Visit the Past
An hour from Veracruz along the coast road stands the significant archaeological site of Las Ruinas de Zempoala (The Ruins of Zempoala), the last capital of the Totonacs. Cortés and his men made their first contact with the natives here. Covering two square miles, Zempoala consists of ten groups of buildings, including the thirty-six-foot-high Templo Mayor or Temple of the Thirteen Steps, the Templo de la Chimineas (Temple of the Chimneys), a six-story structure with a broad staircase and the remains of six columns, the Templo de la Dios Viento (Temple of the Wind God), a circular pyramid with ramps in front, and the Gran Pirámide (Great Pyramid), a later structure of superimposed platforms. A three-story structure of cement and boulders, Templo de las Caritas (Temple of the Little Faces), has niches once filled with small carved faces. Don't miss the small museum at the entrance.