This spectacular site leapt to the forefront of Mexican archaeology following an 18-month, $2 million restoration effort in the mid 1990’s. Believed to be the largest urban center yet discovered in Mesoamerica, Cantona covers 12 square kilometres (five square miles) in a remote arid corner of northeast Puebla State.
Cantona is divided into three urban units. It was first inhabited during the late classic period, reached its splendor by the epic-classic period and finally vanished in the early post classic era. It was actually one of the most urbanized cities of pre-Hispanic Mexico and the biggest and most influential city of the central highlands.
The ruins display a sophisticated urban design that includes an extensive roadway network, over 3,000 individual patios, or residences, 24 ball courts, and an elaborate “acropolis” with ceremonial buildings and temples. Buildings were assembled of carved stones being placed one atop the other without stucco covering or cement mortar. Much of the site resembles a fortress (complete with a moat and several guard stations), since the city was developed during a period of great social upheaval following the fall of Teotihuacan in the eighth century. Cantona is located 96 km. north east of Puebla City, located between the towns of Tepeyahualco and Coyoaco. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take Highway 150 east to the Amozoc tollbooth, then Highway 129 north (toward Teziutlan).