The Must-See Mural in Tlaxcala’s Capital City

 Displayed in Tlaxcala’s City Hall is one of the most important art works of the artistic movement that began to consolidate 100 years ago and that distinguished the country worldwide: the Mexican muralism.

Under the name of The history of Tlaxcala and its contribution to the Mexican art through time, this piece is unique not only for its large dimensions, with more than 4,800 square feet of walls, from the ground floor and into the stairwell, leading to the second floor of the City Hall; but in itself is an individual feat of the master Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin, who from 1956 to 2001 painted most of the scenes that capture the history of a territory considered the cradle of miscegenation in Mexico: Tlaxcala.

Currently, the municipality promotes that visitors enjoy the magnificence of this work without restrictions, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, including holidays. The Tlaxcaltecan capital is 1.4 hours from Mexico City and half an hour from Puebla.

There is increasing international recognition of this mural whose technique is the same used by prestigious Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, al fresco. This technique consists in applying wet plaster on the walls to which master Desiderio afterwards applied natural materials, such as minerals, nopal slime, portland cement, but he was also able to use acrylic paints, which according to the tour guide expert in this work, Leopoldo Gamboa, “This combinations permitted him to make compositions that endowed with greater vivid color and at the same time greater resistance.”

Hernández Xochitiotzin, born in Tlacatecpac, Tlaxcala, in 1922, lived with Gerardo Murillo since he was 19 years old. Murillo, better known as Doctor Atl, founded the muralist movement in Mexico at the time of José Vasconcelos, Minister of Education that promoted artists in post-revolutionary times.

A pupil of Dr. Atl and fellow student of Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera, the young Desiderio was able to make compositions in the likeness of his teacher: grinding minerals suitable for the weather conditions in Tlaxcala, whose environment makes oil painting and materials derived from plants and animals very difficult to preserve.

Engravings, paintings, and reproductions of his murals have been exhibited in important forums such as the Vatican Museum, Universities like La Sorbona in Paris, Stockholm, and Harvard, and most recently at Los Pinos Cultural Complex, in Mexico City.

Characteristics of “The history of Tlaxcala” Mural

Unlike the works of Rivera, Orozco and Alfaro Siqueiros, the frescos by Desiderio Hernández did not intend to show ideological content, but instead represent a journey through what he called Tlaxcaltequity, states guide Leo Gamboa.

“More than a history lesson, it is a didactic work, which has its small interpretative percentage, yes, but also teaches people who were some of the historical figures, deities, and symbols, with 70 percent of Tlaxcaltecan history and 30 percent of national history. It is not like a textbook, but it is a very accessible work, an iconographic and didactic discourse,” says Don Leo.

Due to its magnitude, the work is usually seen in fragments. Some studies divide it into 24 segments, others prefer to do it in four large blocks: the pre-Hispanic Tlaxcala; the conquest; the Tlaxcaltecan Golden Age, and from the Age of Enlightenment to Porfirismo in Tlaxcala and Mexico. However, Don Leo, as the author Desiderio himself liked to do, suggests that it be simply divided in two: the ground floor, which includes the pre-Hispanic era from the beginning of the migration of the Tlaxcaltecans until before the arrival of the Spaniards, and a second one that begins in the stairwell, which recounts the arrival of the Europeans up to the Porfirian period.

The mural dazzles with thousands of details, the deep historical research made by master Desiderio to portray the customs, cosmogony and events that happened in pre-Hispanic life, the alliance between the Spanish and the Tlaxcaltecan lordships in their war against the Mexica empire, the great tianguis from Ocotelulco, the images of La Llorona, Hernán Cortés and Doña Marina, the warlord Xicohténcatl and the outstanding Tlahuicole plus other warriors with plumes and shields, the god of war Camaxtli, the use of corn and maguey, the arrival of Quetzalcóatl, the presence of the Catholic clergy, documents of Independence.

“An artist who does not arouse controversy remains anonymous,” says Don Leo after 15 years of guiding and listening to the observations that national and foreign tourists, visual arts experts and student groups make about the content of this great mural.

“There are several segments that arouse controversy, one of the walls that attracts the most attention is where it is shown how the Tlaxcaltecans are considered the colonizers of the entire north of the Mexican Republic, for example,” says the guide, “so it is a work that awakens consciences, but also disagreements. This work fulfilled and continues to fulfill its mission.”

Thanks to the constant restoration work carried out by the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature, the work preserves its splendor in this 16th century government building.

