Malinalco is a tiny village located 115 kilometers southwest of Mexico City in the State of Mexico. It homes the second most visited shrine in Mexico, exquisite colonial architecture and breath-taking pre-Columbian ruins. The village is surrounded by cliffs, its houses are mostly made of adobe decorated with red roofs and the streets are paved with cobblestones. The village is heavily associated with magic and sorcery due to a legend behind it that says that Huitzilopochtl, a god, abandoned his sister, Malinalxochitl, in the middle of the forest, due to her witchcraft practices and after waking up alone, she united her tribe of followers and settled in a piece of land that now is known as Malinalco.
The area shows influences from many cultures such as Teotihuacan, Toltecs and Aztecs but little to nothing is known about its first inhabitants that are believed to have lived there around the Classic era. It is, however, theorized that the first tribe to live here were the Culhaus, followed by the Matlazincas, the Ocuiltecos and the Otomis before the Aztecs arrived and colonized the area.
Cuauhtinchan Archeological Zone
Malinalco’s archeological zone was discovered in 1933 and is quite possibly the main reason tourists visit the village. The ruins are located on a hill called Cerro de Los ídolos surrounded by pre-Hispanic structures. The main and biggest structure is located at the very top of the hill and it is believed to have been built by the Aztecs.
In order to get to the hill, visitors must climb a rough estimate of four hundred stairs and follow the sings that lead to the site.
The Cuauhcalli is the main building and it was carved out of the hill. This building was used as a sanctuary for warriors and rites of initiation. The entrance depicts the open jaws of a snake with its tongue painted red.
Buses from Mexico City leave quite frequently towards Malinalco from Observatorio terminal