Mexico’s ancient idols and expansive folkloric history coexist with a bustling, multifaceted country made up of a wealth of cultures and ideals that defy preconceived notions. From the genteel silver mining town of Taxco to the picturesque beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula’s famed Cancun, it isn’t any wonder why Mexico inspires a great deal of pride and elation from her people. While learning about Mexico isn’t quite as exhilarating as viewing the valley of Teotihuacán from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun with your own eyes, you might just be inspired to invest in doing so after reading more facts about this remarkable country.
Mexico DF: Financial, Industrial and Political Heart
Cited as the second most populous city in the world by the United Nations, Mexico City, or in Spanish Distrito Federal, is a living, breathing metropolis situated in the Valley of Mexico. The Zócalo, or central plaza, has been the central location of empowered rallies, heated political tumult and pious religious rituals. Contemporary events such as concerts and sporting exhibitions also take place in Mexico City’s Zócalo.
Frida Kahlo’s Blue House
Frida Kahlo’s art reflected the eternal conflict she experienced concerning her diverse ethnic heritage. But her nationalistic pride as a daughter of Mexico was never a question in her mind, as reflected by her massive body of work. The unique home she shared with her husband Diego Rivera, fellow revolutionary and artist in his own right, has been maintained and converted into a museum in Coyoacán, Mexico City.
The Diversity of Mexican Cuisine
Any previous exposure to Taco Bell isn’t much of a representation when it comes to Mexico’s culinary history. Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo has brought a much more refined, authentic version of Mexico’s various cuisines to the United States, but covering all of Mexico’s regional cuisines in one kitchen is a highly unlikely endeavor. You’ll find everything from brain tacos being grilled at roadside carts, copious uses of masa (corn) and tamales stuffed with everything from pork to soft Mexican cheeses. Culinary writer and traveler extraordinaire Anthony Bourdain is fond of anecdotes praising Mexico as “the place where cooks come from”, having filmed many specials on-location in and around a variety of Mexican municipalities.
Mexican food may have a reputation for being spicy, but many Mexican states are known for cuisine that is flavorful. One of the best known examples would be the well-loved Chile Relleno, a dish that incorporates the use of a chili pepper as a culinary vessel for filling rather than a potential gastrointestinal nuisance. Food is considered nourishment of the body while religion is regarded as nourishment of the soul. Meals are a time of togetherness and fulfillment in Mexican culture.
Teotihuacán, Home of the World’s Third Largest Pyramid
Standing at a bit over 70 meters high and a respectable 222 meters long, Teotihuacán’s Pyramid of the Sun is dwarfed only by Egypt’s famed Cheops and fellow Mexican state Cholula’s Pirámid Tepanapa. Situated 40 kilometers northeast of Mexico City and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Teotihuacán’s vast archeological remnants have been preserved and highly touted as an important destination for tourists and field trips for local schoolchildren alike. Many myths and creation stories concerning early Mesoamerican religious figureheads were purportedly an intrinsic part of Teotihuacán, making it an especially esoteric, highly charged location. Historians and archeologists debate the exact age of Teotihuacán to this day. The Temple of Quetzalcoatl is a classic depiction of Mexican folkloric imagery, depicting homage to the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl.
Mexico’s national sport is soccer, or fútbol. Governed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), it’s not unconventional to see the locals get incredibly excited over a hometown or international match. Wins and losses are taken very seriously in Mexico, especially when there’s cause to celebrate a victory over a heated rival. Games are broadcast on television and radio, just as NBA and NFL games are. Team colors and the national flag are hoisted with fervent pride in all of Mexico.
United States-Mexico Border Crossings
Spanning 3,169 kilometers per the International Boundary and Water Commission, the United States-Mexico border is a heated point of contention in both countries, and is considered the most frequently crossed international border. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was established by the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to positively identify U.S. and Mexican nationals by government-sanctioned identification, as well as expedite heavy traffic at busy crossings. The border runs parallel to the U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and the Mexican states of Nuevo León, Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Coahuila.
The Day of the Dead Lives
El Día de los Muertos is a tradition that is commonly attributed to the Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Zapotec indigenous peoples. It is still widely observed, even in light of Mexico’s largely Catholic population, seamlessly incorporating Catholic altars or icons into the holiday. Food and nourishment, a recurring aspect of Mexican culture, is left for the souls of the departed, so that on the day of the year that it is easiest to hear the earnest prayers and wishes from their living loved ones, they might eat and receive strength for their journey in the next world. It’s a day of solemn celebration, where fear is eschewed and the joy of living is revered. Parades and celebrations are not uncommon, replete with sugar-molded skulls topped with icing, reminding the living to savor the sweet taste of life before the distinct inevitability of death.
This article on places of interest and main attractions in Mexico was supplied by “ContentSpinner” from Constant Content.