Theme Week Mexico

Saturday, 11 January 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  14 minutes

Cancun and the Riviera Maya © Mardetanha - www.safainla.us/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cancun and the Riviera Maya © Mardetanha – www.safainla.us/cc-by-sa-3.0

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos), is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico has approximately 129 million inhabitants, making it the world’s 13th-largest country by area, 10th-most populous country, and most populous Spanish-speaking nation. It is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital city and largest metropolis. Other major urban areas include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León.

Pre-Columbian Mexico traces its origins to 8,000 BC and is identified as one of six cradles of civilization; it was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, most well-known among them the Maya and the Aztecs. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico City, which then became known as New Spain. The Catholic Church played an important role as millions of indigenous inhabitants converted. These populations were heavily exploited to mine rich deposits of precious material, which became a major source of wealth for the Spanish. Mexico became an independent nation state after the successful Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1821.

The War of Texas Independence in 1836 and the Mexican–American War led to huge territorial losses in Mexico’s sparsely populated north, contiguous to the United States. The newly instituted reforms that granted protection to indigenous communities, and curtailed the power of the military and the church, were enshrined in the Constitution of 1857. This triggered the War of the Reform and French intervention. Maximilian Habsburg was installed as emperor by France and Benito Juárez kept an opposing republican government in exile. The following decades were marked by instability and dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, who sought to modernize Mexico and restore order. The Porfiriato ended with the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and the winning Constitutionalist faction drafted a new 1917 Constitution. The revolutionary generals of the winning northern faction dominated the 1920s and served as presidents, but the 1928 assassination of Alvaro Obregón led to the formation of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 1929, under which Mexico was a one-party state until 2000.

Mexico is a developing country, ranking 76th on the Human Development Index, but is considered a newly industrialized state by several analysts. It has the world’s 15th-largest economy by nominal GDP and the 11th-largest by PPP, with the United States being its largest economic partner. The large economy, area, population and politics make Mexico a regional power and a middle power, and is often identified as an emerging power. However, Mexico continues to struggle with social inequalities, poverty and extensive crime; the country ranks poorly on the Global Peace Index. Since 2006, the conflict between the government and drug trafficking syndicates lead to over 120,000 deaths.

Mexico ranks first in the Americas and 7th in the world for the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse, ranking 5th in the world for its natural biodiversity. Mexico receives a significant number of tourists every year; in 2018, it was the 6th most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals.

National Palace on Plaza de la Constitución in Mexico City © panoramio.com - cz354x/cc-by-sa-3.0 Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City © Xavier Quetzalcoatl Contreras Castillo/cc-by-sa-3.0 Puebla © Ger1010/cc-by-sa-3.0 Border fence between Tijuana/Mexico (right) and San Diego/United States © Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde - www.ngb.army.mil Business district of Monterrey greater metropolitan area © flickr.com - Rick González/cc-by-2.0 Cancun and the Riviera Maya © Mardetanha - www.safainla.us/cc-by-sa-3.0 Catedral de Guadañajara © Hector ruiz velasco/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Border fence between Tijuana/Mexico (right) and San Diego/United States © Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde - www.ngb.army.mil
Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country’s history through the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain, imparted during Spain’s 300-year colonial rule of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements have been incorporated into Mexican culture as time has passed. The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, was marked by economic progress and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Díaz himself. Since that time, as accentuated during the Mexican Revolution, cultural identity has had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous (i.e. Amerindian) element is the core. In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos in La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races (thus extending the definition of the mestizo) not only biologically but culturally as well. Other Mexican intellectuals grappled with the idea of Lo Mexicano, which seeks “to discover the national ethos of Mexican culture.” Nobel laureate Octavio Paz explores the notion of a Mexican national character in The Labyrinth of Solitude (Culture of Mexico).

