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Puebla is a medium sized state, just under five and half million people, south of Mexico City. The state is home to many famous mountains, volcanoes and colonial centers. It was also the site of the Battle of Puebla on May 5th 1862 were Ignacio Zaragoza beat the Imperial French Army, which today is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. Although the French returned later and occupied the city for several years.
It is bordered by the states of Veracruz to the north and east, Hidalgo, México, Tlaxcala and Morelos to the west, and Guerrero and Oaxaca to the south. The state is located on the central highlands of Mexico between the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra Madre Oriental. It has a roughly triangular shape with its narrow part to the north.
Most of its mountains belong to the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The first is locally called the Sierra Norte del Puebla, entering the state from the northwest and then breaks up into the smaller chains of Sierra de Zacapoaxtla, Sierra de Huauchinango, Sierra de Teziutlán, Sierra de Tetela de Ocampo, Sierra de Chignahuapan and Sierra de Zacatlán, although these names may vary among localities. Some of the highest elevations include Apulco, Chichat, Chignahuapan, Soltepec and Tlatlaquitepec. The highest elevations are the volcanoes Pico de Orizaba or Citlaltepetl (5,747 metres), Popocatépetl (5,452 metres), Iztaccíhuatl (5,286 metres) and Malinche (4,461 metres) which are found on the state’s borders with Veracruz, Mexico State and Tlaxcala respectively. In the south of the state, the major elevations are the Sierra de Atenahuacán, Zapotitlán, Lomerio al Suroeste and the Sierra de Tehuacán. Dividing much of the state from Veracruz is a small chain of mountains called the Sierra Madre del Golfo.
The hydrology of Puebla is formed by three major river systems. One is based on the Atoyac River, which originates with the melting runoff of the Halos, Telapón and Papagayo mountains along with those from the Iztaccihuatl volcano and waters from the Zahuapan River, which enters from Tlaxcala. This river receives further water from tributaries such as the Acateno, Atila, Amacuzac, Molinos and Cohetzala. The river has one major dam called Valsequllo or Manuel Avila Camacho. This river eventually flows west to the Pacific Ocean. The next system empties into the Gulf of Mexico and consists of the Pantepec, Cazones, Necaxa, Laxaxalpan, San Pedro/Zun, Zempoala, Apulco, Cedro Viejo, Salteros, Martínez de la Torre and other rivers on the east side of the state. This system has two major dams called the Necaxa and Mazatepec. The third is based on the large number of small lakes fresh water springs as well as some volcanically heated springs. The best known of these include Chignahuapan, Agua Azúl, Amalucan, Cisnaqullas, Garcicrespo, Almoloya and Rancho Colorado. Lakes include Chapulco, San Bernardino, Lagunas Epatlán, Ayutla, Almoloyan, Alchichica, Pahuatlán, Las Minas, Aljojuca and Tecuitlapa.
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Popocatépetl is an active volcano located in the heart of Mexico, about 70 kilometres southeast of the capital Mexico City. The mountain has been climbed since a long time ago. The Tecuanipas tribe is said to have climbed it in 1289, followed by the Spanish in the 16th century. Literally meaning the 'smoking mountain', it is the second highest peak in the country and on one of those rare clear days it can be seen from the higher parts of Mexico City. Popocatépetl is one of the only three mountains in Mexico that has glaciers near the summit. Popocatépetl has had over 20 eruptions in modern history, with the eruptions of 1994, 1996, 2004 and 2005 (still continuing as at 2009)  being the most recent ones. In the 1996 eruption, tens of thousands of people were evacuated by the government based on the warnings of scientists. The volcano then experienced its worst eruption in thousands of years. Popocatépetl is one of the only three mountains in Mexico that has glaciers near the summit.
Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexciowhere where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.
Puebla has many different climates owing to its range of altitudes. It has an average temperature of 16 °C but this varies greatly locally. There is a rainy season from May until October with an overall precipitation of 801 mm. The state has eleven different climate zones, but five predominate. The centre and south of the state has a temperate and semi-moist climate, with an average temperature of 15 ° and 858 mm of rainfall. The southwest has a warm to hot and semi-moist climate with 830 mm of precipitation and 22 °C average temperature. The north is also warm and hot, and additionally very wet; it has a 22 °C average temperature but with an average rainfall of 2,250 mm. The southeast is semi-dry with warm and temperate temperatures, having an average temperature of 22 °C and precipitation of 550 mm. The high volcano peaks have a cold climate.
Hermanos Serdán International Airport (IATA: PBC, ICAO:MMPB) is the airport that serves Puebla. It also is an alternative airport for Mexico City. It has good regional service and limited international service.
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