguars winning. No one knows for sure who the Birdmen were supposed to be, but many believe they were Mayans. On the other hand the great demi-god Quetzalcoatl is often depicted something like this and the real bird behind him is almost certainly a quetzal.

Opposite the Birdman is the Jaguarman who is ferocious looking and like Birdman, stands atop either a snake or a dragon. The water dropping from his hand may mean that he is some type of rain or fertility god. Without further discoveries it is unlikely that the definitive solution to who these two guys were, will remain unresolved.

Murals are not the only important artifacts from Cacaxtla. There are clay masks depicting very different looking peoples as well as ceremonial vases which may have held the hearts and organs of sacrificed victims. There are also bones that show clear signs of cannibalism.

After the terracotta warriors in the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in Xi'an, China, Cacaxtla is the second largest covered archaeological site on the planet. Once unearthed, the murals had to be protected from both the relentless Mexican sun and the occasional rains or they would be destroyed in no time.

There is a plan of the Gran Basamento that is found at the entrance to the stairs you must climb to get into the place. It sounds weird because, speaking English, the word basamento conjures 'basement' and yet this is very opposite of a basement. In fact the word translates more as 'base' or 'plinth' than basement.

Reading the inscription you learn that this structure built over three centuries during nine distinct construction phases.

This is the third major archaeological site we have visited on this tour outside of Mexico City and like Monte Alban and Mitla there's almost nobody here. It's incredible to me how tourists fixate on one or two sites in Mexico like Teotihuacan or Chichen Itza, which are great, but very crowded to the exclusion of dozens of others that you can explore at your leisure without the hordes and those darn selfie sticks.

I've also included a photo of the interior of the Gran Basamento. The wall in the centre contains the Cacaxtla Battle Mural which is in two parts divided by a staircase. It's badly faded and nowhere near as bright as the reproductions in the museum.

Still, Jean-Luis did a great job of pointing out the salient features of this and other murals in the Gran Basamento. In the Battle Mural the victorious jaguarmen massacre and dismember the losing birdmen. Nobody knows if this scene depicted a real battle or was just wishful thinking on the part of the jaguar forces. Without a guide you would have very little idea of what was being depicted in these murals.

Overall, Cacaxtla was more than worth visiting and I highly recommend it to those with an interest in history.‬
‪Written 21 במאי 2019‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

מילאנו, איטליה‪258 contributions‬
‪A citadel of the 7th century, with lots of mural paintings‬
זוגות • פבר׳ 2019
‪This site contains the ruins of two Olmec towns of the 7th - 8th century, Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl. The most important remains are those of Cacaxtla, where there was a citadel on the summit of a hill; among the ruins of the citadel there are still many murals of the same period, in excellent conditions. My review concerns the Cacaxtla site only.

The citadel of Cacaxtla was built on a natural rocky platform which spans on the top of the hill and is surrounded by ravines: this platform is about 10,000 square meters in area and 25 meters thick, and therefore is a very defensible place. Palaces and places of worship were built on the platform. The remains of the citadel were excavated after 1980 and the site was opened to the public just a few years ago. The remains have been sheltered with a sheet-metal roof that covers them entirely; this roof is much larger than a soccer field, and can be spotted from several kilometres afar. The site can be visited by walking along a wooden catwalk that climbs up the rocky platform and then runs through the ruins. This arrangement is very practical: the catwalk makes the visitors' journey easy, prevents them from stepping onto the ruins and guides them to the most interesting points.

The top attraction of the citadel are the murals: there are many of them, depicting scenes of life, battles, mythical characters and historical personalities; the most famous one is the mural called "The Battle", a real masterpiece of painting. The pictures appear conceptually very modern: the artistic complexity of the compositions is to be admired, along with the skillful use of the colours, the intense dramatization of the scenes and the realistic representation of the action; all this contributes to the feeling that the artistic concepts of those people were much closer to ours than it is generally expected; however the paintings are loaded with symbolisms that are not easily understood by an occasional visitor like a tourist, and lot of studies have been carried out by the specialists in order to interpret those symbols. The murals are protected by large glass plates placed about one metre in front of them; although they do not hinder the vision, yet it is rather difficult to see distinctly the paintings since the colours are somewhat faint, there is no artificial lighting, the daylight is weakened by the metal roof, the protective glasses may blur the vision, and the visitors are kept far enough from the murals; the use of binoculars would certainly improve the vision, and I advise you to bring them if you have them. The use of the flash in taking pictures is forbidden. From the citadel there is a nice view to the pyramid of Xochitecatl, standing on a nearby hill. The visit of Cacaxtla takes about one hour.

