Presiding over the city of Cholula is one of the world’s largest pyramids, with an immense slope built up over centuries of religious devotion.
Explore Cholula’s prehistoric archaeological park to find what is believed to be the world’s largest pyramid by volume, the Great Pyramid of Cholula. Also known as Pirámide Tepanapa or Tlachihualtepetl, the enormous religious and mythological complex has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. Visit the site’s museum to learn about its long history and religious significance. Walk through a tunnel inside the pyramid and see ancient murals and courtyards. Get insight into the spiritual customs that still take place at this ancient temple complex.
As you approach the Great Pyramid of Cholula from the surrounding plain, you’ll note its overgrown slopes of velvety green grass and 16th-century church that now presides over the hilltop. The pyramid rises 217 feet (66 meters) into the air and measures 1,480 by 1,480 feet (450 by 450 meters). Admire the pyramid’s distinctive multi-tier architecture, which is similar to that of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico and El Tajín on the Gulf Coast. It is believed construction began in the 3rd century B.C. as a monument to the deity Quetzalcoatl. The pyramid had significance to the Olmeca-Xicalanca and the Tolteca-Chichimeca, and the post-Classic Aztecs believed a giant named Xelhua was its builder.
Walk to the north side of the pyramid to reach the tunnel entrance. Make your way into the ancient structure and pass by the Mural of Drinkers. This work is one of the longest pre-Columbian murals in Mexico. You’ll also find the Courtyard of Altars in the complex on the pyramid’s south side. It is believed the raised platforms in this area were used for ceremonial rites.
Visit the site’s museum to learn about the pyramid’s religious and archaeological significance. You’ll see a scale model of the pyramid’s complex internal layers, as well as recreations of the site’s murals. Explore galleries displaying ceramics and other excavated relics.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula is situated in the San Andrés Cholula district. The inexpensive admission to the pyramid includes entry to the on-site museum. The ticket office and departure point for guided tours is located on the pyramid’s northern edge.