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Mexico is a splendid country with loads of hidden and unusual treasures. From natural resources to being the first in many things, even to the way I was welcomed as an Expat to learning Spanish is a testament in itself of their welcoming nature. The things you think you know about Mexico will pale in comparison to the list I’ve compiled here today, that don’t include Mariachi, tequila, tacos and all the other cliches.

1. Mexico is home to the world’s largest pyramid

Mexico is a country rich in history and culture. The first impressive thing on the list and the awe-inspiring aspects of Mexico’s history is the ancient civilization of the Aztecs and the Mayans. The Aztecs and the Mayans were two of the most advanced civilizations of their time, and their architecture is still visible to this day. In the small town of Cholula sits the Tlachihualtepetl, which translates to “man-made mountain”. This pyramid is the largest in the world and is located in the state of Puebla, in central Mexico.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula is estimated to have been built around 300 BC, making it one of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in Mexico. The pyramid is a complex structure made up of several layers, each of which was built on top of the previous one.

The pyramid was built in stages over the course of several centuries, with each new layer adding to the height and grandeur of the structure. The pyramid is estimated to have stood at over 180 feet (55 meters) tall when it was first built, and it covers an area of over four acres (16,000 square meters).

The Pyramid was built using adobe bricks, which were made from mud and straw. These bricks were then covered in a layer of plaster and decorated with brightly colored murals and sculptures.

The pyramid was used as a ceremonial center and a place of worship. It was dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl, who was one of the most important gods in the Aztec and Mayan pantheon.

Today, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its size and beauty. Visitors can explore the pyramid and the surrounding ruins, which include ancient temples, ball courts, and other structures.

That is no hill

2. 68 different languages are spoken in Mexico

Spanish is the de facto language but is home to 68 indigenous languages, spoken by different communities across the country. These languages are an important part of Mexico’s cultural identity and a reminder of the country’s history.

Mexico was colonized in the 16th century hence the language that is spoken by the majority of the population. However, there are pockets of many other languages in Mexico,(the mainland) that speak Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, and Zapotec.

Nahuatl is one of the more widely spoken indigenous languages and is spoken by over a million people. it was spoken by the Aztecs and was widely used in Central Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish. Today, it is still spoken in many rural communities in Central Mexico.

There are other indigenous languages such as Yucatec Maya spoken by about 800,000 people and Zapotec spoken by about half a million. These communities hold on dear to the languages as much as possible. Some of these languages are in danger of going extinct because of the use of Spanish being spoken by the younger generation.

Mexico does not have an official language but Spanish is the de facto national language spoken by the vast majority of the population

3. Mexico City has the 2nd Highest Number of Museums in the World

Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, and the culture of the city are all mixed into one collective. All of this is shown in the museums that the city owns. The impressive collection of museums is breathtaking and is among the largest and most diverse in the world. Mexico City is the second city in the world, after London, with the largest number of museums.

This museum-centric city includes everything from art museums and history to science museums. These world-renowned buildings of art attract visitors from all corners of the world.

The National Museum of Anthropology is pretty important because it is dedicated to Mexico’s history and culture of Mexico’s indigenous communities, it holds the most significant collections of pre-Columbian art and artifacts in the world.

Another museum worth mentioning is the Museum of Modern Art, which is based solely on contemporary Mexican art. It has a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks, and it hosts a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Other notable museums in Mexico City include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Popular Culture, and the Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts. Each of these museums offers a different perspective on Mexican culture and history, and they are well worth a visit for anyone interested in art, history, or culture.

Best believe there is a lot of History to be seen

4. Mexico is a big consumer of Coca-Cola

Mexico is known for its love of Coca-Cola. The consumption of Coca-Cola each year is insane, at any given time there is a Cola drink in sight. In fact, Mexico is the biggest user of Cola period, with an average serving of 675 servings per person per year.

There are a few reasons why Coca-Cola is so popular in Mexico.

  • First, Coca-Cola is readily available everywhere in the country, there is no lack. It is sold in a variety of ways including bottles, cans, and fountain drinks. The fact that it is relatively cheap is another selling point that makes it more accessible to the masses.
  • Another reason why Coca-Cola is so popular in Mexico, it is seen as a symbol of modernity and progress. In many parts of the country, Coca-Cola is associated with the United States, and its consumption is seen as a way of showing appreciation for American culture and values. A lot of people say Mexican Coca-Cola tastes better than the one made in the US.

