Two blocks from the main plaza is a classic old bullring, still in use, and across from it is the old Templo de San Francisco, supposedly the site where the Tlaxcalan chiefs were baptized. The church is noted for the elaborately inlaid Moorish ceiling below the choir loft. A painting inside the Chapel of the Third Order shows the baptism of the chiefs. To the right of the Templo is the former convent, now a museum containing early paintings and artifacts from nearby archaeological sites.
The Government Palace, on the handsome, tree-shaded zócalo, contains vivid murals by a local artist, Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin, who died in 2007. The murals illustrate the city's history and are definitely worth a visit. The expanded Museo de Artesanías (tel. 246/462-2337), on Sánchez Piedras between Lardizábal and Primera de Mayo, showcases the state's wide-ranging crafts and customs. Here local artisans give visitors demonstrations in such crafts as embroidery, weaving, and pulque-making (juice of fermented agaves). The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm; admission is 6 pesos.
Less than 1km (2/3 mile) from the town center is the Santuario de Ocotlán, constructed after Juan Diego Bernardino claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary on that site in 1541. Baroque inside and out, it has elaborate interior decorations of carved figures and curling gilded wood that date from the 1700s. The carvings are attributed to Francisco Miguel Tlayotehuanitzin, an Indian sculptor who labored for more than 20 years on the building's decoration.
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