Historically, Puebla’s greatest moment came on May 5, 1862, when the invading French army was soundly defeated by a Mexican army one-half its size. Today the victory is celebrated throughout Mexico (and the U.S.) as Cinco de Mayo. The forts of Loreto and Guadalupe, where the battles took place, can be visited on the city’s outskirts – now part of the Centro Civico 5 de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the “Batalla de Puebla” came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were autonomous nations capable of resisting imperialist states bent on world conquest.
The Forts (Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe) have been restored and guides retell the story of Mexico’s greatest military moment. The Forts are now part of a large complex (Centro Civico Cinco de Mayo) on the city’s northeast flank that includes a Planetarium, Regional Archaeological Museum, the Olympic Soccer Stadium, a large auditorium and green parks.
Museo Imagina at The Forts (Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe): The interactive museum IMAGINA is a place where children can, learn, experiment, explain and feel. It is hands-on path to understanding the world. IMAGINA represents a new form of teaching at all levels, using games as a tool for education designed for the whole family.
Museo Regional INAH at The Forts (Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe): This museum is run by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, and 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.