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Talavera pottery and tiles in Puebla, Mexico

The Church of San Francisco (completed 1767) has panels of talavera tile incorporated into its facade. Puebla, Mexico
The Church of San Francisco (completed 1767) has panels of talavera tile incorporated into its facade. Puebla, Mexico
Lesley Peterson

The UNESCO world heritage city of Puebla, Mexico, is a perfect example of Spanish colonial urban planning. Founded in 1531 by Spanish conquistadors as La Puebla de los Ángeles, Puebla's strategic location halfway between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz made it the second most important city during the colonial period. A feature of Puebla’s rich architectural heritage are the eyecatching talavera tiles that adorn many of Puebla's churches and other colonial-era buildings.

Typical talavera pottery produced in Puebla, Mexico
Typical talavera pottery produced in Puebla, Mexico
Lesley Peterson

Talavera pottery has its roots in Spain, taking its name from the city of Talavera de la Reina, a major centre of ceramics production. Brought to Mexico in the 16th century, talavera’s intricate glazed patterns reflect Spanish, Moorish and even Chinese influences. The clay in Puebla state proved perfect for producing talavera pottery and tiles. The industry still thrives today, a prime expression of Pueblan art and craftsmanship.

Six companies in Puebla produce authentic talavera, marked DO4, one of only eleven made-in-Mexico products to receive national denominación de origen certification. Modern talavera is available as tile, pottery, tableware, contemporary art objects, even jewelry. Whether you take a talavera factory tour, admire the historical talavera collection at the Museo José Luis Bello y González or simply wander Puebla’s picturesque streets looking for talavera architectural elements, you’re sure to be enchanted by this distinctive art form.

The city of Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico with 2.1 million inhabitants and is the capital of the State of Puebla. Puebla is located 110 kilometers (68 miles) south-east of Mexico City, in the Puebla Valley, surrounded by three volcanoes.

Visitors today will enjoy exploring Puebla's historic center, excellent museums, talavera factories, world-famous cuisine and fine boutique hotels. For more trip inspiration, see the official tourism website of Puebla State. Visit Mexico also offers more information on Puebla and the art of talavera.