The famous Cinco de Mayo forts of Puebla

Many people know of Cinco de Mayo, but most don't know why they are celebrating other than having a margarita or tequila shot. In fact, most people outside of Mexico think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, it's not.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican forces in the Battle of Puebla over the battle-tested and twice as large army from France in 1862. Some say the key to General Ignacio Zaragoza's victory were the defense of the twin forts; Guadalupe and Loreto in the hills above Puebla.

Inside the walls of Fuerte Loreto

Defensive walls outside the fort

Today, the Mexican and Puebla governments have restored these forts and made the surrounding area a large park called  Centro Civico 5 de Mayo. The complex also includes a planetarium, an archaeological museum, a Olympic soccer stadium and green areas. it has become an area for families and visitors to learn about history and relax on a day off.

The Forts (Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe) have an interactive museum called Museo Regional INAH at The Forts. This museum is divided into three sections: the library, the hall dedicated to artist Diego Rivera, and a complex organized thematically and chronologically of early Puebla history. The most interesting highlight might be a colossal sculpture of Saint Christopher, dating back to the 17th century. You will also see a number of armaments (guns, swords, cannons), maps from the battles, equipment and paintings of the battle and historic figures.

Well worth a visit while spending some time in the beautiful, colonial city of Puebla.

Battle flag of the Puebla forces

Our Lady of Loreto

Museum displays in both Spanish and English

Looking towards Puebla and Popocatepetl volcano from the forts


Stay: I stayed at the Hotel Casa de la Palma while in Puebla. Centrally located, historical boutique hotel.

Eat: Entre Tierras Restaurant

Photos & information provided by Ted Donovan


  1. That's true!!! Too many people think about partying on this day and do not know the real history. Thanks for the article ;)


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