The pyramids of Xochicalco, Morelos are the perfect spot to visit for all those who are looking to recharge their energy during the spring equinox 2020. “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 not to be missed. It is large enough to make the 38km trip worthwhile, but not so well known as to be overrun with tourists. One of the most important archaeological 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 around 1200, when its overgrowth precipitated a disappearance similar to that of Teotihuacán.
Archaeologists have deduced from their well-preserved bas-reliefs that priest-astronomers gathered here at the beginning and 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 archaeological zone located just 30 minutes from Hotel Las Casas B + B. Highlights of the excavated city include an excellent museum, the Acropolis, the ball game, the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (known as the Pyramid of the Serpents) and the Observatory.
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Museum: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Access charge: 80 pesos
Contact: INAH Morelos Center 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 flower house", a name that referred to the complex decoration of the temple currently known as the Feathered Serpent Pyramid. The place and its architecture have incited the fantasy of travelers and archaeologists for 250 years. Xochicalco was the first Mexican archaeological site systematically explored; in 1777 and 1784 it was drawn and described by Francisco Alzate y Ramírez. It was a center of constant scientific explorations, carried out by luminaries of Mexican archeology. The importance of Xochicalco was recognized from very early times and it is one of the first protected archaeological zones in Mexico, since 1929, to keep its buildings and architecture safe from the peasant invasions that followed as consequences of the Mexican Revolution.
Xochicalco is one of the most attractive archaeological 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 the emergence of multiple independent city-states occurs; the peoples of various regions of Central Mexico maintained that organization until the arrival of the Spanish. 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 succeeded them, the Toltec and the Mexica.
The city was erected according to a complex plan on top of an elevation of approximately 130 m with a maximum extension of 4 km. During that time it must have been the most populated town 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 cisterns for water storage, and large silos for corn and other provisions. The most luxurious residential areas and religious centers were located at the top of the site, and probably had restricted access. The most modest house was on the lower terraces, which explains a strict social division.
In the 16th 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 made up of xóchi (tl) = flower, cal (li) = house and the locative -co, which would mean "in the flower house". However, a glyph was found at the archaeological site 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 the water and the wind. Their original names are not known, but it is clear that they correspond to gods that were later named Feathered Serpent and Tlaloc. The most revered god was Tláloc. Their ceremonies took place in the largest squares and in the most important pyramids. The feathered serpent was probably an elite deity, as most of its representations and shrines 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 emerging from the jaws of a feathered serpent, who would later become Quetzalcoatl , the wise god, transmitter of culture, and who sacrificed himself for humanity.
Xochicalco is mainly known for its Feathered Serpent Pyramid, the emblematic building of this archaeological site.