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Calixtlahuaca Sunday, May 06, 2007

The temple dedicated to Ehecatl, better known to archaeologists as Structure 3, is the best known edifice at Calixtlahuaca, just north of Toluca, Mexico.

On Thursday (Apr. 26), Anne and Alberto went back to work, so Mum, Dad and I were left to fend for ourselves. Before coming down to Mexico, Dad had wanted to check out the Aztec temples at Teotihuacan. But they are northeast of Mexico City, and we were west of the city, without a car, and the bus trip between the two points would have taken half a day in and of itself. So we looked around for something closer.

Sure enough, the AAA travel guide listed some pre-conquest ruins in Calixtlahuaca, just north of Toluca. Following Anne's instructions, we boarded a bus in Ocoyoacac bound for the terminal in Toluca. There, we
hired a cab which took us directly to the site.

Peter and Alison Ginn descend the relatively sane slope on the exterior of Structure 3 after climbing a much steeper staircase on the interior.

Set atop a hill above the town for which it is named, the Calixtlahuaca site is probably not very impressive
compared to Teotihuacan. There are only two major temples there, and not very big ones at that. And the guide there didn't speak English, and didn't really seem interested in helping us anyway. But in some ways (and I don't mean just proximity) it was better. Specifically, apart from one other group of three, we were the only tourists there. The site (apart from the bathrooms, I'm told) was clean, there were no barricades or restrictions, and no gift shop at the end.

Calixtlahuaca is an active archaeological site. Led by a team from Arizona State University, there was a group of people uncovering what they suspected was a 800+ year-old house near the entrance to the site, and a survey team working near the large structures at the top of the hill. For more information on the site and the ASU team's efforts, check out their blog, You can also see their official website,