All 3 of these spots; Puebla, Nevada De Toluca, and Teotihuacan, were visited on separate occasions.
The reason I grouped them, was because they are located within an 2-3 hours outside of Mexico City, by car, in completely different directions.
Teotihuacan is a simple 45 minute to one hour drive outside of Mexico City.
Puebla is about 2 hours outside of Mexico City if you take the toll highway. But I went through the volcanoes, out of curiosity, thus it took more than 3-4 hours.
Nevada De Toluca, which is another massive Volcano outside the city of Toluca, took about 3 hours (although I was driving from outside of Guadalajara to get to here).
Where Is Puebla?
Technically, the most central point should be Mexico City, but I already have a post specifically for Mexico City Here.
So in this case, we will use Puebla City as our reference point for this post.
Teotihuacan (City of the Gods) / Teohuacan (City of the Sun)
Teotihuacan was founded around 100 BCE, with its peak strength around 250 CE, and a population of more than 125,000.
By 550 CE, the city was pillaged and burned, most likely due to the ruling class not being able to guarantee crop yields and rain with their religious activities of sacrificing other humans but themselves.
A theory suggests that crop yields collapsed due to the volcanic eruption of the Ilopango Volcano all the way in El Salvador.
The name of the city originally meant ‘City of the Gods' or ‘Birthplace of the Gods', but more recent evidence from 2018 suggests that the name is actually Teohuacan, which translates to ‘City of the Sun'.
On the way to Puebla from Mexico City, you can cross right in the middle of two volcanoes: Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl (the former is active, while the latter is not).
In Mexico City, it was around 25-30*C when I left earlier in the day, but up in the mountains, the tempurature drops to about 15-20*C.
Unfortunately, I didn't stick around long enough to go hiking in these volcanic hills.
Originally founded as Cholula, this city was largely active between 800-200 BCE. By 100 BCE, the Cholula was a vital point in Mexican trade and civilization due to its proximity with Volcanic minerals
The residents of the city constructed enormous pyramids, such as the Pyramid of Cholula, which is now covered in dirt, and has a church sitting on top of it. By 800 CE, just like Teotihuacan, the city of Cholula was mostly abandoned.
For the next 700 years, the city of Cholula was occupied by various tribes, until they were all assimilated into an alliance with the Aztec Empire in Mexico City.
Eventually the Spanish empire came by the 1520's, and began annihilating, enslaving and viciously exploiting the indigenous populations.
A new Spanish city was built just 15 km east of Cholula called Puebla, which rapidly became popular due to its proximity with the port of Veracruz, and Mexico City.
After 11 years of war, Mexico declared itself an independent country in 1821 in Puebla City.
Memories of the Second French Intervention in Mexico (1861-1867)
In 1861, the president of Mexico, Benito Juarez suspended loan-repayments to foreign governments.
This upset Spain, France and England creditors, whom launched an invasion of Mexico to reclaim their debts.
But when Spain and England discovered that France planned a full-scale invasion of Mexico, Spain and England withdrew.
France intended to open the Mexican markets to free trade, and extract as much Mexican silver as possible.
The United States could not support the Mexican government at the time because it was involved in its own civil war.
As a result, the ‘Second Mexican Empire', a puppet state of France, was established in Mexico and Maximilian the 1st of the House of Habsburg was declared Emperor of Mexico.
Due to extensive Guerrilla warfare by Mexican forces over the next 5 years, the French military eventually withdrew, and Maximilian the 1st was executed in 1867.
Nevada De Toluca
Nevada De Toluca is a volcano that is no longer active, that I wanted to drive into after my road trip to Guadalajara.
The fun part was that the entire drive was on insanely bumpy dirt roads… basically off-roading the entire way, hoping that my rental car will not fall apart.
The bad news, was that at a certain point, due to deep treads in the dirt, and soft sand, the car was not able to climb up further.