The pyramids of Xochicalco, Morelos are the perfect spot to visit for all those who are looking to recharge their energy during the spring 2020 equinox. “La Casa De Las Flores, as it is known, will receive this March thousands of people determined to recharge batteries and welcome spring to Cuernavaca, Morelos, The City with the Best in Mexico!
One of the most amazing points of this site is its astronomical observatory that is located inside a cave drilled in its upper part. Through this perforation, sunlight filters into the main chamber projecting the movement of the sun on the floor of the cave. This phenomenon was used by the priests of the city to establish the agricultural cycles. The intensity of this ray is such that, supposedly, you can use it to see the bones inside your hand without the need for x-rays.
Xochicalco is an impressive and relatively easy day trip from Cuernavaca that should not be missed. It is large enough to make the 38 km trip worthwhile, but not so well known to be invaded by tourists. One of the most important archeological sites in central Mexico.
The collection of white stone ruins, many still to be excavated, covers approximately 10 km2. They represent the diverse cultures: Tlahuica, Toltec, Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec and Aztec, for which Xochicalco was a commercial, cultural and religious center. Around 650 CE, Zapotec, Mayan and Gulf Coast spiritual leaders gathered here to correlate their respective calendars. Xochicalco remained an important center until about 1200, when its overgrowth precipitated a disappearance similar to that of Teotihuacán.
Archaeologists have deduced from their well-preserved bas-reliefs that the astronomer-priests gathered here at the beginning and at the end of each 52-year cycle of the pre-Hispanic calendar. A cave known as The Observatory served as an 'observatory' for scientists studying the stars.
The ancient city of Xochicalco (La Casas de Las Flores) is an impressive archeological area located just 30 minutes from Hotel Las Casas B + B. Highlights of the excavated city include an excellent museum, the Acropolis, the ballgame, the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Known as the Pyramid of Snakes) and the Observatory.
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Museum: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Access charge: 80 pesos
Contact: Centro INAH Morelos 01 (737) 374 3091/01 (737) 374 3092
The pre-Hispanic peoples recognized the city of Xochicalco as one of the most important and ancestral places in Central Mexico. Xochicalco means "in the place of the house of flowers", a name that referred to the complex decoration of the temple currently known as the Pyramid of the Plumed Serpents. The place and its architecture have prompted the fantasy of travelers and archaeologists for 250 years. Xochicalco was the first Mexican archeological site systematically explored; In 1777 and 1784 it was drawn and described by Francisco Alzate y Ramírez. It was a center of constant scientific exploration, carried out by luminaries of Mexican archeology. The importance of Xochicalco was recognized from very early times and is one of the first archaeological protected areas of Mexico, since 1929, to keep its buildings and architecture safe from the peasant invasions that followed as sequels of the Mexican Revolution.
Xochicalco is one of the most attractive archeological sites in Central Mexico. It occupies the top of several hills near the town of Miacatlán, 16 km southwest of Cuernavaca, Morelos. The site dates from the Epiclassic (AD 600-900), a hectic period in Central Mexico. During the Epiclassic there is the emergence of multiple independent city-states; the peoples of various regions of Central Mexico maintained that organization until the arrival of the Spaniards. These societies shared a fundamental characteristic: they were military and competitive societies whose ideological and organizational principles can be considered antecedents of the cultures that happened to them, the Toltec and the Mexica.
The city was erected according to a complex plan at the top of an elevation of approximately 130 m with a maximum length of 4 km. During that time it must have been the most populated locality in Central America. Through terraces, walls, fortifications and platforms, the builders managed to give the hill the shape of a pyramid. There was also an ingenious drainage system, numerous water storage tanks and large silos for corn and other supplies. The most luxurious residential areas and religious centers were located at the top of the site, and probably had restricted access. The most modest housing was on the lower terraces, which explains a strict social division.
In the sixteenth century, the Franciscan monk Bernardino de Sahagún refers in his texts to a building near Cuauhnáhuac (Cuernavaca) with the name of Xochicalco, but this does not mean that the place itself had that name. The Nahuatl word is composed of xóchi (tl) = flower, lime (li) = house and the locative -co, which would mean "in the house of flowers". However, in the archeological site a glyph was found that could be considered as an indicator of the name of the place. A figure of a staircase encloses the head of a Guajolote, from which it was concluded that the original name of the place could have been Totolhuacalco: "where the birds are trapped".
As in other places in Mesoamerica, two main deities were worshiped in Xochicalco: that of the earth and that of water and wind. Their original names are not known, but it is clear that they correspond to gods that were later called Feathered Serpent and Tlaloc. The most revered god was Tlaloc. Their ceremonies took place in the largest squares and in the most important pyramids. The feathered serpent was probably an elite deity, since most of its representations and sanctuaries were in the upper part of the city.
A large number of the monuments and sculptures that were left at the end of Xochicalco, were covered with stucco, to erase the previous references. A new divinity also appears, represented as a figure that emerges from the jaws of a feathered serpent, which would later become Quetzalcoatl , the wise god, transmitter of culture, and who sacrificed for humanity.
Xochicalco is known primarily for its Feathered Serpent Pyramid, the emblematic building of this archeological site.