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One of our experts wrote a guide to the best places in Puebla, a city declared a world heritage site by unesco in 1987.
1. Visit the Cathedral. Construction began in 1536 upon orders of the Bishop of Tlaxcala, Friar Julián Garcés, and today this is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in all of Latin America. Don’t forget to take photographs of the main altar, designed by the great sculptor Manuel Tolsá.
2. Explore the Palafoxiana Library. It is located in the Casa de Cultura (House of Culture) and is home to more than 43,000 works, including the 6,000 volumes that formed the personal collection of The Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, after whom the library is named.
3. Walk along the alley of Los Sapos: here you will find many types of furniture and antiques for all tastes.
4. Go to the Church of San Francisco. Admire the beautiful 18th century baroque style façade, and learn about the story of San Sebastián de Aparicio, patron saint of the transportation industry, and whose remains can be discovered inside a beautiful silver urn that is a site of pilgrimage for thousands of his faithful disciples.
5. Visit Los Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe. This is the site of the famous Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) battle, in which General Ignacio Zaragoza—alongside a valiant group of indigenous Zacapoaxtlas—vanquished the powerful French army in the spring of 1862. The spectacular view over the city from here will fascinate you.
6. Taste an exquisite dish of chilaquiles con mole (fried con tortilla triangles with mole sauce: a thick, richly-spiced sauce). The best are served in the Hotel Royalty, located in the very heart of the capital, just across from the Plaza de Armas and with the impressive backdrop of the Cathedral behind you.
7. Go to the Amparo Museum, inaugurated in 1991. This wonderful building exhibits everything from impressive pre-Columbian art to the most contemporary modern pieces from across the state, and indeed the country. Admire the magnificent exhibits accompanied by modern interactive systems.
8. Pass through the Casa de los Serdán Museum. It is located inside a 19th century mansion house where the first gunshot of the Mexican Revolution was fired, in 1910. On the façade, you can still see the bullet holes which were left as relics of that same conflict.
9. Go to El Parían. This handicraft market assembles the very best of crafts from across the state and country at excellent prices. You will find everything from local candies to wooden toys and textiles made in the city’s neighboring towns on sale.
10. Get to know the City Hall. Situated just in front of the Plaza de Armas, this is where the Governor of the state stands on the balcony on the night of September 15th to lead the “Grito” (Shout) of independence.
11. Discover the Chapel of Rosario, called “The reliquary of the American continent” by Pope John Paul ii. This magnificent sanctuary is one of the best examples of colonial baroque. During your visit, make sure to admire the beautiful hidden corners and the gold-covered altars.
12. Admire the unusual façade of the Regional Museum or Casa de Alfeñique (Candy House). The architectural finish of the building gives it the look of an iced gingerbread house. Inside, there are photographs and documents that tell the history of the city and its surroundings.
13. Explore Africam Safari. This is one of Mexico’s most popular safari parks where animals roam freely. Only a few miles south of the city of Puebla, towards Valsequillo. This is a great adventure for the whole family!
14. Visit the Casa del Deán Museum. Housed in a building from 1580, this is the work of architect Francisco de Becerra. The building served as the residence of the Dean of the Cathedral, and its walls are covered in paintings that were discovered accidentally in 1953, underneath an old tapestry.
15. Go to the Ex Convent of Santa Rosa. You will be able to see one of the best-preserved examples of a Colonial-era kitchen, where native Mexican ingredients were mixed with those brought from Europe to create the rich gastronomic tradition for which Puebla is known today.
16. Explore the Convention Center. Just across from the Church of San Francisco, this is a modern complex where you will find boutiques, restaurants, cafés and gardens.
17. See the Casa del que Mató al Animal. According to the legend, Don Pedro Carvajal gave this house as a gift to the commoner suitor of his daughter, after he saved her from a wolf attack. You can find it on the corner of 3 Oriente St. and 2 Sur St. The house is decorated with two carvings of hunting scenes.
18. Admire the Church of la Compañia de Jesús. The building was built in the last third of the 16th century and has an unusual façade with grey cantera stone on the lower parts, and beautiful white stone which looks like lace above.
19. Savor the very best of Puebla’s desserts and candy. As you walk along 6 Oriente Street, you will pass endless candyshops selling camotes (sweet potato candies), borrachitos (liqueur candies made with fruit and milk), tortitas de Santa Clara (iced cookies), dulces de leche (caramelized milk), garapiñados (candied nuts) and rompope (eggnog) among other delicacies.
20. Enjoy the façade of the Casa de los Muñecos (the House of Dolls). Decorated with a curious group of 16 figures, created from talavera tiles.
21. Pay a visit to La Pasita bar in Los Sapos neighborhood, where you will find an eclectic menu of liquors with funny names like Sangre de Brujas (Witches Blood), Fantasma (Ghost) and Calambre (Cramp).
22. Marvel at the La Concordia building. This baroque style building dates from 1676 and combines an entrance made of cantera stone with images of the saints made from marble. The building’s patio is one of the most beautiful in Puebla. Find it on the corner of 3 Sur St. and 9 Poniente St.
23. Visit the Centro Cultural Poblano (Cultural Center of Puebla). This was once a jail, and the former halls and cells are now the site of interesting cultural events. Located on Reforma Ave., on the corner of 13 Sur St.
24. See the fountain of the China Poblana. This is one of the most loved parts of the city, and is adorned with the bronze statue of the woman who has become an emblematic symbol of the city.
25. Enjoy a visit to the Railway Museum. You can see old train engines and wagons converted into exposition rooms and children’s libraries. The museum is on the corner of 11 Norte St. and 10 Poniente St.
26. Discover the Museum of the Colonial Art. If you love architecture, the interior patio—the second largest in Puebla— will be a treat for your eyes. It is decorated with a fine and elegant archway that leads you into the different exhibition rooms of the museum.
27. See the plaque dedicated to John Lennon. One of the few shrines to the writer of Imagine outside of the UK. It’s on 3 Oriente St.
28. Visit the Museum of Religious Art. You can admire beautiful works by the artists Juan Correa and Miguel Cabrera, amongst others. It’s on 18 Poniente street number 103.
29. See the La Purificadora Hotel, a modern complex with lounge-style rooms was built on the land of a former water purification plant that gave the hotel its name.
30. Admire Puebla from above. Take a ride on the cable car from the Los Fuertes area and take a 680m (2,230ft) over the state capital! Wonderful photos are guaranteed!
The city of Puebla is 2 hours from Mexico City along highway 150 D.
More info on Mexico: here.