Cacaxtla (Mexico)

Cacaxtla (Nahuatl pronunciation: [kaˈkaʃtɬaːn]) is an archaeological site located near the southern border of the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. It was a sprawling palace containing vibrantly colored murals painted in unmistakable Maya style. The nearby site of Xochitecatl was a more public ceremonial complex associated with Cacaxtla. Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl prospered 650-900 CE, probably controlling important trade routes through the region with an enclave population of no more than 10,000 people.

The centre of the city of Cacaxtla was the 200-metre-long, 25-metre-high Gran Basamento – a natural platform offering a fine defensive position and commanding views over the surrounding terrain. The city's main religious and civil buildings were located on this platform, as were the residences of the priest class. Several other smaller pyramids and temple bases stand in the vicinity of the main platform.

Because Cacaxtla's main basamento was not excavated until the 1980s, many of the original coloured wall decorations have been preserved and can be appreciated in situ#Archaeology (In position not moved from original spot) by visitors to the site. Of particular interest is the fact that most of the murals seem to combine the symbology of Altiplano cultures with influences from the Maya, making Cacaxtla unique in this regard.


Last update: 26.04.2014