Puebla: A City of Contrasts
The city of Puebla — capital of the Mexican state bearing the same name — is located in the foothills of the Sierra Madre range about 60 miles from Mexico City. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1987, Puebla is a showcase for 17th- and 18th-century European art and architecture. Puebla also is well known for its handicrafts made from glass and onyx, textiles and cuisine. Be sure to look for Talavera tiles — decorative ceramics that trace their origins back to the artisans of the Spanish colonial period.
Mountain ranges and volcanoes dominate Puebla's landscape. Popocatepetl is an active volcano that rises 17,883 feet above the city. With an elevation of 7,091 feet above sea level, Puebla enjoys moderate, spring-like weather year round. Volunteers should be aware that the elevation may cause some discomfort or affect their health.
The population of Puebla is 1.4 million, making it the fourth largest city in Mexico. Founded over 450 years ago by Spanish colonists, Puebla is now a modern industrial center. Although some of Puebla's residents have prospered under the vibrant economy, many still lack basic necessities including a decent place to live.