Tlaxcala, Mexico: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Tlaxcala de Xicohténcatl, simplified as the city of Tlaxcala is the regional capital of Mexico’s smallest state, bearing the same name. Tlaxcala is just a 2 hour drive away from Mexico City and its main attractions feature imposing churches, one of the country’s most stunning plazas surrounded by well maintained colonial buildings. The ruins of Cacaxtla are one of the most preeminent attractions in the surrounding area. The city shops sell local crafts and folk art objects, including carved wooden canes, striped rugs and colorful carnival masks. The locals are proud of both their Spanish and native backgrounds, thus the town’s motto is “The heritage of two cultures”.

Tlaxcala’s strong points are definitely in its cultural treasures, museums and historic buildings. Nightlife activities are quite few, but the city does offer a couple of decent bars and a handful of good restaurants. Tlaxcala offers some good mid-range and lower priced accommodation options. Transportation to and trough the city is pretty straight forward, die to its close proximity to the capital.

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In the pre-Hispanic era the region around Tlaxcala was ruled by a coalition of four dominions, the Ocotelolco, Quiahuiztlan, Tepeticpac and Tizatlan, which banded together in the 14th century against the Aztec empire. The growing Aztec empire conquered the dominion’s neighbors but left Tlaxcala independent to be able to perform an annual ritual combat known as the flower wars, which aimed to capture soldiers for sacrifice. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the Tlaxcalans hatred for the Aztecs made them into one of Hernán Cortés’s most trustworthy allies. In 1522, after the Spanish conquest had ended, the Europeans solidified their hold over the Tlaxcalans by founding the regional capital that we know today, as a base for evangelization. Epidemics and emigration heavily reduced the indigenous population during the following century, so much so that a document from 1625 states that only 700 natives remained in Tlaxcala, from 300,000, at the beginning of the 16th century.