The view that adorns the world’s largest city – Mexico City – is enhanced by the majesty of two of the highest volcanoes in the hemisphere: Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl. The presence of these enormous millenary volcanoes has been of great significance to the different societies that have admired and revered them. They have been a source of inspiration for the many legends about their origin and creation.

Among these folktales, the best known legend of the two volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl is the following.

Thousands of years ago, when the Aztec Empire dominated the Valley of Mexico, it was common practice to subject neighboring towns and to require a mandatory tax. It was then that the chief of the Tlaxcaltecas, bitter enemies of the Aztecs, weary of this terrible oppression, decided to fight for his people’s freedom.

The chief had a daughter named Iztaccihuatl: the most beautiful of all the princesses, who had professed her love for young Popocatepetl, one of her father’s people and the most handsome warrior. Both professed a deep love for each other, so before leaving for war, Popocatepetl asked the chief for the hand of Princess Iztaccihuatl.

The father gladly agreed and promised to welcome him back with a big celebration to give him his daughter’s hand if he returned victorious from the battle.

The brave warrior accepted and left keeping in his heart the promise that the princess would be waiting for him to get married.

Soon afterward a  rival of Popocatepetl, jealous of the love they professed to each other, told Princess Iztaccihuatl that her beloved had died in combat.   

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