January 16, 2007

Xochicalco Archaeological Site + Cuernavaca (Morelos), 14.01.07

Map Navigation: This dynamic Trackmap shows the GPS track (red line) and some geo-referenced photos (red dots) of the cycling tour. Wheel up and wheel down your mouse to zoom in or zoom out the map. Click on any point in the map to center it on that point. Or just drag the map with your mouse. To see the photos, hoover the mouse over the red dots. Click on the photo to go to the picture page.

Photoset Map

Photoset Show

GPS Track: GPX (MapSource, et al), or KMZ (Google Earth)

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 160 Km, Ascent: 1827 m, Time: 6:48 hr, Average Speed: 23.5 Km/hr, Energy: 26.95 MJ, Cycling Power: 275 W, Specific Power: 3.66 W/Kg.

Travel Report

The road to the Archaeological Site of Xochicalco (House of the Flowers), in the neighboring state of Morelos, was our usual road to Cuernavaca: the free highway. After arriving at the equestrian statue of Zapata at the entrance of the city, I took the Libramiento in order to turn around the city (avoiding its traffic jam). Once surrounded, I retook the free highway to Acapulco, passing Temixco and Acatlipa, arriving at Alpuyeca. In Alpuyeca I turned to the right in order to arrive at the town of Xochicalco. The entrance of the archaeological site is located just a few kilometers after this town, but after a step ascent of ca. 15 % !

This archaeological site is really fabulous. For starters, its size is overwhelming. The visit to the site starts with a corridor that sides with a big pyramid. There is a small palm hut where a label with the name of the site can bee seen, along with a beautiful vista of the Lake El Rodeo. Raising the stairway appears the astonishing view of the Plaza of the Two Glyphs Stela. The two glyphs depicted in the stela erected in the middle of the Plaza (10 Acatl and 9 Reptile Eye) are related with the cult of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. The Plaza is an imposing ritual and ceremonial center, which is surrounded by the four sides by impressive religious and civic temples. The stela is located in the middle of the plaza, on the top of a square basement.

Continuing our tour on the left side of the Plaza, we arrived at another enormous stair cased pyramid, which will enable us to arrive at the following upper level of the site. It is a pity that I did not get the name of this last pyramid. After finishing climbing up, I arrived at the following level, where is located (among other buildings) the magnificent Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent). It features frizies (on all lateral slopes of the pyramid) depicting the Plummed Serpents (eight of the in total) colling around the sizes. There are even representations of Mayan peoples in the frizies of this pyramid ! I think this shows the clear influences (or even its creation) of the Mayan cultures (Olmecs-Xicallancas) in the building of this city. There is a recurrent glyph represented on the pyramid's slope: the 9 Reptile Eye, which is related to the New Fire. The New Fire was a ceremony performed every 52 years here, that symbolized the cyclic nature of the Universe, and its re-starting every 52 years, in the Aztec cosmogony.

Going to the end of the site, I arrived at the Acropolis, its highest area. This place was the residence of the rulers of the city. The Acropolis is clearly divided in two areas, one residential (where rooms and beds can be appreciated) and another ceremonial area (with four large areas and a central courtyard). After this points, I started walking back my steps in order to gain access to the exit of this beautiful and enormous archaeological site.

At about 17:00 I left the archaeological site, cycling now towards Xochicalco, Alpuyeca, Acatlipa, and Temixco, arriving finally at the city of Cuernavaca (Morelos state capital) at about 19:00, after an interesting ascent of more than 600 m, my last leg from Alpuyeca. I took the bus back home (at the Pullman Centro bus station, 63 pesos) at 20:00, after sightseeing some of the city, arriving safely 2 hours later in Mexico City.

Thank you for reading. Till the next journey !

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