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Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins

Veracruz, Mexico
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George & Eve DeLange

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Penon de Bernal. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
"Penon de Bernal", A Massive Basalt Plug With Sheer Cliffs On Three Sides

Quiahuiztlan Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico: Quiahuiztlan (key-ah-wheez-tlahn) is one of the Toltecs most beautiful sites on the Veracruz Coast. It's highest period of occupation was during the Early Postclassic (900 - 1200 A.D.) when it shows Totonic influences into the Late Postclassic (1200 - 1519 A.D.) time in which Quiahuiztlan was influenced by the Mexica. It is located on a large hill that rises up from the beach area called "Hill Of The Metates" or "Cerro de los Metates."

Quiahuiztlan is a Nahuatl word that means "place of rain," this site is located near Green Lagoon which borders the Cardel-Nautla highway.

This site is a not only an archaeological zone but also very beautiful in the sense that you can see unusual rock formations, a breathtaking view of the ocean and a wide variety of plant and animal life. You also can see the area along the coast line where Cortez and his small army of men landed. It was here that Cortes formed the pact with 20 Totonac chieftains that gave him his first native allies against the Aztec empire.

This Totonac center is best known for its tombs, there are more than 70 of them, each shaped like a miniature temple.

Starting with a brief history of the Spanish Conquest, Quiahuiztlan was one of the most powerful centers on the Veracruz coast. Like all of the other towns in the region, it had to pay tribute to the Aztec emperor Motecuhzoma II.

Cortes's first landing was at the port of San Juan de Ulua on the Veracruz coast next to the present city of Veracruz. Cortez sent an expedition under Francisco de Montejo (later conqueror of Yucatan) to find a better harbor. Fifty-eight kilometers to the north they saw "a town which looked like a fortified port" which was called Quiahuiztlan. Beside it was a harbor in which they thought their ships would be safe. Cortes ordered his men to move north to this new location.

They chose another spot instead which they named Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (now called La Antigua). Even so, Cortes still wanted to visit Quiahuiztlan.

Cortez and his men left for Quiahuiztlan but they spent their first night at the Totonac center of Zempoala, where Cortes met his first ally, Xicomecoatl, the so-called "Fat Chief' of Zempoala.

The troops then continued north, and on the next day they marched up to the fort-city of Quiahuiztlan where they met no resistance.

They were shortly joined by the Fat Chief of Zempoala, who joined with twenty of the local rulers in a list of complaints against the Aztecs.

The Spaniards and the Totonac chiefs then signed a treaty forming an allience against the Aztecs. The Spaniards later founded a new town, named Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz by the nearby bay on the Gulf. It was here that they built a church, a market square, houses, and a small fortress. You can still still visit this town, now called Villa Rica. From here, the conquistadors embarked on their war against the Aztec empire.

Touring The Site:
We parked at the top of a steep access road and then walked up to the site. The path climbs a ridge where we found two tombs and the remains of a Totonac tank for storing water. Although their shapes are all slightly different, all of the Quiahuiztlan tombs follow the same pattern. They look like miniature talud-tablero temples with a very short flight of stairs ascending to a tiny one-room sanctuary on top. The bones of the person in the tomb consisting of usually, only the skull and the long bones of the arms and legs, were buried inside the base of the temple.

Below, the site's main terrace there are two temples, the larger is Pyramid 1 and the smaller Pyramid 2, on a small plaza with an altar in the middle. This was the main ceremonial area. Beyond the edge of this terrace lies a small ball court and the Eastern Cemetery. This contains 23 small tombs, mostly facing south or west.

Returning to the main plaza, on the west side is the Central Cemetery. We first saw a line of four tombs that are the largest on the site. The southernmost is Tomb 1, which is large enough to have been used as a temple. On its top there is a line of seven merlons. A row of more than 30 smaller tombs runs along the base of the hillside. The west end of this terrace contains a low platform which was probably an elite residence.

Up on the hillside, you find the South Cemetery, which consists of only four tombs, including one with two small doorways leading into the miniature sanctuary. The surrounding slopes contain terraces of smaller residences and small agricultural plots.

You can see other Mesoamerican mounds on the surrounding hills. A path leads up the very steep summit of the "Penon de Bernal" volcanic neck. We did not take the hike but we were told that it takes only 1.5 hours to climb the peak.

There are no services at the site and restroom facilities are extremely rustic. You will just love their ecological toilets! Plan to go before you go! It would be best somewhere off in the bushes. We were here on January 21, 2004 at about 2:00PM.

You can fly near to Quiahuiztlan by flying into the General Heriberto Jara International Airport, also called the Veracruz International Airport (IATA: VER, ICAO: MMVR) which is the international airport located at Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico. It handles national and international air traffic for the city of Veracruz. Quiahuiztlan is about 44.6 miles northwest of Veracruz City.

We suggest getting a hotel in Veracruz and then letting them arrange either a car or a tour of Quiahuiztlan. If you call their Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.

We do this all the time, when traveling in Mexico. It is safe and it works!!! We have never experienced a problem doing it this way!

We have links to Priceline.com on this page so you can make your flight and hotel arrangements.

Small Tombs In The Central Cemetery. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Small Tombs In The Central Cemetery

Small Tombs Located At The East Cemetery. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Small Tombs Located At The East Cemetery

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George DeLange Says.. Tour. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. Where Cortez Landed. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
George DeLange Says..
Come On Along
And See Our Tour
About 1.5 Miles From Quiahuiztlan
Near The Red X
Is Where Cortez
Landed In 1519 At
Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz
Penon de Bernal. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Penon de Bernal. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
"Penon de Bernal""Penon de Bernal"
Building Three. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, & Information.Building 3. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, & Information.
West Side Building Three
Central Cemetery In Background
SouthEast Corner Building Three
Central Cemetery Tombs. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Central Cemetery Tombs. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Central Cemetery TombsCentral Cemetery Tombs
Central Cemetery Tombs. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Central Cemetery Tombs. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Central Cemetery TombsCentral Cemetery Tombs
Central Cemetery Tombs. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Tomb Two. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Central Cemetery Tomb 2 (Left)
And Tomb One (Right)
Central Cemetery, Tomb Two
Pyramid One. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Pyramid 1. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Southwest View
Of Pyramid One
East side
Of Pyramid 1
Pyramid 1. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Pyramid 2. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
North Side
Of Pyramid One
Central Plaza,
Foreground, And Pyramid 2
Tomb. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Monument. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Tomb One And TwoMonument
Shark. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Monument. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Shark MonumentMonument
Metate. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Pestle. Quiahuiztlan Toltec Archaeological Ruins, Veracruz, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Fragments Of
Metate Grinding Stones
Stone Pestles

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Zempoala Archaeological Ruins

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