Malinalco Archaeological Site

Malinalco Archaeological Site


Location: 70 km (43 mi) Southeast of Toluca, Mexico state  Map

Open: Tue- Sun


Malinalco (from Tlahuica: Ñumxu) is a Mexican town in the state of Mexico, it is the head of the municipality of the same name located south of the city of Toluca de Lerdo and 52 km from the city of Cuernavaca. In terms of travel time it is located one hour from Mexico City starting from the Mexico - Toluca booth via La Marquesa. This municipality is also a magical town of the State of Mexico.

It was first an important settlement of the Matlazinca people, later dominated by the Mexica. It is one of the smallest municipalities in Mexico and its municipal seat bears the same name.

In the history of Mexico, its importance and its fame are due to the fact that two centers of religious historical interest are located in it: first, because at its head there is a unique Mexica shrine carved in the stone of the hill, and which is a spectacular example of the Mexican ritual architecture of Chalma.

Currently it serves as a human settlement dedicated to agriculture and tourism, due to its tropical climate and its historical monuments it is a town that attracts visitors all year round, but also people who have rest houses come to the place during the weekends.



The name Malinalco derives from the Nahuatl noun Malinalli, which refers to a plant typical of the ancient region of Telcaxtepec. In turn, the current name Malinalco refers to the woman who several centuries ago came to settle on the craggy hill after being abandoned by her brother. Malinalxóchitl, by which this place has as meaning "Flower of the zacate del carbonero”.

In the Malinalco region you can find this plant which has a hard, rough and fibrous texture, when this plant is used in a fresh way, it can be used for the manufacture of coal sacks and the ropes that secure them. The Malinalli plant has remote antecedents, these are related to ritual practices.



The Malinalco Valley borders to the northwest with the Sierra de Ocuilan, to the west is located a mountain range known as the Matlalac summit that separates the Malinalco valley with the Tenancingo valley; on the wall of this summit the Cerro de los Ídolos was built. To the south it borders the Cerro Grande and other mountain formations.

Malinalco is located at an average altitude of 1,000 m a.s.l., the climate is warm subhumid with abundant rains (1,200 - 1,500 mm. annually). The average annual temperature ranges from 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. The most common soils are of the haplic Feosem type, associated with Andool humble and molico, which are characterized by their low impermeability. The geological formation consists of extrusive igneous rocks such as basalt, tuff and volcanic breccia. In the south of the valley there is a limestone formation where erosive agents have caused the formation of caves that served as a refuge for groups of hunter-gatherers. The vegetation is low deciduous forest in the plain and pine-oak forest in the part of the sierra. ("General History of the State of Mexico" 98).

The Malinalco region is an optimal space for agriculture thanks to the abundance of water from springs and rivers, as well as the alluvial soils rich in organic matter.

One of the most important rivers is the Chalma River, which runs from Ocuilan and irrigates the entire southern part of the valley. The San Miguel or Malinalco River is also one of the most important which begins its journey at the foot of the Matlalac summit. The Colapa River runs from the southwest of the valley and has a much smaller channel than the previous ones. This river runs along a deep path so, only with current technology can water be extracted for agricultural purposes. To the south of the valley is a place known as the Union of the rivers where the three mentioned rivers join crossing the mountain range that divides the State of Mexico with the valley of Morelos.



It is in the early postclassic period and the beginning of the late one when the first settlers were recorded in this place. Before it was occupied by a Culhua group headed by Cuauhtepexpetlatzin, it had already been populated with people of Matlazinca roots, who settled both in that valley and in part of the Tarasca area of Michoacán, and perhaps by the Ocuiltecs; it is even believed that their speech already existed since the year 600 AD.

The Matlazincas had three types of populations: ceremonial, such as Calixtlahuaca and Malinalco; political, such as Toluca, where the political-administrative authorities resided; and civil, which included the headwaters, villages and rancherías.

The temples of Malinalco were built after the conquest of the Matlatzincas by the Mexica in 1476, under the reign of Axayácatl. Around 1486-1490, Ahuízotl ordered the stonemasons of Tenochtitlan to build the site, for which forced labor was mainly used. When the Spaniards arrived in Malinalco, the siege had not yet been completed. The army of Cortés interrupted the work and the stones were later used by the Augustinian friars to build the convent of the town of Malinalco.​

During the Spanish conquest Malinalco rebelled so Andrés de Tapia had the task of making them surrender together with the people of Ocuilan (after the sad night). The newly pacified land was organized into encomiendas so in Malinalco the first ones were granted to Cristóbal Rodríguez de Ávalos and to the Crown. It was Cristóbal Rodríguez who influenced the evangelizing task and supported the construction of the convent.