ENroute Communications
Jorge Rivas



  • Art
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Hispanic & Latino
  • Society
  • Tourism
  • Travel

12 must-see events in London this summer… including Europe’s biggest street party


London comes alive once the weather starts to pick up, and with the sun (mostly) shining and evenings getting longer, there’s a whole summer ahead to enjoy all the city has to offer. From thought-provoking exhibitions to raucous street parties, we round up 12 of the top cultural events not to miss this season.

Explore the creativity of African fashion

The Victoria and Albert Museum has opened its first African fashion exhibition, displaying designs, photographs, and films from 25 of the continent’s 54 countries. The exhibit is divided into two sections, with the first chronicling historical outfits and images from the late 1950s onwards, while the second spotlights the new generation of designers and fashion photographers working in Africa today. 

Brush up on queer history at the UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum

Queer Britain, the UK’s only permanent LGBTQ+ history museum, opened its doors this spring after four years of planning. The free museum in Granary Square includes four gallery spaces and will host its first exhibition We Are Queer Britain, from July 20, marking 50 years since London’s earliest Pride march. 

Delight in a daytime light show

Festive light installations are an annual Instagram favorite, but now you can experience sparkling trails in the summer with Canary Wharf’s free festival of art. Summer Lights features 17 outdoor installations rendered in colorful transparent glass, reflective metal, and other materials that play with natural light.

Welcome Dippy home

Having concluded his four-year nationwide tour, the Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus cast is back in London. Visitors can admire the 26m skeleton replica, along with reflections on the changing state of nature and biodiversity from Dippy’s UK tour, for free until the year’s end.

Take a herbology lesson in Professor Sprout’s greenhouse 

The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a must-see for Harry Potter fans, and this summer brings an exciting addition: Professor Sprout’s greenhouse, where Hogwarts pupils studied herbology with the no-nonsense head of Hufflepuff House. An interactive display allows visitors to pull out a potted mandrake and admire exotic plants, including the Venomous Tentacula hanging from the ceiling.

Grab tickets for the Queen of Dragons’ West End debut

The West End boasts no shortage of starry talent, and one of the year’s most anticipated productions is Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre. After cutting its 2020 run short due to Covid-19, Jamie Lloyd directs Game of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke in a modernized adaptation of the classic play.

Get inspired by London ballroom culture

From August 1, the courtyard of Somerset House will play host to The Bright Land, a festival created by artists Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl. A 35m observation wheel will offer stunning views over the Thames. At the same time, weekends will see a selection of curated street parties, including weekly open-air vogue balls showcasing the best dance, fashion, and music of the city’s ballroom scene.

Top tips for first time visitors to London

Take a moment to reflect in a sleek pavilion

Each summer, the Serpentine Gallery commissions an internationally known architect to design its pavilion in Hyde Park, with free entry from June to October. This year, the Serpentine selected its first non-architect, Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, who has created an imposing, cylindrical 10m structure called the Black Chapel, inspired by traditional kilns found in England’s Stoke-on-Trent and the western US.

Catch an open-air screening in a striking setting

Many London locations tempt fate with outdoor cinemas each summer, but our pick is the Barbican’s series. From August 23-28, guests can enjoy the iconic concert film Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii, Studio Ghibli’s animated fantasy Princess Mononoke and dreamlike multigenerational drama Daughters of the Dust against the stark Brutalist backdrop of the Sculpture Court.

Pump up the volume with top musical acts

Festival season is well underway in the city, and the best of them is in Victoria Park, where All Points East is staging six days of live music. This year’s headliners are Gorillaz (August 19), Tame Impala (August 25), The National (August 26), Disclosure (August 27), and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (August 28), plus a Field Day takeover featuring The Chemical Brothers and Kraftwerk (August 20). 

Experience Europe’s biggest street party

Following a two-year hiatus, Notting Hill Carnival returns to the capital over the August bank holiday weekend. The festival celebrates the rich history of Caribbean culture in the UK and will see a vibrant parade of floats, trucks, and glittering costumed performers making their way through west London — with delicious food stalls and earth-shaking sound systems along the route.

Immerse yourself in outdoor arts

Close out the summer at the free Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, which brings together an array of theatre, art, dance, and circus performances from August 26 to September 11. Highlights include a 9.7m rotating zoetrope called Charon, originally created for Burning Man; the Royal Ballet’s production of Sleepwalker with differently-abled dancer Joe Powell-Main; and a wave of rainbow-colored foam by Stephanie Luning.