5. Mexico has the largest number of taxi cabs in the world

Mexico is known for a lot of things but for taxi cabs? It is a country with a hectic transportation service, particularly taxis.

The abundance of taxis in Mexico is due to the country’s high population density and urban areas. Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, is one of the largest cities in the world, with a population of over 20 million people. With so many people living in close proximity to each other, there is a high demand for transportation options, including taxis.

Taxis are an important mode of transportation in Mexico, particularly in urban areas. They are a convenient and affordable way for people to get around, as they are often used by locals and tourists alike. Many taxi drivers in Mexico are self-employed and own their own vehicles, which allows them to operate independently and provide flexible services to their customers.

One unique aspect of the taxi industry in Mexico is the use of color-coded taxis. Each state in Mexico has its own color scheme for taxis, which makes it easy to identify taxis from different regions. For example, taxis in Mexico City are painted bright pink and white, while taxis in the state of Oaxaca are painted green and white.

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6. Mexico is Latin America’s most visited tourist destination other

When traveling like I albeit long-term travel aka living, Mexico would always be my go-to in comparison to other Latin countries. It seems a popular decision because it is the most visited of the Latin countries and brings in millions of visitors each year, drawn in by all it has to offer.

The attraction that pulls people in are too numerous to mention in my opinion, things like:

  • Music
  • Sun
  • Culture
  • Food
  • Climate temperatures
  • Beach and water sports
  • The welcoming people
  • Hiking, lush mountaintops as far as the eyes can see
  • Underwater cave and all-natural sights… need I say more?

People visit because of the feeling of being at home while being away from home. They also visit for the natural beauty it offers. Being able to have access to the beach even for short periods is an undeniable privilege one even I take for granted. The lush mountains and rain forests are a hiker’s dream when you consider the amount you can choose from. The unique wildlife and ecosystem are another attractive factor for visitors including the vast amount of animals it homes including some endangered species.

Have you ever been to an authentic Mexican restaurant where the food and dining experience were good it made you almost jealous of one’s culture? Where the atmosphere is a combination of art, food and music, that’s how is it living here. But, you can experience the world-renowned cuisine in short bursts whenever you come and visit, it is all built-in and part of Mexico’s cultural heritage.

The people in Mexico are just the best and most welcoming to both locals and foreigners, and speaking for the latter and my lack of the Spanish language I am thankful for that. Visitors to Mexico are often struck by the warmth and friendliness of the locals, who are always ready to assist to help and their culture and traditions with visitors.

When contemplating your next holiday plans and want a vacation full of love and adventure filled with natural beauty and a side dish of Mexican cuisine, there is no other place.

Plaza de la Constitucion or Constitution Square

7. The meteorite that wiped out dinosaurs struck Mexico

Many, many years ago, the earth was rocked literally by a catastrophic event written in the history books. A meteorite collided with earth and in so doing the dinosaurs went extinct along with many other species of animals. This meteor known as The Chicxulub Impactor struck the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico feeling the effects worldwide.

The cause of the impact was so severe it caused widespread wildfires and a dust cloud almost similar to a volcanic ash cloud. This settled into the atmosphere for several years and led to the deaths of multiple species of animals.

The Cenote Ring is a series of sinkholes formed from the collision and a collapse in the ground. Today, the site is an attraction for tourists and is a good source of fresh water for the people in that region

Initially, that collision site was unheard of until 1970, when geophysicists working for the oils industry discovered the strange formation that couldn’t be explained. After some research, it was eventually identified as the site of impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Continued research on The Chicxulub Impactor and its effects on the environment has led scientists to believe two things. It was a major factor in the evolution of life on Earth and led to the emergence of new species and ecological systems.

In recent years, there has been recent activity around the site on impact looking for potentially valuable resources. It is believed to be rich in strange minerals and metals and is a possible future site for mining operations.

All in all the story is very fascinating, especially being a world-changing catastrophe. It is a site tourists are drawn to to get a glimpse of what is such a mighty act of nature.

Asteroid impact. Illustration of a large asteroid colliding with Earth on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

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8. The Color TV was Invented By a Mexican

 The invention of color television was a significant milestone in the history of electronic media. In the world of technology linked to television, there are a few well-known names, and Mexico’s own Guillermo González Camarena is often credited as the inventor of color television. He has contributed Major achievements to the field and paved the way for the colorful experience we now have called the television.