Malinalco was evangelized by Franciscans and Dominicans, finally it was designated to the Augustinians in 1533.

It was in Malinalco where José María Morelos y Pavón had his stay on January 8, 1813; in this town he signed a document which "orders that a letter from the ecclesiastical chapter in which he asked for donations to help in the peninsular war against the French be returned to Mexico".

Fulfilling the requirements, its city council was ratified by the Governor Melchor Múzquiz, as recorded in the Memory of February 15, 1826; of this the date of erection of the municipality of Malinalco corresponds to January 1.

After the Reform War the reactionary chiefs and Gavillas continued fighting during the first months of 1861; as a refuge they had the mountains of Ocuilan and Malinalco.

With the application of the Reform laws, the buildings, ecclesiastical properties and others passed into the hands of the state, so in Malinalco the Augustinian convents continued to function to the community, but their owner was now the state.

During the Revolution, Malinalco's proximity to the state of Morelos made him a participant in the revolutionary attacks and he joined the Zapatista side. When the forces of Emiliano Zapata stormed the area, on April 10, 1912 the people of Malinalco placed themselves under the orders of Major General Genovevo of the O. During the period of Victoriano Huerta, Malinalco remained loyal to the Zapatista forces.

Under Decree number 128, being interim governor of the state, Antonio Zimbrón clarifies that Chalma belongs to the municipality of OCUILAN and was erected as a village.

Due to the belonging of its inhabitants, its tourist and hotel infrastructure, its impressive archaeological zone and its sixteenth-century convent, Malinalco was declared a Magical Town in 2010 by the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur).


The first settlers

In Malinalco there is a site that could be granted a temporality of 3000 BC. It is located in a cave known as Chiquihuitero. There we can find crude instruments, carved flint scraps and obsidian, as well as grinding instruments in basalt.

There are paintings, apparently pre-Hispanic, near the municipal seat of Malinalco. It is difficult to locate them at a certain time, but it is thought that they were made by hunter-gatherers of an early stage. These were made on rocky walls on the hills around the area and in some other parts of the valley.

Two groups of paintings were differentiated: group 1, in the north of the Hill of the Idols; stylized anthropomorphic motifs (includes the painting known as ”The Coyote"). The second group located in the eastern part of the valley, consists of anthropomorphic motifs, which appear to dance, in various positions (painting “The Little Devils”). More examples have been found on the sides of the Matlatac summit, but they are not in good condition since their motives have been destroyed (for being associated with practices contrary to the Christian religion).


The Presence of Teotihuacan in Malinalco

Teotihuacán formed a multicultural predominance composed of groups from different regions of Mesoamerica (Oaxaca, Mayan area, Huasteca area, etc.).

The expansion of Teotihuacán was a gradual process to which adjacent areas such as the Toluca Valley, the Poblano-Tlaxcalteca region, Hidalgo, Morelos and finally other more distant regions of Mesoamerica were incorporated.

24 sites with Teotihuacan ceramics have been found in Malinalco, which confirms the interest of Teotihuacan in the valley as an access to tierra caliente (Guerrero and Morelos). The sites of this time are distributed differently than in other regions of the Central Highlands in general. These settlements are located in the hills (of the 24 sites, 13 are located in this area).

It seems that the most important housing settlements are those known as Acomulco and Acatonalco; they do not have monumental architecture, however, they have a considerable extension. Both sites are located in the most fertile area of the valley, the south zone.

"It is strange that, although there is evidence of a relationship with Teotihuacan, no sites with architectural elements representative of the great city have been discovered.” (“General History of the State of Mexico” 108). The Teotihuacan influences are observed only in remains of vessels. The relationship with Teotihuacán was not close, which suggests that the interest was to find an access route to Guerrero. Most of the elements found belong to the phase called Metepec, the last cultural phase of the Classic and does not coincide with the heyday of Teotihuacán.

There were no centers of hierarchies, but scattered housing sites, which suggests that the region obeyed the development of the Central Highlands. 


