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Puebla is a city in Mexico. It is in the Puebla Valley, surrounded by volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, slightly over 110 kilometers (68 miles) south-east of Mexico City. The city proper in 2005 had a population of 1.5 million people, while the metropolitan area had a population of 2.1 million.
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Points of Interest in Puebla
- Los Fuertes (Fuerte de Loreto and Fuerte de Guadalupe) - The forts, which sit atop the Cerro de Guadalupe is where the Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862. This successful defense of the city by General Ignacio Zaragoza from invading French forces is commemorated every year in Puebla throughout the month of May and specifically on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo in Spanish).
- Zocalo (City Center)- Puebla's historic downtown contains beautiful colonial architecture and was granted UNESCO world heritage status in 1987.
- Cathedral - Built between 1575 and 1640, it has two of the tallest church towers in Mexico.
- Palafoxian Library - A library built in the 18th century which contains a unique collection.
- Los Sapos (Art District)- Many painters have ateliers offering their paintings and a block away, every Saturday and Sunday, there is a flea market where you can find handicrafts and some antiques.
- Chipilo- Italian town that is only 20 minutes outside the city for an authentic northern Italian experience.
- Flowers in Atlixco
- Huey Atlixcáyotl - A festival in the municipality of Atlixco that occurs the last Sunday of September.
- Cuexcomate, the world's smallest volcano (now extinct), is in Puebla, in the suburb of La Libertad. Take a bus from Av 11 oriente in the city centre going to La Libertad, and get off in the main square of the suburb (which is the terminus of the bus anyway). The volcano is right there in the square.
- Cholula - A neighboring town 10 kilometers away filled with as many as 365 churches (actually just 45..) and an archaeological site.
- Africam Safari - A Zoo park where wild African animals live freely.
The city of Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico with 2.1 million inhabitants and the Capital of the State of Puebla. It was founded on April 16, 1531 as "La Puebla de los Ángeles". It was the first city in central Mexico founded by the Spanish conquistadors that was not built upon the ruins of a conquered Amerindian settlement. Its strategic location, halfway between the port of Veracruz and Mexico City, made it the second most important city during the colonial period. During the seventeenth century, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz lived in the city until her confrontation with the Bishop of Puebla.
The city’s main claim to fame, however, is Cinco de Mayo, a festival commemorating the May 5, 1862 defeat of a French expeditionary army by Mexican general Ignacio Zaragoza. It was after this battle that the name of the city was changed to "Heróica Puebla de Zaragoza". The forts where the battle took place are a major tourist attraction of the city and the site of an annual month-long carnival marking the anniversary of the battle. The city is also famous for its cuisine, being said it is this city where "Mole" -a famous Mexican spicy thick sauce- was invented.
- Visit other towns, if you can, such as Cuetzalan in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, or Atlixco.
- Go to the National Park on Popocatepetl or National Park La Malintzi and spend the day hiking or camping there.
- If you like night life, try the antros (clubs) in Cholula. Many don't charge cover. Alcohol ranges from $450-800 pesos (~$35 to $65USD) a bottle if you want to get a table in the clubs. There is also abundant live music throughout Puebla. Smaller and less popular antros are also located in the Los Sapos district, only a few blocks from the Zocalo.
- Visit the churches of Tonantzintla and Acatepec. They were built and decorated during the late 1600s and early 1700s in the Baroque style. Both are extremely lavishly decorated outside and inside.
- Take a tour around the city on a tour bus. This may seem very tourist-ish but this is a really cheap (80 pesos) easy way to get a quick view of some of the coolest attractions in the city. It also is a way to get a good bearing before you decide to set off and dive into some of the attractions the city has to offer. The tour is in Spanish, but you can ask for headphones when you get on the bus and then you'll be able to listen to a translated in several languages. The bus has several stops along the route where you can get down and get up.
- If you are in the mood for authentic Italian cuisine, head over to the nearby town of Chipilo, just 15 minutes from downtown Puebla and near Cholula and Atlixco. This town was settled by Veneto immigrants from northern Italy in the late 1800's. Take a stroll around the Piazza, the Chiesa (Church), and try the many restaurants it has to offer such as Piazza delle Sole, Caffe Ristorante I Dagot, Ristorante Venezia; or have a cafe in the original "The Italian Coffee Co." and people watch. Gelato at Topolino is also a good way to have dessert. And do not forget to buy pastas, cheeses, cold cuts and wines at the Nave Italia store. Stop to listen to the people speak their 19th century Venetian dialect which still survives in Chipilo. Take a stroll around the town which still holds many aspects of typical rural Venetian towns. Truly a unique gem in the middle of Puebla.
Eat the street food. Travel books will almost always tell you not to, but generally speaking, it is entirely safe and can be one of the best "cultural" experiences of your trip.
Street foods to try:
- Quesadillas with mushrooms, sausage (chorizo), pumpkin flower (flor de calabaza), or huitlacoche (corn truffle, an Aztec specialty)
- Memelas (tortillas made with mixed masa and beans red or green salsa on top, then topped with onions and cheese)
- Elote (corn on the cob with parmesan cheese, mayonnaise if desired, and chili powder).
- Pelonas (fried sandwiches filled with meat, lettuce, cream, and salsa)
- Gorditas (similar to memelas, but topped with chorizo, chicharron--fried pig skin)--or chicken, avocado slices, salsa, onions, and cheese).
- Potato chips, usually fried the same day (extra crispy) and topped with lime juice and hot sauce.
- Mixiotes Piece of Chicken or "Carnero" (Goat) in a special sauce made out of juajillo chile and spices with an avocado leaf cooked in vapor all wrapped in foil paper or special mixiote paper.
