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What Travelers Can Expect From Mexico’s Newest World Heritage Site Near Mexico City

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Now that travel is back to “normal,” people can truly get to experience new places and visit more off-the-beaten-path destinations and unique attractions, especially those that were relevant during the pandemic, but travelers were still hesitant to visit.

Last year, in July, UNESCO included the Franciscan Ensemble of the Monastery and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Tlaxcala as a World Heritage Site and as part of the Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl inscribed in 1994. If you love Mexico and Mexican culture, you must know about this site in Tlaxcala! 

Picture of the cathedral in Tlaxcala added as a World Heritage Site

Tlaxcala City has fascinating buildings, museums, theaters, and special historic catholic temples. UNESCO’s main considerations to include this architectural complex as part of the route known as the First monasteries of the 16th century on the Slopes of Popocatépetl were:

  • The expression of the native culture. Present in the open spaces, the decorations, and the wall paintings.
  • Its integrity. The monasteries preserve the original elements of the architectural complex —built in the 16th century— and have been maintained in a good state.
  • It’s high authenticity even though it might be at risk due to unpredictable natural phenomena like earthquakes or the eruption of the Popocatepetl volcano, which is very close, only 32 miles away.
Church in a mountain next to the active Popocatepetl volcano

Now Mexico has 36 unique World Heritage Sites that tell stories and allow visitors to understand the fascinating and intricate Mexican culture. This new historical place is located in Tlaxcala City, in the small state of Tlaxcala. And there are so many places to visit in the state of Tlaxcala!

Mexico’s Newest World Heritage Site In Tlaxcala

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Mexican dancers in the bullfight ring in Tlaxcala

Even as travelers, there’s so much to learn about Mexican Culture, and visiting historical monuments can be a great way to understand local traditions and social customs and truly enjoy authentic experiences. 

Tlaxcala has been declared a “zone of historical monuments” by the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH, by its Spanish Acronym) since 1986. Tlaxcala City it’s only 163 kilometers away from Mexico City —around 100 miles— and from there, travelers can take the fascinating “Route of faith” by exploring all the religious buildings nearby. 

Alley in a street of Val'Quirico, a town near to Tlaxcala

The monasteries were built as part of the evangelization and colonization process by the Spaniards, but the buildings in Tlaxcala City also tell the story of the local people and the history of Tlaxcala, and visitors can walk around to discover the fascinating monuments.

How To Get To Tlaxcala And What To See And Do

The easiest way for international travelers to get to Tlaxcala is to take a flight to Mexico City and then a bus or car to Tlaxcala —it’s a 2-hour drive— to explore the charming town. Buses from Mexico City to Tlaxcala cost around 150 pesos —around $8— and different transportation companies have frequent itineraries. 

Flagpole With Mexican Flag Flying Before Metropolitan Cathedral In Mexico City, Mexico

Visitors can take a full-day trip to Tlaxcala City and visit the main monuments, but it's also a great idea to stay a little longer to truly enjoy and experience this destination. There are beautiful and picturesque accommodations and delicious restaurants for visitors.

These are the must-do's at this destination:

View of the ancient church walls in Tlaxcala Mexico
  • Explore the historical buildings: Everything is connected downtown, so travelers can visit the now World Heritage Site, the Franciscan convent of Our Lady of the Assumption, and also explore other nearby historical buildings.
Mayan mural on the wall of a church in mexico
  • Visit the Murals of the Government Palace: The fascinating and large paintings tell the history of the local people and the place. 
  • Visit the  Plaza de Toros Jorge “El Ranchero” Aguilar: This impressive and ancient bullring has a free entrance, ideal for great pictures and more history learning. 
  • Eat delicious local food: Taste traditional local food like the Mole de Tizatlán or the Tlaxcala casserole stews. 
  • Visit local Museums: There are very interesting art and historical museums that cost just around 1 or 2 dollars. 
  • Go to the Archaeological Site of Cacaxtla: This place hosts fascinating relics and Mayan paintings from ancient times. 
View of the archeological site of Cacaxtla in Tlaxcala

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