Florida War

The people of the Mexica god Huitzilopochtli were the people chosen by the Sun. This was the task of supplying the sun with its food, which is why for Huitzilopochtli, war is a cult performance and an obligatory activity. The above said, led him to create the Xochiyaoyotl, better known as the Florida war, which unlike the other wars had as its main objective to obtain prisoners for sacrifices to the Sun.

The prisoner is a human being belonging to the people who is chosen by the Sun, who is his servant and must become a warrior who from his birth is prepared for the sacred war (combat in which the Tlaxcaltecs attended, enemy of the warriors).

The Xochiyaoyotl was agreed between the peoples of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan, a war from its origins oriented against the people of Tlaxcala, in which Cholula and Huejotzinco participated. Malinalco was not indifferent to this celebration, since the presence of a temalácatl in the temple belonged to the Cuauhtli-Ocelotl, and was used as the venue for this event. Said event, gave as proof that the cuāuhpipiltin or eagle warriors and the jaguar warriors or ocēlōpipiltin, were a fundamental part of the Xochiyayotl, since they provided prisoners for these to fight on the temalácatl, which provided them with the opportunity to become messengers of the Sun.8​


Eagle Warriors

The eagle warriors were the elite of the Mexica armies, the most loved and respected, esteemed by the rulers or Tlatoanis. They were warriors of the Mexica nobility who had the most privileges and the maximum exemptions. These warriors were the ones whom the Tlatoanis groomed with weapons and currency, which were elegant and ostentatious. No court martial was carried out without their consent, that is, the orders they provided and exercised did not contradict each other and were accepted by the Tlatoanis.

The master and lord of the eagle warriors was the Sun, for which they honored and cared for the solar temple with the deserved respect. Finally, the Sun decided to name the eagle warriors as knights of his order. These knights provided signs to the kings, which served as tasks that exalted their greatness. His military counterpart were the commoner jaguar warriors but no less dexterous and brave.


Sacrifice to the Sun

The residents were known by the nickname of Malinaltecatl, which is located near Tecolhuacan, which is known as a solar village that performed human sacrifice as its main activity.

In the toponym of Malinalco, there are some stellar eyes, these eyes give as a reference to the prisoners who were sacrificed in the téchcatl (stone that was used in sacrifices) to be offered to the Sun, these prisoners when sacrificed become star men who fed the Sun with their lives.


Twentieth century

General Emiliano Zapata visited the town of Malinalco on some occasions, being quartered and protected by the inhabitants when he was in the town, some issues of agrarian distribution and the strategic possession of Malinalco within the revolutionary movement were discussed there. Many members of the Revolutionary Army of the South were civilians from Malinalco.


Viceregal architecture of Malinalco

The town of Malinalco has 8 main neighborhoods each with its chapel, in the center is the Malinalco convent founded in the sixteenth century by Augustinian friars, on whose walls and vaults are paintings depicting the flora and fauna of the municipality with a pre-Hispanic vision.


Ornamentation of the time

In the archaeological zone of Cuahutinchan there is the Cuahucali ceremonial center, a unique work carved in one-piece volcanic stone that is reached by climbing 423 steps. Considered a military elite enclosure, the combatants who sought to graduate as eagle warrior and jaguar warrior, the highest ranks granted to the rulers or leaders of the Aztec armies, went there: from the facade and the interior, ornaments in the form of a snake, jaguar and eagle, symbols of this culture, can be appreciated.


Architecture of the sixteenth century

Malinalco is a small town in the south of the State of Mexico, it is located 11 kilometers from Chalma and I quote this place because it is known by most Mexicans for being one of the most important pilgrimage centers in the country, to visit and offer the black Christ that is venerated there.

In the center of the municipal seat of Malinalco the Augustinian convent of the xvi century stands majestically, a fundamental place to achieve the evangelizing process in that area that mattered especially since, in front of this construction, on the top of a hill, one of the sacrificial and sanctified spaces of pre-Hispanic Mexico that I will deal with in a second part of this text about Malinalco is located.


Historical monuments of Malinalco

As for the pre-Hispanic era, the Department of Monuments: currently, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, commissioned an archaeologist, to be in charge of the exploration work of the site, on March 23, 1936. Three constructions are mentioned in the so-called "Hill of the Idols"; in addition to the monuments of this, 35 other sites of archaeological vestiges have been located and studied in the municipality: Matlalac, Rincón de Techimalco, Rincón de San Miguel, Cerro Orquemel, Santa María Malinalco or Rincón del Pozo, Tozquihua, Cerro Ciriaco, Tlamantlán, Rincón del Cementerio, Potrerillo, Los Diablitos, Escuela Miguel Hidalgo, La Soledad and others.

