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Cuetzalan and its Historical, Cultural and Natural Surrounding

Date of Submission: 27/09/2006
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
State, Province or Region:
North mountain range of Puebla State
Coordinates: N19 57 00 W97 34 54
Ref.: 5077

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Cuetzalan can be well defined as the sum of conditions and circumstances in one micro region, from where it arises merged from its surroundings and enriched with the force of its traditions.

From Yohualichan- the house of the mystery at night -, human settlement reaching its maximum splendor in the classic horizon (600-900 AD) until its uproot in the hills of the Northeastern slope of the Poblana mountain range, Cuetzalan offers an spectacular mosaic integrating the exuberant semitropical vegetal proposal with its falls and its water sources; it also offers its surprising geologic structure, its remote past and its traditions which are recalled in clothes, in celebrations and rites surprising  and subjugating habitants and strangers.

The city is united and integrated to the topographic footpaths generating a longitudinal plan that runs from the west to the east with its forced cross-sectional approaches, allowing an urban fabric very assigned to the proportion of its inhabitants, contrasting with the imposing profile of its temples which with coarse popular syncretism generated a strange typology in their architectonic expression.

The value of ensemble is what gives sense to the architecture of the city, always new perspectives, which surprise, which veil the spectator in a continuous movement of games and volumes which are obtained through the interminable super position of inclined covers, of heavy walls that are put in with light tile roofs, of eaves that put a roof on all the street sheltering to the passer-by.

To cross the city of Cuetzalan is to discover in each irregular street, in each turn, different and aesthetic impressions, always pleasant; by the intricate of its streets there is never a too much prolonged perspective, always is a closing where to rest the sight.

This city can not be understood of a single look, it invites to be crossed, to go and discover it step by step; this is what gives the enchantment of being an alive town that generates dynamism, that causes places of encounter with people and for people.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Cuetzalan cannot be conceived without the forceful presence of the indigenous communities integrating the municipality and inhabiting the entire region. The site is a reflection of the color, the dances, the rites and religious commemorations practiced by its ancestral settlers.

The testimony of its architectonic expression is unique in the Poblana mountain range. Its urban fabric is elevated in a winding formal concert of eaves and stone with strange closings as singular is the character shaped in the hierarchy and the showing of its lines of vision caused by its original and majestic temples; The parish of San Francisco and the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, exceptional in proportions and styles, cause an impressive resistance of the syncretism of master builders and craftsmen, of rain, fog and sun.

In that context, an opened space of enormous proportions is conserved, which allows the lodging as much in three uses different from settlers as visitors: First "Religious Ceremonial" of the vestibule of the parish, place where the Huipil celebration and the rite of the rockets take place. In ascending sense what follows is the "Plaza de Armas" in front of Municipal Palace, of just usufruct by the settlers of the indigenous communities. And the steps where the tianguis is made, every Sunday event of rooted embellish tradition polychrome that is to national and foreign visitors.

This ensemble provides to the city with a great urban space that is not repeated in any other mountain population. These are elements that drew up consolidating, in cross-sectional sense to the natural topographic runners by whom the urban fabric of the population was seeded.

As an extension of the urban plan the natural habitat presents/displays the effect of the changes of altitude with its manifestations and own ecosystems of the semitropical creeks. Also in their immediate surroundings are slopes of system Cuetzalan the Grotto, formed by underground water-bearing current millenarians.

In that atmosphere, where the pre-Hispanic culture merges with the green one, in a look of forests, habitual sounds and diverse forms of life rise Yohualichan, explaining the first presence of a human nucleus in the municipality.

Comparison with other similar properties

It is possible that some communities are susceptible to count or show coincidences, either by the geographic means in which they are based, or by the cultural values that unite them, or by the architectonic forms on which they are constructed, or by the landscape that surrounds them, or by the syncretism of its traditions, or by the phenomena that surrounds their social dynamism, but in the case of Cuetzalan it is possible that an important exception appears.

In effect, although its vernacular architecture is susceptible to call the attention to be a clear example of how man integrates to the physical environment where he lives, and by the way to express his typology a singular character, emphasizing the formal sense of its temples, unique in its conception and application of technical resources, the same is worthy of astonishment the deep beauty that lies in or of its caverns; and although it is worthy of praise how the town has been able to conserve its secular traditions until making of its culture a daily expression of pride, also it is outstanding its landscape that ecstasies and its biodiversity that animates thousands of forms of life animals and vegetables.

It is doubtless the existence of communities where the architecture vernacular is recreated in a singular way, another where the traditions are still live with equal vivification, others more accounting the formation of geologic similarities, others where archaeological monuments exist speaking of the splendor of old cultures, nevertheless they do not concentrate the sum of cultural values and natural that converge in Cuetzalan.

With respect to its urban plan, it is possible to find a similarity with the town of Pahuatlán in the Northwestern mountain range of the State of Puebla and door to the Huasteca Hidalguense, although in no mountain population a visual profile could be observed like the offered by its urban fabric framed by his peculiar towers.