From Puebla, we drove in about an hour to Cholula. Small colonial town located is at the altitude of 7,080 ft / 2,160 meters above sea level. The city itself was not the reason of our visit. We came here to see the Great Pyramid.
At first glance, we noticed only a hill with the church on the top. This overgrown hill is actually a massive pyramid. It has been proved based on the excavations that included digging long tunnels inside the structure. Around the pyramid, there are many other ancient buildings, temples and even a stone covered market area. Today, we can only imagine how huge this complex was.
Over time, the great pyramid becomes abandoned. By the time the Spaniards arrived, it was already fully overgrown. They probably did not know that the hill was actually a pyramid; they knew, however, that this place had a religious significance for Indians. The construction of the church at the top of the hill helped Spaniards to redirect indigenous beliefs towards Christianity. To this day, the Nuestra Seńora de los Remedios sanctuary receives many pilgrims. We can say that the Pyramid of Cholula is one of the oldest places in the world where people pray continuously for at least 2,300 years.
There are two murals discovered here. The reproduction of one of them is in the museum. Known as Bebidores or Drinkers mural depicts various figures drinking most likely pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey, local agave. In Mesoamerica, this drink was considered sacred. In Cholula only elders were allowed to drink it during a special ritual. A young man disobeying the ban was punished by death. The mural unearthed in Cholula in 1968 in some fragments also suggests that pulque rituals were mainly for man and that they also included homosexual experiences.
The pyramid in Cholula is wide spread. Its base is four times the size of that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. It is considered by volume to be the largest pyramid in the world.