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Popocateptl - Iztaccihuatl
More places of the surroundings of Mexico City


A nahuatl legend tells that once upon a time a valient warrior and a beautiful princess died of love. A soldier who was forced by the father of the young lady Iztaccíhuatl to go to the war for obtaining his approval to contract nuptials with his daughter. After months of not obtaining news from her lover, Iztaccihuatl, received a messenger who said to her that her lover was killed in action. Victim of the sadness, the princess gave itself to the weeping and died. Soon after, the soldier returned and found her lover dead. Plenty of anger, took the body to the top of a hill where he buried to her and he remained made kneel next to her, dying giving anger shouts which resounded by all the Anáhuac. The Gods when contemplating felt compassion of them, and covered them with a shelter with branches and snow and they turned them mountains. One with the silhouette of a young woman and the other like a volcano, that sometimes continues burning with love in its interior.

This beautiful legend is only a sample of the enormous cultural importance that these volcanos mean for the region and the whole country, volcanos which have been present throughout the centuries in the mexican imaginary like the eternal guards and natural frame of the Valley of Mexico. These volcanos appear in paintings of Jose Maria Velasco, the Dr Atl and Diego Rivera and was in a way in the middle of these volcanos (the Passage of Cortes) where the Spanish conquerors glimpsed from the heights for the first time the splendor of old Tenochtitlan.

Popocatépetl volcano, or "Don Goyo" as known by the inhabitants of the near populations and the Iztaccihuatl known as "the sleepy woman" are located in an important national park in the east of the Estado de Mexico, bordering with the states of Puebla and Morelos. It is a zone of intricate mountainous areas covered by cold climate forests where pines, firs and oyameles predominate, and from the 4000 meters of altitude above sea level it is covered by alpine stepps covered by tundra vegetation, where predominate pastures and the thistles. The fauna of the zone is abundant and we can find teporingos, rabbits, pumas, deer, eagles, armadillos and different species of reptiles and insects. From the ecological point of view, this national park acquires special relevance because of being the eternal snows of these volcanos and their bordering forests, the source of several of the rivers that supply of potable water the near cities, reason for which intense campaigns of reforestation and protection have been undertaken.

In this national park different activities like long walk, mountain scaling, bicycle and mountain climbing can be made, nevertheless the realization of this activities holds to the conditions of eruption of Popocatépetl Volcano, nevertheless most of the days is possible to accede to the Iztaccíhuatl and the Passage of Cortes. For it, it is necessary to register itself previously in the office of tourism of the town of Amecameca where the pertinent instructions will be received in order to make the ascent that can take place in automobile.

Others of the attractiveness of the environs, are the populations located at the skirts of the volcanos, of which we will mention San Rafael, an interesting villa that worked at the beginning of century XX as centre of paper production, villa that still conserves many of its original constructions with a european influence that transports us to other times and latitudes. Also in the zone are some of the first religious constructions made by the catholic missionaries in Mexico, in the populations of Atlahucan, Cuernavaca, Tetela del Volcan, Huejotzingo, among others, all declared Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO in 1994. This national park is easily accessible from the Mexico City, with a time of route approximated of two hours, taking the highway Chalco - Amecameca.

  Mexico, D.F. 2008. All rights reserved.