From the colonial era, we have the convent and church of the Divine Savior in Malinalco; the chapel of Santa Monica in the municipal seat; the chapels of San Nicolás Tolentino and Jesús María in the present-day town of San Nicolás; the chapels total eleven; the hacienda of Jalmolonga, the most important in the region of the current municipality of Malinalco and the church of the "Señor de Chalma".

In Malinalco there is also a special place for those who like religious architecture, the Convent of San Agustín, founded in 1540 by Augustinian friars and in whose construction indigenous people worked. All with the financial support of the encomendero Cristóbal Rodríguez de Ávalos. The ground floor of the convent building and the church were built at the same time, being completed in 1560. While the upper cloister was added approximately in 1580. The Flemish painter Simón Pereyns worked on the installation of the boxes.

With a Renaissance-style facade known as Plateresque, where angels' heads stand out, rose windows and shells attached to the bases of pilasters or to the friezes. Three pictorial programs can be observed in the convent: the first is an extension of orchards and gardens, the second in Renaissance style and finally the Christological message with images of the passion. In the frescoes of the convent you can see three medallions with the symbols of Jesus Christ, Mary Queen of Heaven and the Augustinian emblem. In these frescoes it is possible to identify the indigenous flora and fauna of the time, native specimens of which some still grow in the ecological zone of Malinalco.


Hill of the Idols

Located in the municipal seat, the Cerro de los Ídolos, with its impressive monolithic architecture, is one of the few examples of this type of architecture in America. It was built without the use of the wheel or metal tools with no apparent technical flaws. ("General History of the State of Mexico”)

The first explorations were carried out in 1925 and in 1905 the first description of the place was made by Bishop Plancarte y Navarrete who opined that it was a temple dedicated to the god of fire, Xiuhtecuhtli.

"The Archaeological Zone of Cuauhtinchán is located in the "Cerro De Los Ídolos", the area was discovered in 1933. The main temple Cuauhcalli is one of the most famous in the world for its monolithic character. It has been carved entirely in the rock with a large round space at the top, where the orders of the Eagle and Jaguar Warriors met to witness the sacrifice of a prisoner warrior, who would become the messenger of the sun."​ The entrance to this space is sculpted in the form of a snake's head that symbolically represents the underworld. Inside there are impressive sculptures of two eagles and an outstretched jaguar beautifully carved into the same rock. Behind one of the eagles is a cuauhxicalli or sacred vessel where the hearts of the sacrificed were placed. The orientation of the temple is the result of precise astronomical calculations where impressive light phenomena can be appreciated.


Archaeological zone

The archaeological zone of Malinalco was where the eagle warriors and the ocelot warriors graduated: in it we find the most important structure called cauhcalli which means house of the eagles, it is a stone monolith carved on the very rock of the mountain this structure is divided into 3 planes of the underworld universe, the earthly world and the overworld.

The warrior had to perform a 46-day fast so that when he entered the enclosure he could make his self-sacrifice he had to overcome the Neol Yaolt which means warrior of himself in order to serve his people.

In it we find a door where you can see the jaws of a snake that is related to Quetzalcoatl the feathered snake there is a mat that is a bifid tongue where the warrior was devoured when entering the temple that represented Mother earth to be reborn again, you can see 2 eagles with open wings and an ocelot that are only the skins there the priests sat to present the self-sacrifice of the war which lay on an eagle in the center that has the wings folded and the self-sacrifice consisted of piercing the limbs it could be with eagle claw maguey tip or obsidian tip this blood was put in the sacred vessel and was offered to the god Ometeotl (the god who can do everything and transforms everything, the god of duality): if the warrior came out alive he could take the appointment that he wanted and he could be the eagle warrior that represents the wind or the ocelot warrior that represents the earth.

The temple was polychrome, that is, it had colors as if they were gold and silver.

There are some other structures:
The cinancalli which is where the warriors who died in battle were cremated.
The teocalli: house of the gods where you could see the course of the weather
El tecali: council house where they agreed when they would go out in battle or when a warrior was ready to start with his training.
The temalacat: where they fought with the captive warriors.

The history of Malinalco is extremely ancient and dates back to pre-Hispanic times having been populated by the Teotihuacan, Toltec, Matlazincla and Aztec cultures. Of these last two cultures, there is still a very important archaeological zone, located on the edge of a 125-meter-high cliff at the top of the Cerro de los Ídolos to the west of the town.

