Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/209

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The ancient city of Cholula lies on a broad plain, extending to the base of the chains in advance of the Great Nevadas, and at an elevation of six thousand five hundred feet above the sea.

Situated some miles to the south of the great road between the large Spanish-built city of Puebla de los Angeles and the capital, it is comparatively seldom visited. To the north, beyond the barren but beautifully formed Sierra Malinche, lies the territory of Tlascala, whose republican inhabitants, spurred on by their hatred to the Mexican yoke, acted such an important part in the history of the conquest, as the allies of Cortez.

Cholula was the sacred city of the Mexican empire, and at the time of the Spanish invasion numbered a population within its precincts, to which the few thousands who now occupy a small portion of its ancient site are but a fraction. If we are rightly informed, its decay is far from having reached its term, and this may be easily accounted for by the vicinity of the city of Puebla, which has sprung up within a few leagues to the eastward. The principal square is very spacious, and there are many large churches; but we found little in the city worthy of withholding our attention, during the brief hours of our halt from the main object of our visit, which it is hardly necessary to tell you was the celebrated pyramid.

This vast mound, in spite of the waste of centuries, which has destroyed the regularity of its form, rounded and broken down its angles, confounded its terraces, and given it the air of a shapeless mass of earth, is still a marvel and a wonder in the land, and will probably remain so to the end of time.