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 TLAXCALA State Guide and Directory

Tlaxcala, Central Mexico
Tlaxcala, Central Mexico
Tlaxcala is Mexico's smallest state with just 1,600 square miles. The name Tlaxcala comes from the nahuatl word meaning "place of corn bread or tortillas of corn". Centrally located within the country, Tlaxcala is bordered by the states of Puebla, Mexico and Hidalgo .

Tlaxcala enjoys a temperate climate with moderate amounts of rain during the summer months. The one exception is the summit of the extinct volcano "La Malinche" (also called Malantzin), where rain and cold are more frequent and constant. Agriculture and cattle-rearing are important industries of the state.

Xicotencatl the Younger
Xicotencatl the Younger
Tlaxcala played a pivotal role in the history of Mexico by unwittingly assisting the Spaniards in their conquest of Mexico. During the mid-15th century, Tlaxcala and the Aztec Empire were bitter enemies. Initially, when Hernan Cortes and his men came into Tlaxalan territory, the inhabitants fought the Spaniards fiercely and succeeded in exacting severe losses upon them. It is widely surmised the Tlaxcalans would have proved victorious had this been their desire. However, mid-course with battles raging, the rulers of Tlaxcala devised a plan. If Cortes joined their ranks with his manpower, they reasoned, the two combined forces would surely overcome the despised Aztecs. An alliance was born. Only one warrior expressed reservation, Xicotencatl, the younger, who tried to convince his people that the Spaniards were not to be trusted. His warnings went unheeded and today he is recognized as one of Mexico's original heroes. Xicotencatl's analysis of the course of events proved correct.

The capital of the state, also named Tlaxcala, is a small colonial-era town located 75 miles east of Mexico City and just 20 miles north of Puebla state. The zocalo (main square) offers a nice place to relax with plenty of benches and shade trees. Just north of the zocalo is the Palacio de Gobierno (Governor's Palace) which houses the murals of Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin. These handsome paintings document the town's history.

Tlaxcala, Bas�lica de Ocotl�n
Bas�lica de Ocotl�n
On a hill overlooking the city stands a beautiful and famous church, the Basilica de Ocotlan. This site is frequented by pilgrims who come to pay homage to the Virgin. According to legend, in 1541 a local peasant encountered the Virgin in a nearby grove. She led him to a stream whose holy water could cure the sick with a single drop. Townspeople who had been ill were cured immediately upon drinking this water. Intrigued, the priests went to the woods to investigate. There they found an oak tree glowing with fire. Upon their arrival the tree broke open, revealing a statue of the Virgin. It is this statue that is housed in the church today where pilgrims come to pray.

Cacaxtla Mural, Tlaxcala, Mexico
Cacaxtla Mural
Cacaxtla, an archaeological site, is located just 12 miles west of the capital. Dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, several buildings have been excavated with work ongoing. Outstanding murals have been found here. Painted in bright colors, these paintings are remarkably well preserved and interestingly, depict a style that appears Mayan in origin. Within a half-mile of Cacaxtla is Xochitecatl, an ancient ceremonial center that features an unusual spiral pyramid. The view of the surrounding countryside is magnificent from this location.

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