Mexico and its peoples celebrate a long and dynamic history. Visitors to the country will find people immensely proud of their heritage, accomplishments, and cultural achievements. When traveling through Mexico, you can learn a great deal about the nation and culture simply by visiting some of the following historic attractions.
First populated somewhere around 13,000 years ago, Mexico has a long history peopled by various civilizations. People visit the country from all over the world to study the ruins and relics of pre-Columbian civilizations like the Maya and Olmec. The period of the Conquistadors and the subsequent Spanish colonial era dramatically altered life in Mexico while ushering it into the modern era. The eventual Mexican nation faced tumultuous political obstacles before becoming the nation we know today. The following attractions and landmarks celebrate this amazing past.
Museo Nacional de Antropología
The national museum of Mexico in Mexico City pays homage to the long-ago past with important artifacts that date to the beginnings of settlement in the southern region of North America. With internationally known relics like the fascinating Aztec calendar stone and giant stone heads of the Olmec civilization, the museum has an immense collection to behold. Covering an area of nearly 80,000 square meters, the museum is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Mexico and interested in its past.
One of the most popular tourist destinations for Mexico History, Chichen-Itza, situated on the Yucatan Peninsula, is an extensive and well-preserved site filled with the ruins of two ancient Mayan cities. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichen-Itza draws visitors from all over the world who are interested to learn about the Mayan people and the Toltec people who eventually conquered the site in the tenth century A.D.
Castillo de Chapultepec
Once the residence of Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg, this Spanish Colonial palatial building was built in the eighteenth century in Mexico City. Today, it houses the world-famous Museo Nacional de Historia that celebrates Mexico’s natural history. Visitors will find exhibitions dedicated to the various eras of Mexico’s history from its pre-Hispanic past to the era of its independence.
Located in the state of Chiapas, Palenque is an ancient Mayan site near the modern city that bears its name. Although the site thrived between 500 and 700 A.D., it is believed to have been inhabited since 100 B.C. Many believe that this city’s ruins contain some of the most important Mayan architecture ever uncovered.
The oldest cathedral on the continent, the Merida Cathedral was completed in 1598 in the city of Merida. Also referred to as the Catedral de San Ildefonso, the Merida Cathedral was partially constructed with stones from Mayan pyramids. The church is actually built on the ruins of the Mayan city of Tiho. The cathedral is one of the Spanish Colonial period’s most important sites.
Mexico History: Teotihuacan
An ancient Meso-American city located near present-day Mexico City, Teotihuacan was founded around the year 400 B.C. The myriad of monuments constructed at the site suggests that it was a place of religious importance. While the site was later occupied by Toltec and Aztec peoples, it is still not certain which ancient group first established this mesmerizing site.
From museums to actual archaeological sites, Mexico enjoys a wealth of historical attractions. These are among its most significant, but travelers to Mexico will find many more places and landmarks of historic importance to this dynamic country.