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Beautiful Cholula and Day of the Dead

On our last day in Puebla, Mexico our AirBnB hosts took us out for the day. In the morning we headed to Cholula, a city that is part of the metro area of Puebla. It is most famous for its great pyramid which is one of the largest in the world. From the outside it just looks like an overgrown hill, with a beautiful church on top. But it hides a whole history of treasures. Part of it has been excavated, and you can walk through a tunnel network underneath, as well as visit the small museum. The Pre-hispanic history dates back to the 3rd century BC and the pyramid has been built upon, extended and rebuilt over many centuries.

As well as going through the tunnels and exploring the archaeological site you can climb to the top of the pyramid to visit the church, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. Like so many churches in Puebla this one is stunning both inside and out. Add to that the backdrop of an active volcano, and it is not surprising it is one of the most photographed landmarks in the area.

During our 7 weeks in Puebla the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl were mostly shrouded by clouds, with just a few clear days. Fortunately this was one of the cloudless days. And extra lucky for us it also happened to be a day when Popo (the active one of the two) spewed ash and smoke over 2,000 meters into the air. We were actually inside the church when the bulk of the eruption happened. You can see from our photos before and after the eruption.

Pictures taken a few minutes before and after Popo erupted
Beautiful Cholula from the top of the pyramid
We stopped at a couple of other really incredible churches in the area. The church of Santa María Tonantzintla is just a few miles south of the square in Cholula , but there was a service going on while we were there, so no inside pictures.

 Santa María Tonantzintla
And on our way back to Puebla we stopped at the Church of San Francisco Acatepec. I am not sure what the occasion was but there were lavish displays both at this church and at the entrance to a few of the neighborhood streets.

Church of San Francisco Acatepec
Inside San Francisco Acatepec

One of many lavish displays we saw in Cholula
Cholula is well worth a visit. In the evening our hosts took us to another wonderful event the Corredor de Ofrendas. This event runs for a couple of weeks leading up to the Day of the Dead celebrations and consists of 10 altars set up around the historic center of the city, all celebrating famous figures who have left a legacy for the city. We visited several of the altars and they were spectacular.

Obispo Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, la Catedral y Biblioteca PalafoxianaThis is a lavish diaply with a model of the cathedral on the top.  
The Mexican marigolds or Cempaspuchitl traditonally adorn the altars
Obispo Pantaleón Álvarez Abreu y el Colegio de San Pantaleón
Monjas y Cocina de Santa Rosa:
Our hosts for the day were Patricia the owner of the AirBnB property we rented and her daughter Patty. I can't say enough good things about these wonderful people. They made our unexpected and stressful trip to Mexico so much easier for us, and it was wonderful to get to know them better. We can know say we have friends in Puebla!!

View more photos from Cholula here

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