Day 18: Cholula

Cholula Travel Blog

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View over Cholula
 

We took a local minibus to visit the village of Cholula, which is the site of the largest pyramid in the world. Yes, you read that right, the largest pyramid of the world can be found in Mexico, not in Egypt. Egypt might have the tallest, but if you measure by volume, the Pirámide Tepanapa is definitely the largest in the world.


However, you can forgive history books and encyclopaedias for getting it wrong, as it wasn't until after WWII that it was discovered that the church-topped grassy hill was in fact a man-made structure measuring 450x450 metres and 66 metres high.

Yes, church topped, because the Spanish conquistas figured it was just a nice hill, with a pagan temple on top, so according to Spanish conquista tradition they tore the temple down and built a catholic church in its place.

Pyramid of Cholula, the largest man-made structure in the world by volume
And so it came that what is listed in the Guinnes Book of Records as the largest man-made monument in the world, actually has a bright yellow church on top - weirder things have happened I guess.


So once it was discovered that there was an ancient temple underneath archaeologists dug 8 kilometres of tunnels into the pyramid to research the place from the inside out. It was discovered that the pyramid actually evolved over the years, with a new pyramid being built on top of the old one each time.

A little section of these tunnels is open for public, and it is quite interesting to go in and see how the pyramid consists of several layers.

In the little museum was a maquette of what the pyramid must have looked like without the grass and trees.


At the back end of the pyramid part has been restored, to give an indication of the sheer size.

church atop the Great Pyramid of Cholula
Too bad that in a country like Mexico it is impossible to tear down a church, even if it stands on top of a thousands year old monument. Then again, the church has been there for 400 years as well, so I guess it is a monument in itself.


Back in Puebla we wanted to take the bus to our next destination, but shock horror, it was full! I must say that I had never had that happen before in Latin America, that all buses were full. But because of the Christmas holidays it was a lot busier normal.
In the end we managed to find a slower bus that would leave a few hours later, but we made sure that from now on we would always try to reserve our seats 1 or 2 days in advance to prevent this.


Two hours later we were on our way. An old uncomfortable rusty noisy bus, but at least it was transportation. And it was 'only' 5 hours to Oaxaca, so that was not too bad.

James1985 says:
the egyptian ones look better though!
Posted on: Apr 16, 2011
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View over Cholula
View over Cholula
Pyramid of Cholula, the largest ma…
Pyramid of Cholula, the largest m…
church atop the Great Pyramid of C…
church atop the Great Pyramid of …
restored part of the Great Pyramid…
restored part of the Great Pyrami…
detail of the restored part of the…
detail of the restored part of th…
maquette of Great Pyramid of Cholu…
maquette of Great Pyramid of Chol…
Looking out over Cholula with the …
Looking out over Cholula with the…
Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, i…
Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, …
inside the Great Pyramid of Cholula
inside the Great Pyramid of Cholula
Cholula
photo by: Biedjee