The Great Pyramid of Cholula, in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico
© mauritius images GmbH/Alam
What’s hidden beneath this church?. The birthplace of Cinco de Mayo
The church we see on this grassy hill was built after Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez and his army conquered Cholula, in present-day Mexico, in October 1519. The Spanish ravaged the holy city that day, murdering 10% of its population and burning down the many pyramids that dotted the area. But just underneath this church, buried for centuries, lay an ancient secret never discovered by the Spanish. It’s the largest pyramid in the world, the Great Pyramid of Cholula, so big that its enormous base would span several Olympic-sized swimming pools - four times the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
It’s apt then, that we visit this holy area on Cinco de Mayo, an annual celebration to mark the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire. Just 20 miles away near the city of Puebla, on 5 May 1862, the Mexicans battled against French invaders. By some miracle, the vastly outnumbered Mexicans won the Battle of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican-American culture and is very popular in the USA, particularly in California where the festivities began.