- Chalupas a tortilla with green or red sauce then topped with onion, chicken or beef shreds, and cheese. (Traditional chalupas have no cheese.)
- Cemitas a special bread that looks like a torta prepared with milanesa, avocado, queso oaxaca in shreds, papalo, aceite de comer and chipotles.
All street food generally costs between $8 and $15 pesos ($0.80- $1.50 USD).
- A must is something with "Mole poblano".
- Tacos Arabes - Very good. Made with Lamb or pork. Originated from the high arabic population in the city.
- Chiles en Nogada
Some good restaurants include:
- El Mural de los Poblanos, 16 de Septiembre 506 (From the front of the cathedral, left at 16 de sept.; will be on your right after 5 Poniente), ☎ 222-2426696. 13:00 - 23:00. Traditional Cuisine; fine dining. The best mole poblano; other seasonal dishes, Spanish cuisine. Steps from the Cathedral and Zócalo. 20 USD.
- Vittorio's, 2 Sur 106 (On the Zócalo, along 2 Sur), ☎ 222 232 7900. Excellent Italian and Mexican cuisine, at good prices. Apparently known for holding the Guinness World Record for the largest pizza. Try their garlic bread and their pastas if you're not in the pizza mood (they make a mean Pennette Arrabiata). They also serve traditional poblano cuisine. Extensive wine and beverage list. Has an area for outside seating, though this may be full at peak hours; also has two floors of indoor seating. 50-150 pesos, wine/beverages 40+ pesos.
- Restaurante La Fonda, 2 Oriente 801 (On 2 Oriente, the south street of El Parián market; big awning with name). Located on the south street by El Parián market. Excellent local cuisine for less than you'd spend in the Zócalo area; their chiles en nogada are especially delicious. 100 pesos for a chile en nogada with a soup and a dish of rice w/ mole poblano (half of what you'd spend for the same in the Zócalo). They also sell their excellent mole poblano by the kilo or half-kilo. 50-120 pesos.
Just in the "Zócalo" (main square) there's a place called Vittorio's; it's famous for the excellent and delicious Mexican and Italian food. Very nice and cozy; they have indoor and a terrace and more important very clean. They made it into the Guinness Book of Records for making the biggest pizza ever; and in the night upstairs they have the bar La Vita è Bella for an amazing collection of folding knives and other cool stuff. Near the Zócalo, you can eat at El Mural, probably the best mole poblano in town; also famous for other seasonal dishes and its Spanish cuisine. For drinks with a view to the square go to Hotel Royalty, popular with locals and tourist. Hotel La Purificadora, a few blocks away, offers a more sophisticated dining and lodging experience. For those who want to venture to other neighborhoods, go to Restaurante La Noria with a beautiful Mexican patio, enjoy contemporary Mexican cooking in what used to be a nice Hacienda. For more avant-garde food, go to Intro on Calzada Zavaleta, where Chef Ángel Vázquez will pamper you with a weekly changing menu.
Remember that Puebla has the most culinary schools in Mexico and these new professionals enjoy showing off their skills to locals and visitors alike.
- Super Paleteria Barragan, Av. 16 de Septiembre (between 15 and 17 Ote). Delicious ice creams, sorbets and aguas frescas. Very popular with locals (in fact often huge crowd outside). from $14.
- La Mia Pizzeria, Corner of 4 norte and 2 Oriente, ☎ 01 222 242 5584. Mon-Sat 2pm-10om, Sun 2pm-9pm. Relatively authentic pizzeria with some other Italian food, good portions, seems not to serve alcohol though.
- La Zanahoria, 5 oriente 205. Vegetarian restaurant with well-priced menu. Veggie burgers are good. Seems not to serve alcohol. Also shop selling vegetarian products.
- Agua Miel
- Agua de Limon
- Agua de Tamarindo
- Agua de Jamaica
- Chocolate Mexicano
- Atole (Cornmeal Drink)
- Cafe de olla (coffee with cinnamon)
- Pasitas (in los sapos)
- Tortas de Chalupa (mini telerra roll with mashed potatoes, beans and 2 fried tortillas covered with green or red salsa)
- Vittorio's. See "Eat" above.
- El Mural de los Poblanos. See "Eat" above.
- Hotel Royalty, Portal Hidalgo #8 (On the Zócalo). Great for drinks with views of the Zócalo.
- Cafe Teorema, 2 Pte # 703-B, ☎ 2 98 00 28 or 2 32 78 99. Cafe, bar, bookshop and arts venue, with frequent evening concerts.
- Paradeplatz, Calle 16 septiembre 1713-A. Mon-Fri 9am-9.30pm, Sat 9.30am-8.30pm. Fashionably designed Swiss-style cafe serving good quality coffee and hot chocolate, along with delicious Swiss-style cakes. A little pricier than other coffee shops in Puebla but unique ambience and style (as well as taste!).
- Yelao, 3 oriente 207B, ☎ 232 12 45. Tue-Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-8pm, closed Mon. Cafe which opens late (closed Monday), selling a variety of hot and cold drinks, some alcoholic beverages, home-made ice cream and various cakes and salads. Nice upstairs seating area including small balconies.
- Talavera (Fine china-like wares.)
- Local crafts and artifacts from El Parian.
- Jewelry, antiques and crafts from Los Sapos.
- Freshly ground coffee or beans from Cafe Britania, Av de la Reforma 528a - costs around $150/180 per kilo, also sold in 250g bags - the coffee comes from the nearby Veracruz region
- Local Puebla folkart – the store Cihuatl sells crafts made by indigenous women: 7 Poniente 110, Colonia Centro
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Puebla on Wikivoyage.