Tepoztlan

Walled within a valley of humpback mountains and lush forests, the mythical birthplace of the feathered serpent Aztec god Quetzalcoatl slumbers peacefully within an unspoilt area of outstanding natural beauty. Shrouded by the mythical manifestations of spirits, curses and unexplainable healing incidents, the antiquated town of Tepoztlan is darkly enticing, luring even the most level-headed of tourists into a world of folklore, fantasy and history unlike anywhere else in Mexico.

Mexico's Sovereign state of Morelos has long been a get-out clause for Mexico City natives choked by the bustle of the metropolis. Errant city slickers find the proverbial “antique Mexico” a reassurance that not everywhere has succumbed to putting on a show for the sake of tourist hordes – Morelos does so naturally! Situated within the South-Central heart of Mexico, with capital city Cuernavarca just 18 miles (29 km) away and a mere 50 miles (80 km) from bustling mega-city Mexico City, it is one of the most accessible of the authentic regions and second smallest by size, of the entire country.

Tranquil Tepoztlán lies at the heart of Morelos, within the arid Tepoztlán Valley – often nicknamed “Valley of The Gods.” Although a welcoming and hospitable town, Tepoztlán refuses to conform or reform for the sake of tourism – a mindset largely responsible for its inclusion onto the Pueblos Magicos scheme in 2002. Ironically, it was briefly removed from the list of 40 “magic towns” in 2009, since officials felt a number of signs within the town, coupled with street vendors peddling wares on every corner detracted from its archaic charm. By June 2010, these niggling issues had been resolved, prompting the federal tourism ministry to once again list the town.

Central Tepoztlán remains as curious and mysterious as its verdant surroundings. A series of eight colonial chapels dominate the town's simplistic format, each only marginally different in style to the next. Built in the elaborate plateresque style around 1560, the Ex-Convento Domínico de la Natividad is the oldest and arguably, most aesthetically breathtaking of the structures with an imposing arched entrance and medieval splendor rare in these parts. The convent and church have become infamous for the many Dominican seals and symbols carved into the main facade, along with the handmade seed mural, which predates the church itself.

Famed for the ruinous ancient temple atop the craggy Tepozteco Mountain, the two thousand year old settlement of Tepoztlán is largely reliant upon its natural and archaic wonders for tourism. Tepozteco Temple is thought to predate the epoch of Mayan settlement by at least two hundred years (A.D 1100), built in the pyramid style to honor Ometochtli-Tepoxtécat, the god of “pulque” (a fermented alcoholic substance made from maguey or American aloe.) Situated some 600 meters above the valley floor, Tepozteco perches precariously upon the seat of the crag - making the climb a challenging one. The “Hill of The Wind” commands spectacular views across the Tepoztlán Valley and remains an integral monument for harvest celebration around August each year. Combined with its New Age ambiance and bohemian culture, the mysterious ruins surrounding Tepoztlán are the final affirmation that this is indeed, one of the most stunning small towns in central Mexico.

Attractions & Things To Do in Tepoztlán

Tepozteco Pyramid – built by ancestors of the Nahuatl ethnic group around A.D 1100, the pyramid of Tepozteco is one of the oldest and best preserved ancient relics within Morelos. Dedicated to the Mayan god of pulque (known as Ometochtli-Tepoxtécat) the temple houses a great many indigenous carvings and examples of the earliest tribal artwork to be found in the region. Open: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 4: 30 pm.

More on Tepoztlan from Advantage Mexico

Spanish version of this page: Tepoztlán

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