The city was founded around A.D. 650 by the Olmeca-Xicalanca, a tribe related to the Mayas. They originated along the Gulf coast and had a reputation as merchants. As the great city of Teotihuacan fell into decline, Xochicalco rose to prominence as one of the most important commercial and religious centers of central Mexico. It was at its height between A.D. 700 and 900 when it may have had a population of around 20,000. Around 900, the city was burned and destroyed. Recent archaeological studies suggest that the city fell victim to internal class warfare. This theory is based on the fact that in the upper-class sections of the city many of the household items appear to have been deliberately smashed. In the poorer sections of the city, however, such damage is not found.
The site has a small but interesting museum displaying items from the city.
It is quite a hike from the museum to the ruins. That's the museum off in the distance.
The city was built on top of a flattened and terraced mountain. The location provided an excellent defensive position overlooking major trade routes.
The ruins include numerous small pyramids and temples as well as the remains of residences.
Two ball courts have been excavated.
The most exceptional structure at Xochcalco is the Temple of Queztalcoatl. This temple is adorned on all sides with outstanding carvings of Quetzalcoatl, the Feather Serpent god. The building shows influence from both Teotihuacan and the Mayan culture.
Although Xochicalco does not receive many foreign visitors, it is certainly among the most important archaeological sites of central Mexico.