The north of the country is mostly desert, a large barren plateau swept by the wind. It is surrounded by the mountain ranges of the Eastern and Western Sierra Madre.
Morelia is located between Guadalajara and Mexico City. The town is known for the unusual stone facades of the older houses. In the markets you can buy beautiful weavings and lacquerware. The town of Pátzcuaro is located 60 km from Morelia. Located on what is perhaps the most beautiful lake in Mexico, it is one of the most quintessential Mexican cities, blending colonial and Native American heritage.
Chihuahua is the capital of the largest Mexican state of the same name and an important industrial and commercial center. The city has fine colonial buildings, including the 18C Cathedral, Government Palace, City Hall and Quinta Luz, the Villa Museum, which houses mementos of revolutionary hero Pancho Villa. Also worth seeing is the Monument to the División del Norte by Doroteo Arango (Pancho Villa’s real name). There is a wide range of leisure activities: bullfights, dog and horse racing, nightclubs and restaurants. Ciudad Juárez is a commercial and cultural center with modern buildings in traditional style. The city is known for serapes (blankets) and glassware.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Mexico, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
A trip on the Copper Valley Railway from the Gulf of California to Chihuahua is an unforgettable experience; Sugar cane plantations, ghost towns and the valleys of the western Sierra Madre pass by the train windows. There are 73 tunnels and 28 bridges to overcome, and each time the view becomes more exciting. During the stopover in Divisadero you can look into the depths of the Barranca del Cobre, where the Río Urique has dug a river bed up to 3660 m deep through the mountains. An hour inland, Creel is a good base for exploring the Sierra Tarahumara, which is named after the approximately 50,000 Tarahumara Indians who live here. The region with its rich flora and fauna is one of the most beautiful in Mexico and is a paradise for nature lovers. The journey time is around 13 hours.
Puebla is 2160 m above sea level and is typical of colonial cities. It is known for the faience that adorns church domes and house walls. Colorful ceramic decorations can be seen throughout the city and beautiful pottery can be bought at the market. There are over 60 churches, some of the most beautiful being the Cathedral and the Iglesia de Santo Domingo with the Rosary Chapel. The Casa del Alfenique exhibits handicrafts and local costumes. The silhouette of the volcanoes Popocatéptl, Iztaccíhuatl and Pico de Orizaba, which can be seen from Puebla, is impressive.
Tepozotlán is located 43 km from the capital and is known for its impressive baroque church, the facade of which is decorated with over 300 sculptures. The 16th-century nunnery has powerful buttresses. On the nearby hill is an Aztec sacred site dedicated to the god of feasting and drinking. On September 8th every year a festival with Aztec dance and theater performances takes place here. The experiences of Mexican pilgrims on their way to Bethlehem are recreated in the Pastorellas.
Located 40 miles from Mexico City, Toluca sits in a valley at the foot of the snow-capped Nevado de Toluca, an extinct volcano. Worth seeing are the market, the Folklore Museum and the Archaeological Museum. The indigenous villages of Tenancingo, Metepec and Chiconcuac are nearby. The Caliztlahuaca Pyramid of Cones, dedicated to the Wind God, is located 8 km north of Toluca.
Guanajuato is on Mexico’s famous “Independence Road,” which is 1,400 km long and passes key stages of Mexico’s long war of independence. The charm of the city can be seen in the Governor ‘s Palace, the University, the Teatro de Juarez, the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato and the Iglesia de Valencia, among others. The parish church of Dolores Hidalgo is of great historical importance: it was here that the Grito de Dolores (“Cry for Freedom”) was heard for the first time when Father Miguel Hidalgo and his 80,000 followers began the freedom struggle against Spain in 1810.
Tula, 85 km from Mexico City, is home to the legendary Quetzalcóatl. Nearby is Atlantes, the capital of the Toltec dynasties. Large monoliths of volcanic rock stand on the steps of the pyramids.
San Miguel de Allende was founded by the Franciscans in 1542 and is now a listed monument. The town has narrow cobbled streets and squares lined with old trees. The Indian sculptor Ceferino Gutierrez embellished the Parroquia de San Miguel with his work at the end of the 19th century. There are original dog statues on the balcony of the Casa de los Perros. The city is known for the annual Posadas fiestas held around Christmas time.
Acolman is 39 km north of the capital on the road to Teotihuacán. The town was built around a 16th-century Augustinian nunnery.
124 km from Mexico City is Cholula, a pre-Columbian cult site with over 400 sanctuaries and temples. The Pyramid of Tepanapa is the largest Mexican pyramid. At the top stands the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. The 49 domes of the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) make it look like a mosque. The beautiful San Francisco Acatepec Church is 4 miles from Cholula. The city is known for its fiestas (folk festivals) known. Performances of Moorish and Christian dances take place on August 15; on September 8, the festival of the Virgen de los Remedios, Indian dances are performed.
Chichén Itzá is located 120 km east of Mérida and is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Maya culture. Main sights are the great pyramid of Kukulkán, the “snake columns” of the warrior temple, the jaguar temple, the sacred cenote (a huge well where richly decorated women and men were sacrificed with offerings to the rain god Chac during periods of drought), the observatory El Caracol (snail shell ) and the imposing ball court.
The ball game was of particular importance to the Mayas. The rubber ball symbolized the sun, which guaranteed the existence of the earth. Whoever lost from the two teams was sacrificed to the gods and then buried with great ceremonies.
In the southwestern part of the Yucatán Peninsula, the splendid creations of the classical era, Uxmal, Kabáh, Sayil and Labná, can be visited. The sculptural and decorative elements on the buildings are particularly magnificent here, which is why this type of construction is referred to as “Maya Baroque”.