capital of the Mexican state of Tlaxcala

Tlaxcala (Tlaxcala de Xicohténcatl) is the capital of the state of Tlaxcala. The city still has many of its old colonial structures including the former Franciscan monastery, as well as newer civic structures such as the Xicohtencatl Theatre. It was home to 90,000 people in 2010.

Understand edit

Ayuntamiento (city hall)

The city of Tlaxcala arrived rather late in the scene of the history of Mexico. Around the 14th century, four polities known as the Tepeticpac, Ocotelolco, Tizatlan and Quiahuiztlan inhabited this area and jointly fought against the aggressive Aztecs that sought to capture prisoners for live sacrifice. The Spanish established a settlement around 1522 to enlist these groups in Spain's own besiegement of the Aztecs, and to evangelize and subjugate these tribes as well. They lost their lands and original ways of life. Spain set up a diocese in the primeval form of Tlaxcala (a Nahuatl word meaning place of corn bread, by the way), but it was eventually relocated to Puebla as the population dwindled over time.

It was on the heels of the signing of the Mexican Independence that Tlaxcala was founded in 1813, a connection that is marked by the naming of its main square Plaza de la Constitución (after the Cádiz Constitution). And a lot of effort has been put into creating a stately, colonial town center, which endures although development never really took off.

The name Tlaxcala most likely comes from a Nahuatl phrase which means “place of corn bread.” It is pronounced "tlass-kala". (If the "tl" sound is difficult for you, you can say "klass-kala" and nobody will notice the difference.)

Get in edit

You are out of luck insofar as air service here, but ATAH, Exal, and ADO provide some connections to other cities via bus. The central bus station is

  • 1 Terminal Central De Autobuses De Pasajeros Tlaxcala.

It's a 50-minute bus ride from Puebla's bus station. The bus company Verdes is the main carrier. As of March 2022, the trip costs M$37, although you'll likely have to buy a rechargeable fare card for an additional M$10.

It's a 1 hour and 50-minute ride from Mexico City's TAPO bus terminal. Suprabus and Autobuses Tlaxcala Apizaco Huamantla both run hourly buses to Tlaxcala. The trip costs M$200 (January 2023).

If renting or driving your own car, Tlaxcala is an hour north of Puebla and about two hours east of Mexico City.

Get around edit

Map of Tlaxcala

Walk or drive or use a taxi.

See edit

The city center is compact and filled with colonial-era building painted in colors such as burnt umber, salmon pink and mustard yellow. Most of these buildings are centered on the main square called the Plaza de la Constitución. This square measures 75 m (246 ft) on each side and was established when the Spanish laid out the city in 1524. The current name was given in 1813 to honor the Cádiz Constitution and the Mexican constitutions of 1857 and 1917. In the center of this square is the Santa Cruz Fountain which was donated to the city by Philip IV in 1646. There is also a kiosk which was constructed in the 19th century.

The Portal Hidalgo is on the east side of the main square, built as commercial space in 1550. The city hall was moved from its centuries-old home in the “Casas Reales” to this complex. The interior is dominated by the city council chamber (Salón de Cabildos) along with various municipal offices. On the lower level inside its section of the arches, there is a cultural space called “La Tlaxcalteca” which sells regional handcrafts and other goods as well as books about Tlaxcala's history.

