Cholula is a small city in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Legally the full name of the city is Cholula de Rivadabia, but this name is little used.
Cholula is located at 19.06°N, 98.31°W, about 15 km west of the city of Puebla. Cholula is at an elevation of about 2135 meters (about 7000 ft) above sea level. In 1995 the city had a population of some 89,800 people.
Only a fraction of a staircase on one side of the Great Pyramid of Cholula has been restored to its former glory.
Today the pyramid at first appears to be a natural hill, with a church on top built by the Spanish in colonial times to replace the pre-Hispanic temple. Inside the pyramid are some 5 miles of tunnels excavated by archeologists.
Cholula was a major center contemporary with Teotihuacan, but seems to have escaped that city's fate of destruction at the end of the Mesoamerican Classic period and remained a regional center of importance.
At the time of the arrival of Hernán Cortés Cholula was part of the Aztec empire and was second only to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City) as the largest city in central Mexico, possibly with a population of up to 100,000 people. In addition to the great temple of Quetzalcoatl and various palaces, the city had 365 temples.
The 1519 Cholula Massacre.
A few years later Cortes vowed that the city would be rebuilt with a Christian church to replace each of the old pagan temples; less than 50 new churches were actually built, but the Spanish colonial churches are unusually numerous for a city of its size.
In the Spanish Colonial era Cholula was overtaken in importance by the nearby city of Puebla.