Thursday, June 5, 2008

Puebla, last stop before the US

Puebla, city capital of Puebla state, Founded 1535 as Puebla de Los Angeles, the city was historically a link between the coast and Mexico City. The official name is Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, in honor of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, who defeated the French forces there in 1862. Although smaller in number, the Mexican army won this battle but they did not win the war. The French conquered the country, and in 1864, a European emperor(Maxamillin) was put on the Mexican throne(this is the origin of the holiday Cinco de mayo which most Americans is the most important Mexican holiday and mistakenly believe that this the independence day) Not so, the 5th (cinco) of May only celebrates the victory of one battle over the French, and is really only regarded as an important date in the area around Puebla) It was taken (1847) by U.S. Gen. Winfield Scott during the Mexican War. French troops captured Puebla in 1863 but were ousted by Porfirio Díaz in 1867. Puebla was the center of a large earthquakes in 1973 and 1999 which have caused intense damage to the city and its surrounding region.
The site of Mexico's first textile-producing factory, Puebla has cotton mills, an automobile factory(Volkswagen)onyx quarries, and pottery and food industries. Talvera which originally came from the Moors who conquered Spain for a time and left the heritage of this kind of pottery which the Spanish later brought to Mexico. The colored tiles that decorate buildings and numerous churches are very characteristic of this town. I find Puebla to be the most "Spanish" of the cities I have been to in Mexico. The cathedral, built between 1552 and 1649, is one of the finest in Mexico is huge and imposing, but I personally find it cold in appearance, (at least on the outside) the gray almost cement looking stone does not have the warmth of the green stone used in Oaxaca for churches and large public buildings or the beautiful pinkish/golden stone used in Zacatecas..

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