Capilla del Pocito, Ocotlán
  • 1 Basilica of Our Lady of Ocotlan, +52 246 462 1073. Pilgrimage place where the Virgin is said to have appeared to so and so in the 15th century, and that houses the venerated statue of Ocotlan along with rich embellishments in its bas-reliefs behind the altar.  
  • 2 Plaza de la Constitución. Tlaxcala's downtown square, framed by the Palacio de Gobierno and Palacio Municipal (former grain silo) on the north and Palacio de Justicia in straw yellow tones and Museo de Arte de Tlaxcala on the west.
Murals in the Palacio de Gobierno de Tlaxcala
  • 3 Gobierno del Estado de Tlaxcala (Palacio de Gobierno), De La Constitución 3, +52 246 465 2960. M-F 08ː00-18ː30. Historical governmental palace building housing murals and codices regarding the four dominions of Tepeticpac, Ocotelolco, Tizatlan and Quiahuiztlan.
  • 4 Catedral de Tlaxcala, +52 246 462 1511. Original construction was between 1537 and 1542, with the church and adjoining former Franciscan monastery. Original roof beams still intact. The church has some rare examples in the Western Hemisphere of Moorish art.
  • 5 Museo Regional de Tlaxcala - INAH, +52 246 462 0262. Tu-Su 10ː00-18ː00, closed M. Notable paintings and sculpture and ethnography exhibits in the five halls covering the pre-Hispanic period up to the 19th century and two halls set aside for temporary exhibits. Went from originally being a Franciscan monastery to a military barracks to its present use. Between here and the Plaza Xicohtencatl is the pedestrian-friendly corridor called Calzada San Francisco.
  • 6 Museo Miguel M.Lira, Av Independencia 7, Centro, +52 246 117 5209. daily 10ː00-17ː00. Museum about a Tlaxcalan writer if you are so inclined to that sort of thing. And next door is a bullring that has played quite a part in Tlaxcala's history due to the popularity of the pastime.
  • 7 Plaza Xicohténcatl. Town plaza where numerous art vendors and craft stalls are located, in addition to souvenir stores along the perimeter.
  • 8 Museo de la Memoria de Tlaxcala, Av Independencia 3, +52 246 466 0792. Another historical museum of Tlaxcala. Lots of little religious artifacts here and things.
  • 9 Museo de Arte de Tlaxcala, Plaza de la Constitución 21, +52 246 466 0352. daily 10ː00-18ː00. Eclectic and religious art and a little bit of this and that.
  • 10 Teatro Xicoténcatl, Av Benito Juárez 21. Has some interesting Neoclassical architecture after being built during the Porfirio Diaz period. A city landmark.
San José Parish
  • 11 Parroquia de San José, Calle 1 de Mayo 4, +52 246 462 1106. daily 06ː00-21ː00. 18th century baroque church that was the original diocese cathedral before it was transferred to Puebla. Has blue Talavera tiles and orange walls for a dazzling imagery of color. One block west of here across Plaza Juarez is the 19th century Palacio Legislativo that has an eye-pleasing facade of grey sandstone.

Do edit

  • 1 Zoológico del Altiplano, Km 32.5 Ex Rancho La Aguanaja, Carr. Puebla-Apizaco, San Pablo Apetatitlán, +52 246 464 1012. 09ː30-16ː00 Tu-F, 10ː00-17ː00 Sa-Su, closed M. White adult and baby lions, jaguars, bears, giraffes, monkeys, snakes, and other members of the animal kingdom await you here. M$10 Adult; M$5 Child.

Events edit

The city celebrates Carnival starting the Friday before Ash Wednesday, with the burning of an effigy to represent “bad humor” accompanied by funeral music. The following day, the queen of the carnival is selected. The main parade with floats occurs on Tuesday. During the long weekend there are various other events such as dance contests and recitals of traditional dace such as that of the Huehues from the community of Acuitlapilco. On Ash Wednesday, ceremonies end with a hanging of an effigy called “La Octava del Carnaval” Often the image is satirical, and of a person considered worthy of criticism.

  • The Feria de Todos Santos is an important event, dedicated to the agriculture, handcrafts and industry of the state. It also has cultural events such as concerts, art exhibits and dance as well as regional food and an inaugural parade.

Buy edit

Eat edit

  • 1 La Fonda del Convento, San Francisco 1, +52 246 462 0765. 08:00–20:00 daily. Part of the former convent complex, offers a wide variety of local dishes and flavors.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

  • 1 Posada de la Virgen, Ezequiel M. Gracia 25, +52 246 157 9962. Has garden and terrace and continental breakfast to get you going in the morning. M$804.
  • 2 Posada La Casona de Cortés, Prol. Lardizábal 6, Centro, +52 2464625477. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Cozy colonial hotel with large rooms. Off-street parking available. M$1000.

Connect edit

Go next edit

This city travel guide to Tlaxcala is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.