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The Legend of Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl A Love Story

As for the coward, Tlaxcala,who lied to Iztaccihuatl, overcome with repentance for the tragedy that ensued, he went off to die very near his land.  He also became a mountain, Pico de Orizaba, another of the region’s volcanoes and now, from afar, watches the eternal dream of the two lovers, never again to be separated.

This legend has been passed on from generation to generation since the time of the Aztec Empire, in the XIV century, and the importance given to them is clear, for the names that they have today were given to them since that time.


Picture by Jakub Hejtmánek

Picture by Jakub Hejtmánek

Reference Information:

Popocatepetl derives its name from the Nahuatl word  popoa , which means  smoke  and the noun  tepetl , meaning  hill ; so its name literally means,  hill that smokes , because from that time, its characteristic fumaroles already emanated from it.

Popularly, it’s known as  El Popo , although the populations living on its slopes know it by the affectionate nickname of  Don Goyo .

Iztaccihuatl, the other volcano, derives its name from the Nahuatl word  iztac  which means white  and  ciahuatl  which is interpreted as  woman , so that its name translates as  White Woman.

Today, it is best known as the Sleeping Woman because of its distinctive profile, resembling a woman lying with her face turned skyward.

Popocatepetl is an active volcano with an approximate age of 730,000 years.

It has a symmetrical cone-shape and a maximum height of 5,450 meters above sea level, which places it as the second highest peak in Mexico.

It is united in its northern part with Iztaccihuatl through a mountain pass known as Paso de Cortes, a name that refers to the route taken by Hernan Cortes through that place, before reaching the Great Tenochtitlan.

Iztaccihuatl is an extinct volcano located in central Mexico. It is the third highest mountain in the country, with an altitude of 5,220 meters above sea level and both are located within the territorial limits of the states of Mexico and Puebla.

Currently, both volcanoes are still a source of great artistic and literary creations, which will, no doubt, go down in posterity as will this great legend.


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