Mexico is a country that is rich with ancient history and culture. It is no mystery, then, as to why there are currently 31 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List within Mexico, with a further 31 to be considered as additions. Here are 5 incredible sites that should be on anyone’s bucket list of places to visit.
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Throughout its history of nearly 1000 years, the sacred site of Chichen-Itza was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. The pyramid-like structures are an incredible sight to behold, attracting thousands upon thousands of people every year.
Visitors can marvel at the sheer size and architectural brilliance of the site’s remaining structures, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.
The Chichen-Itza is one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization, and their stone monuments and artistic works reveal their amazing visions of the world and the universe. The Mayans are, after all, famous for their predictions of the future...
2. The Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco
First established in the 16th century (a long time before its namesake beer), the beautiful town of San Miguel acted as a cultural melting pot where Spaniards, Amerindians, and Creoles exchanged influences. The incredible stonework of the Sanctuary is something that visitors would not want to miss.
Rather than an ancient treasure, like many other sites in Mexico, the fortified town was first established in the 16th century. Anyone interested in art and architecture would, no doubt, fall in love with its many beautiful buildings. Most of its outstanding religious and civic structures were built in the style of the Mexican Baroque, a fine example of which is the 'Jesuit sanctuary', located 14km from town. The Jesuit sanctuary consists of a large church and several smaller chapels, all wonderfully decorated by oil paintings ad murals by Spanish artists of the time.
3. The Historic Centre of Puebla
Heritage Sites In Mexico | Vacation In Mexico
Founded in 1531, the beauty of Puebla can be appreciated both by night, and by day. The historic centre is situated at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano, so it is no wonder the city is erupting with such striking structures. Fine buildings, such as the old archbishop's palace and the famous 16th-17-th century cathedral, decorate the site.
Along with a host of houses with walls covered in tiles (azulejos), new aesthetic concepts resulting from the combination of American and European influences were adopted locally, and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla.
4. The Historic Centre of Oaxaca and Archaeological Site of Monte Alban
The terraces, canals and pyramids of Monte Alban were literally carved out of the mountain by its inhabitants. These features are the symbols of a sacred topography, and reflect a history of 1,500 years of a diverse succession of peoples who called it home. Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs all stake a claim in its ancient occupancy.
Oaxaca, the city nearby, hides architectural treasures. The grid pattern, on which the city is built, shows that that the Spanish colonial town planners had even adapted the buildings to the earthquake-prone region!
5. The Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca
On the northern slopes of the breath-taking Tlacolula valley, in subtropical central Oaxaca, lies a network of caves and complexes. The site preserves amazing rock-art, and shelters that were used by our ancient ancestors.
The site consists of two pre-Hispanic archaeological complexes and a series of pre-historic caves and rock shelters. Anyone with a keen interest in history would thoroughly enjoy a firsthand experience here. Some shelters show the progress of nomadic hunter-gatherers to incipient farmers. Many fascinating discoveries have been made here, including the earliest known evidence of domesticated plants in the continent.
Few countries compare with the ancient history and beautiful architecture of Mexico's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is so much to offer from a holiday in Mexico. From the staggering monuments of ancient civilizations, to the exquisite architecture of its wonderfully preserved buildings, Mexico has some of the most remarkable sights the world has to offer.
Image Credits: Wikipedia and soyignatius.