Quiahuiztlan: off the beaten path

 

IMG_2828Veracruz is one of the states richest in history, nature and cultural diversity in Mexico, each time that you visit there is a new destination waiting to be discovered. One of the points that is less visited, but that this day in age, and throughout the years, has managed to keep alive its ancient magic, is Quiahuiztlan. This amazing archeological site has served three functions during its long history; a city, a totonac cemetery, and a fort.

Nestled in the Cerro de los Metates (this hill gets its name from the amount of metates discovered here), along the Cardel-Nautla highway and about 45 minutes north of Veracruz is this jewel of the Totonacapan.  Quiahuiztlan is more than a beautiful vestige of a past empire, it is of vast historical importance, key in understanding Hernán Cortés’ voyage through Mexico.

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The City of Quiahuiztlan grew to house 15,000 inhabitants in its time, despite its irregular off-set from the mountain.  One of the aspects that define this site is its cemetery. There are 78 tombs, divided among 3 mains sections. These tombs are similar to miniscule temples that house the remains of loved ones. These little temples and their arrangement give the illusion of walking around on a scale model of a pre-Columbian city.

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Its third function as a lookout point, is due to its most awe inspiring characteristic; the views. The clouds seem to wrap themselves around the hill in an embrace and from the main plaza you see to the horizon, a panoramic view with beach, lagoons and sky.  From a military point of view, it’s easy to see why it was used; any intruders from land or sea could be easily spotted.

It’s really an incredible place full of history and magic, and overall beautiful. Quiahuiztlan is a must see when you travel to Mexico, especially when you travel to Veracruz!

 

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