Sun, jungle, desert, traditions and stones with ancient stories to tell are all part of Mexico’s legacy. Best of all, you’re invited to come and take part in it! From the arid horizons of the northern mountains, where the Paquime labyrinths and old ceramics tell of hard times in a harsh climate, to the fertile land sheltering Palenque's temples and the underwater treasures lurking inside Yucatan’s cenotes, Mexico preserves ancient testimonies of great towns and wise men and women who, throughout its history have deciphered the cycles of earth and sky.
Venture to southern Mexico and you’ll learn about the Olmecs, the first highly developed civilization in America, who settled in what today is Tabasco back in 1200 BC. The ancient city and temple complex of Teotihuacan, the “Place where Gods are made”, may have reached a population of around 200, 000 at its peak, bigger than many European Capitals by that time. Walk the Calzada de los Muertos or climb to the top of the Piramide del sol to breathe in the history of these sacred surroundings.
In what is called the Classic Period (300-900 BC), Mayan civilization bloomed in south-eastern Mexico and Guatemala. You won't find it easy to choose between the temples of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Tulum -the only seaside archaeological city in Mexico- and Palenque’s mythical temples in northern Chiapas. If you have time to see them all, you'll notice Mayan architecture acquired different styles due to the peoples' intense commercial interaction with central Mexico and Guatemala.
A mighty imperial power, the Aztecs became the dominant culture in the Post Classic Period (900-1521 AD), and, thankfully for us, magnificent Aztec sculptural and architectural pieces survived the Spanish conquest. Mexico City itself is the best example of what are known as superimposed cities: Pre-Hispanic Tenochtitlan lies underneath the capital of colonial New Spain, which has in turn been topped by what we now know as Mexico City. A visit to Templo Mayor (main temple) makes this fact clear for locals and visitors. In the same city, the Anthropology museum –the largest in Mexico- houses and exhibits the most select collection of national archaeology in the country; all the major Pre-Hispanic cultures are represented here. We strongly recommend at least a couple days to enjoy this astonishing building.