Puebla officially Free and Sovereign State of Puebla (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla.
It is located in East-Central Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Veracruz to the north and east, Hidalgo, México, Tlaxcala and Morelos to the west, Guerrero and Oaxaca to the south.
The origins of the state lie in the city of Puebla, which was founded by the Spanish in this valley in 1531 to secure the trade route between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz.
By the end of the 18th century, the area had become a colonial province with its own governor, which would become the State of Puebla, after the Mexican War of Independence in the early 19th century. Since that time, the area, especially around the capital city, has continued to grow economically, mostly through industry, despite being the scene of a number of battles, the most notable of which being the Battle of Puebla. Today, the state is one of the most industrialized in the country, but since most of its development is concentrated in Puebla and other cities, many of its rural areas are very poor, forcing many to migrate away to places such as Mexico City and the United States.
Culturally, the state is home to the China Poblana, mole poblano, active literary and arts scenes and festivals such as Cinco de Mayo, Ritual of Quetzalcoatl, Day of the Dead celebrations (especially in Huaquechula) and Carnival (especially in Huejotzingo). It is home to five major indigenous groups: Nahuas, the Totonacas, the Mixtecas, the Popolocas and the Otomi, which can mostly be found in the far north and the far south of the state.
The state is located on the central highlands of Mexico between the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra Madre Oriental. It has a roughly triangular shape with its narrow part to the north. It borders the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Morelos, State of Mexico, Tlaxcala and Hidalgo. The state has a territory of 33,919km2 and ranks 20th out of 31 states in size, and 4,930 named communities.
Most of its mountains belong to the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The first is locally called the Sierra Norte del Puebla, entering the state from the northwest and then breaks up into the smaller chains of Sierra de Zacapoaxtla, Sierra de Huauchinango, Sierra de Teziutlán, Sierra de Tetela de Ocampo, Sierra de Chignahuapan and Sierra de Zacatlán, although these names may vary among localities. Some of the highest elevations include Apulco, Chichat, Chignahuapan, Soltepec and Tlatlaquitepec. The highest elevations are the volcanoes Pico de Orizaba or Citlaltepetl (5,747masl), Popocatépetl (5,452masl), Iztaccíhuatl (5,286masl) and Malinche (4,461masl) which are found on the state’s borders with Veracruz, Mexico State and Tlaxcala respectively. In the south of the state, the major elevations are the Sierra de Atenahuacán, Zapotitlán, Lomerio al Suroeste and the Sierra de Tehuacán. Dividing much of the state from Veracruz is a small chain of mountains called the Sierra Madre del Golfo.
The natural geography of the state subdivides into the Huasteco Plateau, Llanuras y Lomeríos zone, Lagos y Volcanes del Anáhuac, Chiconquiaco, Llanuras y Sierras de Querétaro e Hidalgo, Cordillera Costera del Sur, Mixteca Alta, Sierras y Valles Guerrenses, Sierras Centrales de Oaxaca, Sierras Orientales and Sur de Puebla. The Huasteco Plateau and the Llanuras y Lomeríos zone are located in the north and northeast, with the Lagos y Volcanes del Anáhuc in the center and north. Together, they account for over 50% of the state. The east and northeast are occupies by the Chiconquiaco and Llanudras y Sierras de Querétaro e Hidalgo areas and account for about three percent of the state. The Cordillera del Sur and Mixteca Alta are located in the west and southwest covering less than 2.5% of the state. The Sur de Puebla is in the southwest and accounts for 26% of the state. Other southern subregions include the Sierras y Valles Guerrerenses, the Sierras Centrales de Oaxaca and the Sierras Orientales. Together, they account for about 15% of the state.
The state has 2,600 historic buildings, antiques, bars and pottery workshops. The downtown of the capital is filled with churches, government buildings and large homes, built by indigenous hands for their Spanish overlords. This downtown was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
The state promotes twelve tourist routes, seven in the city of Puebla and five in the rest of the state. The cover the most representative buildings of the history of the state up to modern attractions such as the Africam Safari zoo. The first tourist route in the city of Puebla passes by the Cathedral, the Palafoxiana Library, the Capilla del Rosario, Calle de Santa Clara, Palacio Municipal, Casa de los Muñecos and the Museo Amparo. The second route passes by the Casa del Alfeñique, the Mercado de Artesanias, the Barrio del Artista, the Teatro Principal and the San Francisco Church. The third route contains the Railroad Museum, the Museo y Pinacoteca Ex-Convento de Santa Monica, the Ex-Convento de Santa Rosa, the Museo de la No-Intervencion Fuerte de Guadalupe and the Mercado de Antiguedades. The forth route contains the San Francisco Acatepec Church, the Santa Maria Tonatzintla Church, the Capilla Real, the Cholula archeological site, the Los Remedios Church and Huejotzingo. The fifth route includes Cuauhtinchan, Tecali and the Africam Safari Zoo.