Cacaxtla is about 19 kilometres away from Tlaxcala, in a rather isolated position. The entrance to the site is within the village of San Miguel del Milagro, and the best way of reaching it (and perhaps the only one) is the taxi. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and admission is 75 Pesos (February 2019, equivalent to a little more than 4 US dollars). From the entrance you have to walk about half a mile for reaching the ruins. There are restrooms near the ruins as well as near the entrance, but those at the entrance were closed when I visited.‬
‪Written 27 במרץ 2019‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

Ken G
סנטה פה, ניו מקסיקו‪93 contributions‬
זוגות • דצמ׳ 2018
‪Just had a friend and his girlfriend visiting this site and they were robbed at gunpoint. She suffered a cut to her face. Imo, not worth the visit. ‬
‪Written 31 בדצמבר 2018‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

‪Juhu‬, הודו‪120 contributions‬
‪Very interesting and easily accessible‬
אוק׳ 2018
‪This pre-Aztec site has been excavated and developed in a way that leaves its integrity while allowing a full visit. The views are spectacular. There are several murals that are intact and panels explaining the mythology.
I only wish they would have left the walking path to Xochitecatl open. The fact that the path was closed meant we had to an arduous journey on foot and via public transportation to get from Cacaxtla to Xochitetecatl. We found the sites beautiful, mystical and very interesting. ‬
‪Written 31 בדצמבר 2018‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

ממפיס, טנסי‪1,160 contributions‬
‪Marvelous Murals‬
זוגות • נוב׳ 2018
‪What more ruins?!? Ah, but once again these were unlike any of the others we had seen during these travels through Mexico. There was a bit of a walk from the parking area to the site which sits high on a hill under protective canopies. And the covering protects many phenomenal murals. These were so worthy of our visit. The museum was excellent as well.‬
‪Written 19 בדצמבר 2018‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

לוס אנג'לס, קליפורניה‪1,693 contributions‬
‪Beautiful murals‬
זוגות • נוב׳ 2018
‪This was the last ruins we visited, and it was fantastic. The murals are bright and amazing. It is a bit of a walk from the entrance to the site, and part was closed for renovation. The murals are protected, and you can't get super close--but their condition is amazing. Be sure to stop in the museum as well.‬
‪Written 19 בנובמבר 2018‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

Ron S
ניו יורק, ניו יורק‪4,879 contributions‬
משפחה • פבר׳ 2018
‪If you're looking for directions to Cacaxtla on Google maps it may be a bit confusing as Avenida Cacaxtla continues past the Zona Arqueologica sign to Cacaxtla but the track stops right at the Zona sign. The street view doesn't help much either as it shows some kind of a monument with a crab-like relief at the top and doesn't let you proceed past it. But it's really what it is, the entrance to the site. The Avenida is a walking path leading to the Cacaxtla palace. A friendly attendant runs a parking lot across from the entrance for 30 pesos per car. The road signs to Cacaxtla and/or Xochitecatl are pretty good. Xochitecatl is a 20-minute drive from Cacaxtla even though there is a path between the two sites which are adjacent but separated by a fence with the permanently shut gates. The combined ticket to both Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl is 70 pesos.

Of the two, Cacaxtla is definitely the one to see as it has a number of excellent murals and bar-reliefs. The palace is covered by a huge protective canopy so the sun is not a problem. Bring a good zoom lens as the murals are some 30-40 feet behind guard rails. Xochitecatl boasts great views, you can see the Popocatepetl volcano from its Pyramid of Flowers, but other than that there's not much to do as it has just 3 structures to explore. So if you're pressed for time skip Xochitecatl. Both sites have nice little museums included in the price of the ticket.‬
‪Written 10 באוגוסט 2018‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

Bucerias‪224 contributions‬
‪Poor road signage makes finding it difficult‬
זוגות • אפר׳ 2018
‪And tho we enjoyed our visit to Cacaxtla, it meant we had lost the time we had allocated to visit the other site. Happy enough with this one tho, good quality painted murals, had the place to ourselves. Expect everyone else were driving around the unmarked roads too ! Possibly best to do the 2 sites on a tour.‬
‪Written 24 במאי 2018‬
‪This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.‬

Showing results 1-10 of 68
‪Anything missing or inaccurate?‬
‪Suggest edits to improve what we show.‬
‪Improve this listing‬