The presence of the humans in the Mexican territory has left important archaeological findings of great importance for the explanation of the habitat of primitive man and contemporary man. The Mesoamerican civilizations managed to have great stylistic development and proportion on the human and urban scale, the form was evolving from simplicity to aesthetic complexity; in the north of the country the adobe and stone architecture is manifested, the multifamily housing as we can see in Casas Grandes; and the troglodyte dwelling in caves of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Urbanism had a great development in pre-Hispanic cultures, where we can see the magnitude of the cities of Teotihuacán, Tollan-Xicocotitlan and México-Tenochtitlan, within the environmentalist urbanism highlight the Mayan cities to be incorporated into the monumentality of its buildings with the thickness of the jungle and complex networks of roads called sakbés. Mesoamerican architecture is noted for its pyramids which are the largest such structures outside of Ancient Egypt. Spanish Colonial architecture is marked by the contrast between the simple, solid construction demanded by the new environment and the Baroque ornamentation exported from Spain. Mexico, as the center of New Spain has some of the most renowned buildings built in this style. With the arrival of the Spaniards, architectural theories of the Greco-Roman order with Arab influences were introduced. Due to the process of evangelization, when the first monastic temples and monasteries were built, their own models were projected, such as the mendicant monasteries, unique in their type in architecture. The interaction between Spaniards and natives gave rise to artistic styles such as the so-called tequitqui (from Nahuatl: worker). Years later the baroque and mannerism were imposed in large cathedrals and civil buildings, while rural areas are built haciendas or stately farms with Mozarabic tendencies. In the 19th century the neoclassical movement arose as a response to the objectives of the republican nation, one of its examples are the Hospicio Cabañas where the strict plastic of the classical orders are represented in their architectural elements, new religious buildings also arise, civilian and military that demonstrate the presence of neoclassicism. Romanticists from a past seen through archeology show images of medieval Europe, Islamic and pre-Hispanic Mexico in the form of architectural elements in the construction of international exhibition pavilions looking for an identity typical of the national culture. The art nouveau, and the art deco were styles introduced into the design of the Palacio de Bellas Artes to mark the identity of the Mexican nation with Greek-Roman and pre-Hispanic symbols. Modern architecture in Mexico has an important development in the plasticity of form and space, José Villagrán García develops a theory of form that sets the pattern of teaching in many schools of architecture in the country within functionalism. The emergence of the new Mexican architecture was born as a formal order of the policies of a nationalist state that sought modernity and the differentiation of other nations. The development of a Mexican modernist architecture was perhaps mostly fully manifested in the mid-1950s construction of the Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, the main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Designed by the most prestigious architects of the era, including Mario Pani, Eugenio Peschard, and Enrique del Moral, the buildings feature murals by artists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Chávez Morado. It has since been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Juan O’Gorman was one of the first environmental architects in Mexico, developing the “organic” theory, trying to integrate the building with the landscape within the same approaches of Frank Lloyd Wright. In the search for a new architecture that does not resemble the styles of the past, it achieves a joint manifestation with the mural painting and the landscaping. The Jalisco School was a proposal of those socio-political movements that the country demanded. Luis Barragán combined the shape of the space with forms of rural vernacular architecture of Mexico and Mediterranean countries (Spain-Morocco), integrating an impressive color that handles light and shade in different tones and opens a look at the international minimalism. He won the 1980 Pritzker Prize, the highest award in architecture. Mexican architecture is a cultural phenomenon born of the ideology of nationalist governments of the 20th century, which was shaping the identity image by its colorful and variegated ornamental elements inherited from ancestral cultures, classical and monumental forms and, subsequently, the incorporation of modernism and cutting-edge international trends (Architecture of Mexico).

In 2005, Mexico presented the candidature of its gastronomy for World Heritage Site of UNESCO, being the first occasion in which a country had presented its gastronomic tradition for this purpose. However, in a first instance the result was negative, because the committee did not place the proper emphasis on the importance of corn in Mexican cuisine. Finally, on 16 November 2010 Mexican gastronomy was recognized as Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. In addition, Daniela Soto-Innes was named the best female chef in the world by The World’s Best 50 Restaurants in April 2019. The origin of the current Mexican cuisine is established during the Spanish colonial era, a mixture of the foods of Spain with native indigenous ingredients. Of foods originated in Mexico is the corn, the pepper vegetables (together with Central and South America), calabazas (together with the Americas), avocados, sweet potato (together with Central and South America), the turkey (together with the Americas) and other fruits and spices. Other Indigenous products are many beans. Similarly, some cooking techniques used today are inherited from pre-Hispanic peoples, such as the nixtamalization of corn, the cooking of food in ovens at ground level, grinding in molcajete and metate. With the Spaniards came the pork, beef and chicken meats; peppercorn, sugar, milk and all its derivatives, wheat and rice, citrus fruits and another constellation of ingredients that are part of the daily diet of Mexicans. From this meeting of millennia old two culinary traditions, were born pozole, mole sauce, barbacoa and tamale is in its current forms, the chocolate, a large range of breads, tacos, and the broad repertoire of Mexican street foods. Beverages such as atole, champurrado, milk chocolate and aguas frescas were born; desserts such as acitrón and the full range of crystallized sweets, rompope, cajeta, jericaya and the wide repertoire of delights created in the convents of nuns in all parts of the country (Mexican cuisine and Mexican wine).

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Government of Mexico, LonelyPlanet.com – Mexico, History of Mexico, Culture of Mexico, List of World Heritage Sites in Mexico, Architecture of Mexico, Mexican cuisine (since 2010 Intangible Cultural Heritage), Economy of Mexico, Tourism in Mexico, Politics of Mexico, Human rights in Mexico, Foreign relations of Mexico, Wikitravel Mexico, Wikivoyage Mexico und Wikipedia Mexico. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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