The eagle warriors used to come to this place to perform esoteric rites for their initiation as Aztec warriors. In this archaeological site we can find several buildings, the most outstanding being the "House of the Eagles and the Tigers", a pyramid-temple carved directly on the stone of the mountainside. This space around whose door the mouth of a snake is represented, symbolized for the pre-Hispanic warriors the doors of the Mictlan or underworld, where after entering and performing a whole series of magical ceremonies and rituals, they returned to the world of the living turned into the legendary eagle warriors of the Mexica armies.

The archaeological wealth of Malinalco is abundant and for some reason it has become one of the most important pre-Hispanic sites in the Mexican territory. One of the factors that have helped the consolidation of Malinalco on the Mexican tourist map, refers to the easy access it offers to visitors. The road infrastructure and tourist services that Malinalco and its surroundings have, make it very easy to visit this magical corner of the State of Mexico Toluca.



"The entrance to the site is located a few blocks from the town's zocalo, going up towards the mountain."

"You enter the site through the main temple and its terrace, which is 100m above the valley floor. Building 6, located on the right, was going to be a circular temple but it was never finished. On the left is Structure 1, completely carved out of the natural rock and around which there are drains to protect it from the rain. The central staircase of this structure is flanked by sculptures of two jaguars, and there is one more in the center. The main temple, which is located at the end of the staircase, also has other sculptures, including that of a warrior sitting on a snake."

"At the entrance you can see the jaws of a snake, which represent the monster of the earth. Through there you pass to a circular chamber surrounded by a stone bench in which there are three figures: a jaguar and two eagles. In the center of the floor is an eagle carved in front of a hole in which offerings were placed. It is assumed that the place was completely painted with vivid colors."

"Opposite the main temple is Structure 2, from which the stones were taken to build the Augustinian convent. To the right of Structure 1 is Structure 3, also carved into the rock. It has a rectangular room with a sunken altar; the walls of this room were decorated with murals. In the back there is a round chamber with another sunken altar. It is believed that this structure was used for the deification of dead warriors."

"In front of Structure 3 is 5, a very deteriorated circular platform. To the left of structure 3 you reach 4, through a staircase and two small doors that at one time were only one. This construction houses another chamber with a sunken altar. Structure 4 is the northern boundary of the site. Also, more structures and drainage channels can be seen on the slopes of the mountains."


Chapel of Solitude

This building is located on Taxco Street, at the end of the head in an area rich in springs and apants. The atrium is fenced and has a semicircular arch by access. Its cover is divided into two bodies, the first presents the entrance door framed by an arch of half and point and this in turn framed by an arch of rectangular shape, decorated with plant motifs. The second body houses the oval-shaped coral window in the center.

In the entrance arch, on the key of the arch, there is a carving of an assumption-coronation made of stone. The top of the facade is formed by a mixtilinear frame. The bell tower, located on the north side of the building, consists of the staircase cube, which has a lobed window, and two quadrangular silver bodies, which boast vertical openings terminated in semicircular arches, this construction is crowned with an octagonal base dome. Its floor plan is cross, the interior was recently painted by a local artist, its altarpiece has neoclassical characteristics and inside there are four arches that support the dome and are covered with semicircular barrel vaults, on the pendentives of this are placed grooves. This building has seven windows, three in the nave, one in the portal or facade, two on each side of the nave and four in the dome.


Chapel of San Martín

Located about 500 meters south of the convent on Calle de la Paz, with a traditional east-west orientation. The wide atrium is limited by a stone fence inside which there are recessed carvings that seem to form a letter "M" between a pair of cords that serve as a line. The facade is composed of two bodies ordered from a vertical axis formed by the door and the coral window: the access door is a semicircular arch, flanked by a pair of pilasters between which there is a vegetable carving that extends to the door frame. In this body there is also a carving with data of the butlers who made this facade in the xviii century.

The second body is integrated by the rectangular-shaped coral window framed by two small semi-columns that support a barely hinted arch, the carved motifs are also vegetal. At the top of the facade there is a stone cross.

On one of the door leaves you can see the carving of San Martín Caballero giving half of his mantle to the beggar and on the other leaf you can see a deteriorated character on horseback crushing the head of another creature. Also carved on the doors of the building is the date of 1765 and the name of the butlers and bosses who paid the expenses.


