Mexico’s Vibrant Container City
When most Westerners hear the word “Cholula” they probably think of hot sauce. It is, after all, one of Mexico’s finest food exports. The famous hot sauce was named after the ancient city of Cholula, which is Mexico’s oldest inhabited city, the former center of the Aztec empire, and the home of the famous pyramid of Cholula – otherwise known as the great temple of Quetzalcoatl, the largest man-made pyramid in the world.
While Cholula hot sauce and Great Pyramid are reasons enough to visit Cholula, its new container city has become another, more contemporary draw for this city of many attractions. Located just one block from the city’s hip Camino Real, this part of Cholula is made of about 50 brightly colored shipping containers that have been converted into art galleries, cafes, shops, restaurants, and other work and living spaces.
The container city’s developers took 4,500 square meters (48,500 square feet) of space, stacked these train cars into unique formations to create alleys, streets, and courtyards, painted the containers with vivid colors, and then outfitted each container’s interior with bright lighting and hip living and public space. There are several outdoor plazas – some with ping pong tables and other that host art and music events.
Like a sustainable and contemporary version of Argentina’s La Boca, this eco-friendly community has become quite the tourist attraction and opens to the public Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cholula, which in pre-Columbian Nahuatl means “the place of retreat” takes on a whole new meaning when considering the juxtaposition of this trendy new container city with the ancient pyramid a few blocks away. Cholula certainly provides a little bit of everything for every type of traveler. YB