The day following our disappointing excursion to Taxco, saw us on another journey, this time north of the city, heading for the town of Tula.
Tula would be our third set of pre-Hispanic ruins (after Templo Mayor & Teotihuacan), but unlike the previous two, this one doesn’t get the same amount of press and thus, the same amount of tourist traffic.
It was around 08:00 in the morning that our bus bound for Tula left Mexico City’s Autobus Terminal Norte for what was only an hour and a half journey to this fairly industrial town (our final approach to this town of over 100,000 people took us past several smokey Pemex oil refineries).
On the approach through the towns main street we’d spied at least one sign pointed towards the Zona Archaelogica, so it was to here we now worked and began to follow the clues (well at least the signs), hopefully in the right direction.
Passing a large supermarket, we felt we hadn’t seen any further signs in some time, but we needn’t have feared as before long there were indications that our destination was on the left, and after a decent walk up a longish entrance road, we were there!
We paid our entrance fee, made a quick pit stop at the bathroom, before heading out to the ruins proper.
So what had drawn us out here?
Whilst as already mentioned Tula is neither an expansive, nor all that popular, it is home to some very impressive looking statues (actually carved columns), and it was to see these that we came.
A short walk through a forest of grass, scrawny trees and tall cacti (with several local hawkers setting up their stalls along the way) found us at the first of the ruins, a series of carved reliefs along a covered wall.
Tula is actually Toltec in origin, although it was apparently absorbed as part of the Aztec empire as their influence grew (by all accounts, the Aztec revered the Toltecs as their ancestors), and it wasn’t long, in fact a short climb up some tall stairs, before we found our goal.
These statues, well columns no longer with a roof to support were pretty cool, and I think made the trip worthwhile.
On arrival, but for a couple of Mexican lovers strolling about (no, it wasn’t the same couple from Teotihuacan), we pretty much had the place to ourselves which was nice indeed.
We explored a little more, looking for other views of both the site and the impressively carved column, the detail of which I hope the few images here properly conveys.
Another temple or pyramid a short distance away provided some decent views of the site, but also illustrated to us how close not only the town itself is (it pretty much surrounds the site), but on the not too distant horizon stood the smoky and hazy refineries spied on our approach to the town.
What long term impact this may have on the site was a definite concern in the back of our minds…
Eventually a few more people arrived (an elderly couple and a lone photographer), but the place certainly didn’t get busy at any stage.
In fact there were more people doing maintenance cutting grass and mending garden beds than interested tourists in the whole place.
Eventually we were done at the site, and decided to take advantage of the large supermarket we’d spotted earlier, so did some shopping for groceries, in anticipation of cooking up a storm later that night (we’d not been able to locate a decent sized supermarket in our part of Mexico City).
I think even by our standards, an hour and a half is quite a journey to make, just to grab a few fresh vegetables and some pasta…
* From Mexico’s Autobus Terminal Norte, we took Ovnibus for the 1.5 hr journey ($120.00 pesos per person each way).
* It is possible to take local buses from the Tula bus station, however our walk was only 20-30 minutes saving us that fare.