Outside of the Puebla metropolitan area, the state promotes natural attractions such as the cacti of Zapotitlán, the 100 million year old fossils of Cantera Tlayùa in Tepexi de Rodríguez and smaller ones such as waterfalls, churches, caverns, archeological zones, former monasteries, traditional markets, fresh water springs, lakes and more. The tourist routes outside of the Puebla metro area are divided into the Sierra Mixteca area in the south and the Sierra Norte in the north. The Sierra Mixteca area includes the Ruta de Aguacate (Avocado Route), the Ruta del Ónix (Onyx Route), the Ruta del Maiz (Corn Route) and the Ruta Paleontológica (Palentology Route). The Avocado Route includes the municipalities of Atlixco, Tianguismanalco, Tochimilco, Huaquechula, Tlapanalá, Izúcar de Matamoros, San Juan Epatlán, Chietla, Chiautla de Tapia and Acatlán de Osorio. The Onyx Route includes the Africam Safari Zoo, Cuauhtinchan, San Salvador Huixcolotla, Tecali de Herrera, Tecamachalco and Tepeaca. The Corn Route includes Tehuacán, Santa María del Monte and Zapotitlán Salinas. The Paleontology Route includes Atoyatempan, Santa Clara Huitziltepec, Molcaxac, Huatlatlauca, Chigmecatitlán, Tepexi de Rodríguez and San Juan Ixcaquixtla .
The Sierra Norte contains a number of pre-Hispanic archeological sites and colonial architecture. Crafts to be found here include wool clothing, amate paper, clay figures, wood carvings, and embroidered blouses. This area of the state contains the Ruta de la Flor (Flower Route), Ruta Interserrana (Inter-Mountain Route), Ruta del Huipil y Café (Huipil and Coffee Route) and the Ruta Perla Norte (North Pearl Route). The Flower Route includes the municipalities of Chignahuapan, Zacatlán, Huauchinango, Juan Galindo, Pahuatlán, Tenango, Tetela de Ocampo and Xicotepec. The Inter-Mountain Route includes Ahuacatlán, Zapotitlán, Xochitlán, Tepango and Nauzontla. The Huipil and Coffee Route include Tenextatiloyan, Acajete, Cuetzalan, Jonotla, Libres, Nopalucan, Oriental, San José Chiapa, Tepeyahualco and Zacapoaxtla. The North Pearl Route includes Atempa, Chignautla, Hueyapan, San Juan Xiultetelco, Teziutlán, Tlatlauquitepec and Yaonahuac.
There are a number of former haciendas in the state, many of which have been converted into hotels, spas and other kinds of attractions. Some have also been used as movie and television sets for projects such as Alondra, Amor es Querer, Man on Fire, Vantage Point and Frida. These include the Chautla Hacienda in San Salvador el Verde, Las Calandrias in Atlixco, Micuautla in Puebla, Netxalpa in Atlixco, San Pedro de Ovando in Acatzingo, Ozumba in San José Chiapa, Rancho Jesús in Cuautinchan, San Agustín in Atlixco, San Mateo in Amalucan, San Roque in Atlixco, Santiago Texmelucan in Tepeyahualco de Hidalgo and Oriental Tenextepec in Atlixco.
Natural attractions in the state include Amacas in Cuetzalan, Bosque Chignahuapan Forest, the Quetzalapa Chignahuapan Waterfall, Zacatlán Waterfall, La Gloria Cuetzalán Waterfall, Las Brisas Cuetzalan Waterfall, Las Golondrinas Cuetzalan Waterfall, Nexcapa Hauachinango, Ocpaco Zacatlán Waterfall, the arid landscapes of Zapotitlan de Salinas, the Iztalcihual and Popocatepetl volcanos, the basalt columns of Huauchinango, the Valle de Piedras Encimadas in Zacatlán and the Nexcaxa Dam in Huauchinango.(scenarios)
Puebla is working with neighboring Veracruz to promote the area’s tourist attractions and develop them in an ecologically sustainable way. Both state governments are working with organizations of tour operators, hotels and restaurants to pool a fund for activities such as advertising campaigns, especially to Mexico City and the State of Mexico, which account for 80% of all the state’s visitors. Another is the reimbursement of tolls for those who travel to certain attractions such as the Africam Safari park and two-for-one specials. Efforts have succeeded in raising hotel occupancy rates from 40% to 56% in a number of areas.