Tlaxcala's most famous site isn't in the town at all. At the nearby archaeological site of Cacaxtla you'll see some of Mexico's most vividly colored murals. Accidentally discovered in 1975, the main temple at Cacaxtla contains breathtaking scenes of a surprisingly vicious battle between two bands of warriors. The nearly life-size figures wearing jaguar skins clearly have the upper hand against their foes in lofty feathered headdresses.
The site, dating from AD 650 to AD 900, is thought to be the work of the Olmeca-Xicalanca people. Other paintings adorn smaller structures. The newly restored Templo Rojo, or Red Temple, is decorated with stalks of corn with cartoonlike human faces. Perhaps the most delightful is in the Templo de Venus, or Temple of Venus, where two figures are dancing in the moonlight, their bodies a striking blue.
On a hill about 1½ km (1 mile) north of Cacaxtla is the site of Xochitécatl, with four Classic Period pyramids. You can see both sites with the same admission ticket. Head south from Mexico City toward Puebla on Carretera Federal 119. Veer off to the right toward the town of Nativitas. Both sites are near the village of San Miguel del Milagro.