In 1531 the Spanish came to this valley overlooked by majestic volcanoes Popocatepl and Iztaccihuatl and founded a city called Puebla de los Angeles (Village of Angels).
The Spanish introduced new materials and techniques to the production of pottery, for which the city is famous up to nowadays. The city grew very quickly into an important Catholic centre. In 1575 Francisco Beccara and Juan de Cigorongo designed the cathedral, whose image appears today on the 500-peso note. Its construction was very slow, and when in 1626, the king stopped the flow of money into this project, only the chapel and a few pillars were built. The funds were renewed again in 1634, and the Metropolitan Cathedral was finally consecrated on the April 18, 1649 in a ceremony so huge that none like it was ever seen in all New Spain again. The cathedral definitely deserves admiration. It is spectacular from the outside (the towers are 70m high, which makes them the highest in Latin America), and once inside, you can admire the creations of the finest artists of the age. The cathedral is open to public everyday from 10:00am to noon and from 4:15 to 6pm.
To continue the tour around the city’s most beautiful sites, follow street 5 de Mayo to where it intersects with 4th Poniente, where you will find the Temple of San Domingo. The Chapel of Rosario has been called the eigth wonder of the world and its golden polychromatic interior, dating back to 17th century, is still the best jewellery of the city. It is open from Monday to Sunday, 8:00am to noon and 4:30 to 6pm.
Don’t forget that the city is also famous for its tiles. One of the best examples of this still can be seen if you follow 4th Oriente until the Boulevard of Heroes del 5 de Mayo. Turn left and keep walking until you see on your right the Temple of San Francisco, with its tower and beautiful brick-and-tile facade. Even if the temple was damaged during the earthquake in 1999, it’s still a building deserving admiration. Apart from that it’s a place that attracts lots of worshippers, San Sebastian de Aparico (who planned the building of many Mexican roads before becoming a monk) is buried in here.
There is much more to visit in the city, but if you want a bit of nature instead, then hop on a bus to Cerro de Guadalupe that will leave you at the top of the hilly park, where a crumbling an old fortress can be visited as well as acres of lush parkland. The day passes quickly in Puebla while walking from one site to another as distances among them are not short. Every street has many colonial buildings and some little churches, so while exploring Puebla, make sure you have enough time to experience it calmly.