Chapel of Santa Maria

On both sides of the first body there are a couple of characters that could represent the main natives, with a traditional outfit of ancient Mexico and whose origin could be located in the same century of the conquest. This settlement must have been one of the oldest in the Malinalco Valley. However, the current building was later. The bell tower is located on the north side corresponds to the stylistic characteristics of the seventeenth century, such as the composition of the bases of the pilasters of the openings in the first body, the decoration is based on plant motifs and are also observed in the moldings that divide the lower and upper bodies. The tower is composed of a cube and on this, two bodies and a finial: both bodies are integrated by semicircular arches that house the bells. This construction is crowned with a dome and a lantern. To the south exterior of the facade there are wooden belfry niches that should have contained the bells before the seventeenth-century towers.

The interior of the nave is illuminated by five windows distributed two on each side and one in the choir, as well as eight other smaller windows on each octagonal side of the dome. The pendentives of this one contain painting of the four heroic Jewish prefigurations of the Virgin Mary: Barbara, Judith, Abigail and Ruth.


Chapel of Jesús María

This building is located two kilometers north of the municipal seat. At the foot of the road that goes towards Toluca, its orientation is east-west. It has a large atrium completely fenced which is accessed by its east coast through an arch. Its architectural characteristics place this construction as coming from the last third of the eighteenth century. Its plant is in the form of a cross. Its facade is composed of two bodies and an attic, in the first a semicircular arch frames the entrance door, this one presents in its key the carving of a cross that represents Jesus and under this a letter “M” that is the symbol of Mary. The door is flanked by two pairs of pilasters decorated with plant motifs, between each group of pilasters there is a finally carved niche. In the second body the pilasters are replaced by a pair of attached stipes that house niches, in the center you can see a flared oculus with four large lobes: the attic is occupied by a niche. The facade as a whole is topped by a mixtilinear cornice.

The bell tower is divided into two. First there is the undecorated staircase cube and, above it, the body formed by openings where the bells are housed. The bases of these arches are constituted with solomonic semi-columns, decorated with carvings of plant motifs. Another element worth mentioning is the entablature, this has a representation of the small-faced east side holding a branch with leaves in its mouth. Interesting carvings can also be distinguished with pelicans poking their chests in a clear Christological allusion that reminds us of the painting located on the staircase rest of the Augustinian convent of San Salvador.

The interior has a neoclassical altarpiece that houses four images, on the right side, San José, the Most Pure Conception, the Crucifixion and a wooden cross, on the side wall there is a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe.


St. Peter's Chapel

It has two entrances, one to the east and the other to the north, with a fence that surrounds it. At the north entrance you could see a figure that looks like the head of a jaguar, embedded in the wall of the atrium in which there are flowers and geometric figures that are found in other chapels.

It has a simple facade, without decoration with a vertical axis formed by the entrance door in the form of a semicircular arch and the rectangular coral window; the north wall has three buttresses that reinforce it, on the opposite wall where the sacristy is located (there is only one).

This chapel, like the others, was built for periods, so the first foundation was made of perishable materials that would give way to the strongest construction, such as the buttresses belonging to the seventeenth century. The bell tower is composed of two bodies and a dome, first there is the cube of the stairs that is the height of the chapel, the first body is composed of semicircular openings that house the bells, the last one is octagonal in shape and serves as the base for the dome.


Chapel of San Juan

It is located to the north of the Convent of San Agustín, with an east-west orientation, currently the building is surrounded by houses and behind it passes through a small temporary water stream.

Its atrium has a fence over the four ends and the entrance is framed by two arches: one to the east and one to the north, also in the atrium you can see tombstones from the first half of the century.

The composition of the facade starts from a vertical axis in which the door in the form of a semicircular arch, the coral window, the cornice and the finial are located. Flanking the entrance were two carved plaques depicting St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. These two statues represent the two saints who announce the first and second coming of Christ.

The tower located to the north of the complex consists of a cube and two bodies where openings containing the bells were built and is finished in a bell-shaped way. The body is a single rectangular space divided into three: choir, nave and chancel. The wooden door of the chapel has the carving of both invocations of St. John.

This chapel has two invocations: first there is St. John the Baptist, who preached the coming of the Messiah and died beheaded by order of Herod Antipas. This saint was one of the favorites by evangelizers and indigenous people during the sixteenth century for his characteristic of imparting baptism. The second is St. John the Evangelist, considered the author of one of the gospels and the Book of Revelation.


