March 19, 2006

Cacaxtla Archaeological Site (Tlaxcala), 19.03.06

GPS Track Video

Photoset Show

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 120 Km, Ascent: 1419 m, Time: 5:29 hr, Avg Speed: 22 Km/hr, Max Speed: 65.3 Km/hr

Travel Report:

This ride started at the early hour of 08:30 at the sub-urban train eastern terminus La Paz. From this terminal, I merged myself with the paid highway to Puebla at Km 21, arriving later (at Km 35) at the toll collect station Huixtoco in something like 30 minutes.

As I had a little of time this occasion, I took some photos of a religious offering that stands in the highway at Km 40.8. I had always wanted to see that offering, but had never before time to stop and have a look at it. This offering stands to regret the loss of a young man at that very place, where he died at the young age of 19 :-( The offering was made by his parents. I believe the offering was made in the year 2000.

Continuing with the trend in this ride to explore places that I usually pass without stopping, I stopped to have a look at some Mirador (alt: 2800 m): a sightseeing point located just before the Medical Rescue Service. From this Mirador you can see ... nothing ! This place is better described as a trash dumpster, as there is a lot trash dumped in that very place. On the other hand, there is no vista to see in that place, as it is almost leveled with the rest of its surroundings. A proper Mirador is usually located very high above its surroundings level. But well ...

I continued climbing along the route, reaching the Llano Grande summit (alt: 3200 m) at 11:30. From there I started the descent all the way to Texmelucan (Puebla), where I took its deviation, abandoning the paid highway to Puebla.

I do remember that I lost my way after Texmelucan. The reason is that this was my first time in those regions, and I haven't still mastered the routes. So I deviated from the intended route and ended in Villa Matamoros, far far away from the correct route. But there, in Villa Matamoros, when I asked for Cacaxtla, a local driving its motorcycle with his kid promptly offered to guide me to the proper route ! That help represented for him a ride two towns away from its own, but he insisted ... so I gladly accepted :-) I must thank him here for his very kind and invaluable help :-)

Once I followed him trough two or three towns, I was finally on the right path, on the way to Tepetitla ! I entered Tepetitla by its rear side (since I was just incorporating myself to right track), There I could observe the vestiges of an ancient Hacienda (Ranch). Unfortunately, I did not get the name of that Hacienda.

After passing Tepetitla, Atoyatenco, and Xochitecatitla, I could finally arrive at Capula, town that houses the archaeological site. After climbing a final cruel ascent, I did finally arrive at Cacaxtla, target of the travel.

In Cacaxtla we can find several beautiful murals, i.e: paintings on the walls of the building complex (the Great Basement), dating back to 650 CE. This city was the center of the Olmec-Xicalanca culture. This culture was a mixture of another three cultures: nahuas, mixtecs and chocho-popolocas. The origin of this cultures was Xicalanco, in the present state of Campeche.

Cacaxtla is really a very sui generis archaeological site. It is the only one that I know, that is entirely under an immense artificial hood ! Really, the main building: the Great Basement, is entirely under a metal sheet roof of gigantic dimensions ! On a previous visit (albeit not in bike) the roof was still under construction, and visits to the site were not allowed for merely mortals. But now, two years after, the site was open for everyone. As any site is best described with pictures than with merely words, I kindly invite you to have a look at the photoset of the ride. I really do recommend you to have a profound look at the ancient murals shown in the pictures. They represent some of the best maintained and taken care of murals in the whole country.

Once I had finished my visit to the site, I rode back to Texmelucan, distant about 20 Km from Cacaxtla, This last leg of my trip was rode over relatively plain terrain. Once back in Texmelucan, I took the bus back home, where I arrived without incidents :-)

Thank you for reading :-) Till the next journey !