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The Convent of Huejotzingo

The Monastery of Huejotzingo in Puebla is one more of the Mexican treasures declared World Heritage.

LIFE BEHIND THE WALLS OF HUEJOTZINGO IN PUEBLA

Tourists frequently visit places that are declared World Heritage because they’re representative of humanity and, at the same time, uniqueness. Today DINKtravelers wants to tell you about Huejotzingo, in Puebla, a town where you’ll find one of the first convents that were built in Mexico after the Spanish conquest.

After the conquest, several religious orders arrived in the territory. The first of them were the Franciscans. Soon after their arrival, they built four convents, and one of them was the Monastery of San Miguel Arcangel in Huejotzingo.

THE MONASTERY OF HUEJOTZINGO

Your tour to Huejotzingo must begin at the Monastery of San Miguel Arcangel because early in the morning light filters through the building’s arches and patios creating beautiful colors that you won’t find at any other time in the day. This convent was founded in the early 16th century, although the construction you will see possesses elements that were changed or added in later years. This convent located in the foothills of the Popocatepetl volcano is listed as World Cultural Heritage, and it certainly deserves that recognition, since it’s a monumental, artistic and historic well-preserved construction.

You should know that the building houses The Missions Museum, where you’ll find objects that were used to carry out the missions in the region. The most extraordinary thing is that it’s located in the same building where the friars carried out this task.

In this convent you’ll be able to see most of the areas as they were originally, so you’ll learn about life in colonial times. Also, you’ll get the chance to see magnificent mural paintings that portray both religious and historic characters.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the temple, where you’ll find one of the biggest altarpieces in México. Take into account that New Spanish altarpieces, which were huge and elaborated in gilded wood, are examples of the great artwork painters, carpenters and engravers created in those days.

Another attractive element in this building are the posa chapels and the quarry stone cross in the atrium. The former are small roofed chapels located on each corner of the temple’s front yard (the atrium). They are decorated with high relief elements that are rich in detail. On the other hand, the quarry stone cross is also decorated with high relief and it shows that religious New Spanish art was influenced by indigenous imagery because it was precisely the indigenous artisans who usually built them.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN HUEJOTZINGO

Even though the convent is the main attraction in Huejotzingo, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only one. Behind the convent you can find the arcade –an aqueduct that was also built by the Franciscan friars and that carried water to the convent as well as to the rest of the town. This hydraulic work of engineering will be a perfect subject for your pictures.

Continue along the arcade and you’ll find another interesting construction in Huejotzingo, far more modern than the convent: the Lady of Carmen Church. It was built in gothic style, something that’s definitely not common in Mexican towns, and the best time to visit it is at night, when it’s illuminated and its colorful, white and gold decorations truly stand out.

BEST SEASON TO VISIT HUEJOTZINGO

You can visit Huejotzingo any time of the year, but if you go in February, you’ll probably arrive when the famous Carnival of Huejotzingo begins. During this celebration, you’ll see thousands of huehues, masked men who are richly dressed and perform in street plays.

On the other hand, if you travel in August, your visit will coincide with the Chile en Nogada celebration in Calpan, a town that is located only a few miles away from Huejotzingo, and where they prepare some of the most delicious versions of this famous Mexican dish.

Another option, if you choose to travel in July or all through September, is to visit the factories that produce cider. This is the cider apple trees harvest season, which culminates with a huge Cider Festival at the end of the year. Buy several bottles of cider from Huejotzingo if you want an organic souvenir –no chemical ingredients are used in its elaboration process.

As you can see, there are plenty reasons why you should visit Huejotzingo in your next trip to Puebla.