St. Andrew's Chapel

It is located two blocks from the Chapel of Solitude and also very close to the one dedicated to San Pedro. Its orientation is the traditional east-west, the space of its atrium is fenced. Undoubtedly, this chapel has one of the most modest constructions.

Its almost quadrangular plan supports a simple gable tile roof. The north wall is reinforced by two buttresses. The composition of the facade is made on a vertical axis that aligns the door and the coral window, which is closed and now became a niche. Its door is a semicircular arch supported by a pair of pilasters that give it a classic character.

Not having towers the building seems smaller than the other chapels. His campaigns are supported on stone supports and beams. The floor of the building is divided into choir, parishioner and presbytery, like the other chapels. Its interior of high walls and gabled tile roof, barely has a window on the north side, a feature that limits the internal luminosity


Chapel of Santa Monica

Unlike most of the chapels, this one faces west-east facing the Augustinian convent of San Salvador; apparently this location is due to the relationship of paganism to the future bishop of Hippo. Therefore, it is not surprising that this building is located at the foot of the Hill of the Idols - where the ancient citadel and its ceremonial center were located during the Mexica domination of this population-, to which the chapel faces away. The small atrium is surrounded by a simple grille and its main facade consists of three elements, the bell tower, the portal and a buttress. Its facade is inscribed in a lowered semicircular arch and consists of two reduced leathers; the key to the arch contains a small carving of Santa Monica, which appears with open arms and seems to welcome visitors. The second body houses the choral window in a mixtilinear way between the keys of the door there is a figure with four arms, a round face and a smiling expression, which according to the neighbors could represent St. Augustine or also the archangel St. Michael with four wings, who is also venerated in this chapel.

The chapels of the arches house decorated in mortar and plant motifs as anagrams, the construction of this building was carried out in several periods. On the facade there are constructive characteristics of the eighteenth century, for example, the counter fort with a circular floor plan that contains the front door on the north side, the top of the bell tower among others; although surely the original establishment must come from the beginning of the seventeenth century: The bell tower is of a single body on the cube of the scale and is constituted with semicircular arches that form the openings that house the bells. The top of the tower is a circular base dome without ornaments and crowned by a cross.

The bell tower is of a single body the cube of the staircase and is built with semicircular arches that form the openings that house the bells. The top of the towers is a circular base dome without ornaments and crowned by a cross. Inside there is a portrait of neoclassical characteristic of the nineteenth century and you can see images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, San Juan, the Immaculate Conception; on the south side there are images of St. Augustine and one of St. Monica, as well as two recently carved sculptures depicting St. Monica and the other St. Augustine, who carries the model of the chapel in his left hand.


St. William's Chapel

This chapel is located on the corner of Río Grijalva and José María Morelos Streets to the south of the Augustinian Convent of San Salvador retains its traditional east-west orientation. In the entrance arch to the atrium there is a stone carving with the coat of arms of the Augustinians. Its atrium, like other neighborhood chapels were used as a cemetery and today we can still locate tombstones. One of them, for example, dated in 1898. The portal starts from a central axis integrated by the door and coral window thus dividing symmetrically by two empty niches, in the arch key of the door there are traces of an image that has disappeared today, probably of the Patron Saint. The coral window also has a niche on each side, equally, unoccupied.

On the north side there are three buttresses supporting the wall, one in the nave and two in the chancel. A particular feature of this building is that the tower is separated from the rest of the construction. The tower is made up of the staircase cube and two bodies. The cube of the staircase lacks ornaments, the first body has a considerable height and is constituted by four elongated arches that form the openings to house the bells. The second body follows the same logic as the previous one is a small dome crowned by a concrete cross.

The interior of the nave is divided into choir, parishioner and presbytery; the altarpiece presents neoclassical features, where the images of St. William, St. Thomas the apostle, a Crucifixion and the Virgin of Guadalupe are housed. The walls of the resino are white and columns are painted for this purpose yellow and blue colors are used, characteristics that it shares with the chapels of San Andrés, San Martin and the nave of the Augustinian convent of the locality itself.


Chapel of San Sebastián

Located five kilometers north of the headwaters, the orientation of its plant is the traditional east-west. Its facade has the shape of a semicircular arch, and its main characteristic is simplicity, as it has no decoration or carvings. It consists of a central axis that starts from the entrance door to the coral window, the latter of square shape; curiously, in the classroom of the facade there is a clock marking one and forty minutes.

