Tula

Tula, thought to be the most important Toltec site in Mexico, can be visited as a half-day excursion from Mexico City. In all, two ball courts, pyramids, a frieze in colour, and remarkable sculptures over 6 m high have been uncovered. There are four huge warriors in black basalt on a pyramid, these are the great Atlantes anthropomorphic pillars. One is a reproduction; the original is on display at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City . The platform on which the four warriors stand is encircled by a low relief frieze depicting jaguars and coyotes, and Tlaloc masks adorn the walls. Note the butterfly emblem on the chests of the warriors and the
atlatl
(spear-thrower) held by their sides. The butterfly - such an important element in Toltec iconography - was once more to become associated with the warrior class during the Aztec period, when dead warriors became butterflies who escorted the sun to midday. The museum is well worth visiting and there is a massive fortress-style church, dating from 1553, near the market.

The town of Tula itself is pleasant, clean and friendly. If driving from Mexico City, take the turn for Actopan before entering Tula, then look for the Parque Nacional sign (and the great statues) on your left.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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