Guillermo González Camarena was born on February 17, 1917, in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. In his early years, he showed interest in science and technology and by the age of 17, he had built his own TV transmitter. He moved to Mexico City in 1939 to continue his education in electronic engineering, meanwhile playing around with the idea of a color TV.

One year later he did it, the first color TV using a single cathode ray tube. This system was called the “trichromatic system” which was patented two years later in 1941. It was a significant move forward because it meant color TV could have been produced the same way as black and white TVs, but instead using a series of rotating color filters to create the illusion of full-color images.

González Camarena’s invention caught the eyes of the world and he was invited to New York that same year to the World’s Fair in New York. His demonstrations were such a success they offered him several offers to work in the United States, he however declined those offers and returned to Mexico where he continued to perfect his system.

In 1946, he was recognized by the Mexican government for his achievements and was awarded the National Science Prize. After mulling things over he finally decided to work in the US, thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. While there he continued his work and introduced new processes introducing a three-color ray tube.

González Camarena’s contributions are massive, to say the least, and have made way for his new system the world over. His trichromatic system was used in Mexico until the 1970s and was adopted by other countries in Latin America, including Brazil and Argentina. Other inventors made strides in the same field but no other can hold a three-color ray tube to the work he had produced.

In 1940, 23-year-old Guillermo González Camarena patented a chromoscopic adapter with which black and white cameras of the day could capture color. It was the first patent in the world for color TV.

9. Mexican cuisine is officially World Cultural Heritage

 Mexican cuisine is a culinary tradition inspired by a mixture of indigenous, European, and African influences over several centuries. Let’s put it like this in 2010, (UNESCO) which stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized the importance of Mexican cuisine and added it to the list of intangible cultural heritage.

This one move shows the importance and cultural significance that goes merely beyond sustenance but makes it a major identifier of the Mexican people and their identity.

Not only speaking for myself but the reason Mexican cuisine is so loved because of the meticulous use of the bold and vibrant flavors and spices used to prepare the food. A few of the more familiar ingredients include corn, beans, rice, avocados, tomatoes, and various types of meat and seafood. Let us not forget for a second the complexities put in to make the various sauces with a range of flavors and textures.

Mexican food is not merely for eating, it also has a very important value to social and cultural rituals locally. Each holiday or celebration has specific dishes with their association shared with family and friends. For example, the Day of the Dead is celebrated with traditional dishes like pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and Calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), while Christmas is celebrated with tamales and ponche (fruit punch).

There are a few recipes and dishes that have made their way to and become a staple in that country. Chilies have become a staple in many cuisines, from Indian curries to Thai stir-fries. Dishes like tacos, guacamole and salsa are popular in many countries.

Mexico City along with towns was built on a late called Tenochtitlan

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10. Mexico City was built on a Lake

The Valley of Mexico is the lakebed that now sits Mexico City the capital of Mexico. The Aztecs founded the city of Tenochtitlan in the middle of the lake in the 14th century, and it became the center of their empire. The Spanish drained the lake on their arrival in the 16th century and erected their colonial city.

Today the city is sinking in some areas up to 20 inches per year and here are the reasons why:

  • The extraction from underground freshwater is due to the growing population and the demand for water. To meet this demand, groundwater has been pumped from underground aquifers, causing the soil to compress and sink. This does not help when the city sits on soft clay-like soil.
  • The weight of buildings and infrastructure on the surface compresses the soft soil and causes it to sink or relocate. The extensive city subway system, adds weight on top of the soil.
  • Mexico City is located in an area of high seismic activity, which is a big concern, Earthquakes can cause soil to shift and settle causing further sinking.

The sinking of Mexico City is bad news for the city’s infrastructure and residents. Buildings, roads and bridges will become more and more unstable over time, some even become damaged. In some areas of the city, entire neighborhoods have sunk, leaving buildings tilted and streets uneven.

The city plans to combat the issue by making certain restrictions on groundwater extraction. The construction of new water treatment plants, and the development of new building codes that require structures to be built on stable ground. However, it is taking longer than planned and the city is still in a sinking state of affairs, and the city and its residents are in dire need of a quick solution.

While the government has taken steps to address the issue, more needs to be done to ensure the long-term stability of Mexico City.

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