It has a gabled roof with wood and tiles, on the south side the presbytery connects with the sacristy, which was probably added later; however, this addition does not break with the harmony of the constriction. Its silver is rectangular and the exposed stone walls have two buttresses on the west side. The tower is made up of a single body, although primarily the staircase cube rises without any decoration, later four semicircular openings that house the bells are raised. It should be clarified that the height of this body does not far exceed the rest of the building. The tower is topped with a circular dome crowned by a concrete cross, on the fascia of its first arch the legend “March 1941” is read.

The nave of the building is divided into choir, nave and presbytery, as are all the neighborhood chapels. The lighting of the building by a coral window and two more along the body illuminate the nave. Inside there is a neoclassical altarpiece that houses in its niches from left to right St. Helena, St. Sebastian, St. Bartholomew and St. Fabian.

This chapel has as its patron saint saint Saint Sebastian, who according to tradition was born in Narbonne in the year 250 and died in Rome in 288 A.D., this character was an officer of the Praetorian guard and was a Christian convert tinged with arrows. His patronal feast day is on January 20th.



Corn is the base material for the dishes offered by Malinalco, in addition to ingredients from its environment such as fruits and animals such as frogs and iguanas, trout in the Malinalco style, snows of different flavors, in the south an excellent mezcal is produced, and in the north we can find products such as pulque. ​Given its category of magical town, the infrastructure and tourist services are very complete and with a wide range of options, from traditional food, snacks, to international cuisine, pizza and snacks.


The most relevant sites to visit

1.- "Luis Mario Schneider" University Museum: it is a place that could be called as the site museum of Malinalco (although it is not strictly speaking), there you will find a chronological succession of the most important historical facts of Malinalco, amen that shows some of the most important traditions of the place, in its collections it has pieces that account for the passage of the Mexica culture through the place, it has a temporary exhibition hall that offers interesting samples of various, it is especially relevant for people interested in the cultural aspects of Malinalco.

2.- Living Museum: it is a glocal, pleasant and binding space conceived as a conservation capsule and a sense of nature that through an untraditional but scientifically based museum concept encourages the use of the senses to perceive living beings differently and at the same time support their conservation; in essence it is a site that provides experiences built from uncommon biodiversity, its usefulness and the emotions it provokes; it is the only concept of "Living Museum" in Mexico.

3.-House of culture "Malinalxochitl": it is a space under the supervision of the Brother City Council where the cultural activities of the municipality are shown and developed, there you can see temporary exhibitions and observe directly the work of the master craftsmen who give life to the Malinalco handicraft par excellence: wood carving.

4.-University Cultural Center "Luis Mario Schneider": the former residence of Dr. Luis Mario Schneider, today it is a cultural center managed by the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico where Philology studies are carried out and is open to the general public. Dr. Schneider's personal library has more than 17,000 books, mostly of Latin American literature. It is located in the "El Olvido Farm" located on the Malinalco-Chalma s/n road, San Juan neighborhood.

5.- Cuauhtinchan archaeological zone

It is located on the Cerro de los Ídolos, one of the most important sites for the Aztecs, a ceremonial center where the Eagle and Jaguar warriors graduated. To get there, it is enough to walk up its more than 400 steps and thus be able to appreciate this architectural ensemble, which is partly carved on the mother rock of the hill, this characteristic being what makes it the only monolithic temple in the Western world.


Uses and customs

The inhabitants practice ancient ceremonies using hallucinogenic mushrooms as a means of healing, shamans or healers often use them especially in rainy seasons when they are abundant in that area, the youngest children are in charge of collecting such mushrooms because for the ceremonies it is believed that only they and the maidens are so pure so as not to contaminate them and be able to be used as a means of healing, the intake of these species is currently the subject of research in different areas.


Easter in Malinalco

In Malinalco there are several traditions throughout the year, one of these traditions is the representation of Holy Week, which together with the support of the pastors of the Augustinian ex-convent is carried out. It all starts with the blessing and procession of the branches, this emotional procession takes place in one of the 8 chapels of the village towards the former Augustinian convent, men carry a large wooden walk where figures of the 12 apostles and the figure of Jesus are placed on this table, people accompany with palm branches.



The most important are:
Our Lady of Candlemas (February 2nd)
Holy Week (March-April)
San Juan (June 24)
Divine Savior (August 6)
Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15)
Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15)
Virgin of Guadalupe (December 12)