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Mexiko hat tolle Strände zu bieten, Bild: Jess Kraft / shutterstock

Mexico – in the footsteps of faded cultures

If the mountains of Mexico could talk, they would have a lot to tell. They would report on the important Indian civilizations of a bygone era, on the colonial era of the country, on volcanic eruptions and earthquakes and, last but not least, on a revolution that led to a bloody civil war. This is all a past in this treasure trove of faded cultures and in a country that is still the “garden of the gods” for many Mexicans. “Viva Mexico” – this region of Central America tells the story of love and sorrow, of rise and decline. It is a land full of scenic wonders and it is blessed with the testimonies of the Maya and their secrets that hardly anyone has completely deciphered so far.

Mexico, El Ángel de la Independencia
The El Ángel de la Independencia in Mexico City, Image: Vincent St. Thomas / shutterstock

Scientists and historians have learned a lot over the centuries from the time when Aztecs and Maya populated this area. For both cultures, the rivers were of magical power and every volcano was a sacred place. Only stones remain from the heyday of the Indian peoples of today’s Mexico , but the winding palaces and gigantic pyramids still pose puzzles, because many puzzle pieces have not yet been used to create an overall construct. However, it is known that the Maya of Palenque were not only gifted picture houses, but that they wanted to appease the gods of the underworld with blood sacrifices. This magical place in the sprawling jungle with its bright red houses was a highlight of Mayan culture, where the scholars of their time observed the celestial bodies and developed one of the earliest calendars in human history.

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Mexico, Baja
The Baja in Mexico, Image: Grey82 / shutterstock

However, the Maya were probably not a peaceful people of hunter-gatherers, and the decline of their culture could also have been linked to armed conflicts. Twice a year, thousands gather on the Yucatán Peninsula in the ruined city of Chichén to observe the equinox and the course of the sun. Shortly before dusk, the sun paints a ribbon on the steps of the Castillo, then unites with a snake’s head made of stone. This is an astronomical phenomenon and a spectacle for many holidaymakers.

But the mysterious sanctuaries of the Maya alone do not make a trip to Mexico an unusual holiday experience. On a round trip, there are the picturesque village churches, the evergreen rainforest, idyllic bays and hissing volcanoes. This is a land full of grace and beauty, rich in temples and dream beaches. Cancún is no longer a blank spot on the map of international tourism. At Playa del Carmen, all holidaymakers who hope for water sports activities in addition to sun and sand feel at home. The beaches convey a Caribbean flair and the glass-bottom boat takes you out to a dazzling underwater world.

Mexico is also an Eldorado for divers, because the waters on the doorstep are very clear almost everywhere and the galleries of the coral gardens are teeming with colorful schools of fish and turtles. Near Isla Mujeres is the “Cave of the Sleeping Sharks”, where not only reef sharks, nurse sharks and tiger sharks but even the bullsharks can be found. Romano Bravo, one of the most famous oceanographers, was laid to rest there. His urn was brought to the cave in 1988 by the then Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo himself, and a mortality table reads: “Sleep forever at the side of your sharks…”
Less exciting is the island of Cozumel, which is recommended for those who are looking for peace and relaxation. If you want to dive there in the National Marine Park, you can take boats out to the Santa Rosa and Palancar areas. A stay in the metropolis of Mexico City is vital and exciting. It’s a million-dollar juggernaut, but if you take your time, you’ll enjoy the colorful markets, the secluded parks and, above all, the canals of Xochimilco. In Mexico City, the gate to an unusual journey opens.

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Travel information Mexico

Capital Mexico City
Form of government Federal republic
Presidential democracy
Currency Mexican peso (MXN)
Area approx. 1,972,550 km²
Population approx. 124,574,795 (2017 est.)
Languages Spanish
Electricity grid 110-135 volts, 60 Hz
Area code +52
Time zone UTC−6 to UTC−8
UTC−5 to UTC−7
(with daylight saving time)