Tlaxcala was originally the capital of an independent ethnic group called Olmeca-Xicalancas. These indigenous people created an alliance with Hernan Cortes, helping him to overtake the Mexica Empire. Following the conquest, they were given special treatment since they were considered allies of the Spaniards.
Tlaxcala today is a charming colonial town, rich with culture. It is the site of one of the earliest monasteries built in Mexico – the Ex-Franciscan Convent de la Asunción. The interior walls of the Government Palace boast a detailed, colorful mural documenting the history of the Tlaxcalan people, not to be missed.
The prehispanic ruins of Xochitecatl and the murals of Cacaxtla are nearby. These brightly colored frescoes were discovered in 1975, depicting a battle scene between warring jaguar and eagle warriors. The ancient artwork shows a clear Mayan influence, still being analyzed by archaeologists today.
Although not a commercial tourist stop, Tlaxcala offers an enriching glimpse into both prehispanic and colonial culture, making it well worth a day trip.