dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Truly Magical "Magic Town"

I have mentioned a number of times the "Pueblo Mágico" (Magic Town) program of the Mexican tourism department.  The designation of "Pueblo Mágico" is given to small towns throughout the country for their beauty and cultural and historical significance.  There are currently over 100 "Magic Towns" across Mexico.  Critics have said that the tourism department has lowered its standards and has given the designation to towns that are less deserving of the award.  I have visited a number of the "Pueblos Mágicos", and I agree that some are more interesting than others.  However, there is no denying the magical quality of the town of Malinalco

The town is located in a sub-tropical valley surrounded by dramatic mountains and cliffs.  It is in the State of Mexico about 70 miles to the southwest of Mexico City.   Alejandro and I visited the town four years ago, and found it an enchanting place.  My blogger friend Kim, who is spending several months in Mexico City, had never been there.  So, last Saturday, we took him to this "magic town".

The principal point of interest is the archaeological site atop one of the hills over 700 feet above Malinalco.  Here the Aztecs, who conquered the region around 1470, built one of their most important and sacred ceremonial sites.  Kim led the way climbing the 426 steps leading to the site.

 We finally reached the Aztec ruins at the top of the hill.

The most significant structure in the archaeological site is the House of Eagles.  It was carved out of the rock face of the cliff.

Within this building the bravest Aztec warriors would be initiated into the elite Order of the Eagles.   There is a circular chamber with images of eagles and jaguars carved out of the stone.

Carvings of jaguars guarded the building.

From the ruins there is a fine view of the Malinalco below.

We descended into the town and there we visited the church and former monastery that were built by the Augustinian order between 1540 and 1560.

On the walls and ceilings surrounding the cloister of the former monastery are impressive paintings that were done by indigenous artists.  They depict the Garden of Eden as imagined by the natives.

After lunch, we wandered  through the Saturday "tianguis" (open-air market) with its colorful produce and handicrafts.

 All too soon it was time to leave this truly magical town.



  1. OMG, you keep putting pictures of me on your blog! Aaaakkk! I'm gonna have to wear a burkha next time we get together.


    Kim G
    DF, México
    Where your opener made me wonder whether "magic" was what got some of these towns on the list in the first place.

    1. Kim, I don't think you need to get a burkha to disguise yourself... may just a big mariachi sombrero. LOL