Cholula (chōlōˈlä) [key] or Cholula de Rivadabia chōlōˈlä ħā rēˌvädävˈyä, city (1990 pop. 53,673), Puebla state, E central Mexico. The site of the famous Teocali de Cholula, a pre-Columbian pyramid of great antiquity, the city was an old Toltec center and, when the Spanish came, was an Aztec sacred city devoted to the worship of Quetzalcoatl. Suspecting native insurrection, Hernán Cortés destroyed the city in 1519; from 5,000 to 10,000 people were killed in the massacre of Cholula. Cortés then vowed to build a church for each of the 400 Aztec shrines; 70 were in fact built, one atop the pyramid. The picturesque city remains a place of pilgrimage and attracts many tourists.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.