Did you know that Mexico, like Spain, has its own list of magical towns (magical in their beauty). In one of these towns I was lucky enough to visit at Christmas time and see the stunning spectacle of a “city of lights”.
In my previous article Toluca de Lerdo I wrote that I wanted to tell about small Mexican towns and villages, because everything is already told about the big ones 🙂
This magical town is called Atlixco. The city of a thousand flowers with the best climate on earth. So, at least, say the Mexicans themselves. Atlixco is located at the foot of the Sierra de San Miguel, in the state of Pueblo, in the west at an altitude of 1881 meters above sea level, 25 km from the state capital Pueblo. Also the town of Atlixco is very close to the second highest mountain in Mexico (5426 meters above sea level) and the active volcano Popocatepetl (the name translates as “hill in the smoke”).
We arrived in Atlixco for 2 part days; we spent the night in a small guesthouse with a courtyard buried in exotic flowers and greenery.
First things to see in Atlixco
- The central square of Atlixco, decorated in Moorish style
- The church of La Merced of 1680, with a very beautiful chapel. The church formerly functioned as a convent of mercy
The first thing to do in the town of Atlixco
- Climb to the top of the Sierro de San Miguel mountain to see the panorama of the city
- Relax in one of the city’s mineral water spas with a view of the Popocatepetl volcano
- See the illuminated magical city “Villa iluminada” – from November 24 to January 6, from 18:00 to 23:00 (but most often later)
Since we arrived late, after a small snack we immediately went to the center of “Villa iluminada” (the colorful city). It was getting dark, there were a lot of people. Near the Christmas tree is the city council building, on the first floor of which – unimaginable beauty! Electric large candles, icons, piñatas hanging from the ceiling.
Piñata are brightly colored figures made of paper or papier-mache, filled with candy and toys. Supposedly, the prototype of the piñata were Chinese lanterns. At birthdays and some other holidays (especially Christmas and New Year) children take turns beating a piñata with special sticks. And whoever can break the piñata becomes the owner of all its contents. The process of breaking is accompanied by special music and songs.
But back to our town of Atlixco. After we go for a walk along the “illuminated” road. The central cathedral is covered in lights; on top there is a luminous grid of figures. At every turn there are cafes and street vendors, beckoning tourists.
A large line had gathered at one of the booths. My curiosity got the better of me, so I asked the last person in line, “What are they selling there? The answer was, “Grilled grasshoppers. These are the best.” Well, I decided I had to try it.
The grasshoppers are served in a plastic cup with salt and pepper lemon dressing. Nothing special, to be honest, it’s something very heavily fried and crispy, and of course, generously seasoned with chili peppers. So it was crispy and spicy.
Also, here in Atlixco, I finally got to try the apple in chili peppers that all Mexican kids eat without exception. Interesting, unusual, but I would not eat it a second time. After tasting the unusual food, I bought some boiled corn.
In Mexico, boiled corn is sold in two forms: whole corn, which is poked on a wooden stick (called “elotes”) and separate kernels in a cup (“esquités”). Both, to your taste, can be spread with mayonnaise, sprinkled with grated cheese and chili peppers.
Lost in the hustle and bustle with a friend. I call and want to say that I’m standing here on the corner, but in time I remember that in the colloquial “street” speech in Mexico, the word “corner” also has another meaning. 🙂 So, “working the corner” means making a living as a prostitute. There you go. Peculiarities of the Mexican dialect…
Next was nothing but excitement! The city of Atlixco in the lights actually looked magical and very Christmasy. By the way, not only were the people excited about the holiday, but some of the dogs, like this one dressed in a Santa Claus costume, were as well.
Panorama of the town of Atlixco
The next day we visited the panorama of the town of Atlixco on top of the Sierra de San Miguel. There, too, since 1965, a national cultural festival called Huey Atlixcáyotl has been held every last Sunday in September, attracting not only Mexicans but many Europeans as well.
Here is a wooden pole for the performance. I haven’t seen it live, only on youtube. I must say, it’s a little creepy spectacle – at a great height on a wooden pole, young people are twirling on ropes and still manage to do acrobatic sketches.
When we were watching the panorama, in the bushes we saw a beautiful cat that looks like a wild cat 🙂
Our time in Atlixco was at an end, it was time to return to Mexico City.
A little bit about Atlixco
- The population of Atlixco is just over 132 thousand people
- The city of Atlixco is known for the production of decorative flowers for sale, which are sent to all populated areas of Mexico. Every September, the city hosts the Atlixco de las Flores Flower Festival
- The city of Atlisco is home to the Huey Atlixcayotl Festival of Traditional Music and Dance
- Every year, the city of Atlisco creates huge floral carpets for the Day of the Dead Día de los Muertos (November 1 and 2)
- The city of Atlisco has the status of a Hero City after the battle of May 4, 1862