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Chichén Itzá is an ancient Mayan city located on the Yucatán Peninsula. At its peak, around 600 A.D., it was the center of power in the region. Many of the original stone palaces, temples and markets remain throughout the city.
Teotihuacán, an ancient city possibly built by the Toltecs, is located in the state of Mexico. The city rose to power in 150 A.D. and was a strong influence on Mayan culture. It is also the location of the world’s third largest pyramid, the Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun).
Paquimé, located in the state of Chihuahua, was a cultural center in north Mexico for over 300 years. At the height of its power in the 13th century, the city’s population is thought to have reached 10,000, with most of the citizens living in five or six story buildings similar to modern apartments.
Paquimé featured a ceremonial area, temple structures, a ball court, pyramids and effigy mounds, including one that resembled a cross with perfect astronomical orientation. Turkeys and parrots were kept in special cages, possibly to supply feathers used for ceremonial and personal adornment.
Cuarenta Casas (Forty Houses) are cliff dwellings located in the state of Chihuahua and discovered by the Spaniards around the 16th century. Despite the name, only about a dozen adobe apartments are carved into the west cliff-side of a dramatic canyon at La Cueva de las Ventanas (Cave of the Windows). Cuarenta Casas is believed to have been an outlying settlement of Paquimé in the 13th century.
Mexico City is home to the three-story Palacio Nacional (National Palace), built in 1563 on the site of the Aztec leader Moctezuma’s palace. Originally, the palace housed all three branches of the government. Today, however, only the executive branch resides there. Palacio Nacional was destroyed by fire twice, once in 1659 and again in 1692. It was reconstructed in 1693 and remains largely unchanged today.
In the early to mid-1900s, Diego Rivera painted a collection of huge murals on the walls of the palace that illustrate the colorful history of Mexico. The palace is also home to Mexico’s Liberty Bell.
Located at the north side of Mexico City's town square, Catedral Metropolitana is the largest and oldest cathedral in all of Latin America. Construction on the building, which blends Baroque and Neoclassical styles, began in 1573 and took three centuries to complete. The cathedral features 14 chapels, five altars and numerous statues, paintings and altarpieces of Christ and the saints.
The Sea of Cortés
The Sea of Cortés, also known as the Gulf of California, is situated between mainland Mexico and the Baja Peninsula. Located on Isla Partida, one of numerous sea islands, is Ensenada Grande beach, which many consider to be the most beautiful beach in Mexico. The Sea of Cortés contains many unique species of marine life, including the mantra-like Flying Mobulas, which can leap from the water and glide through the air, and the Vaquita Marina, the most endangered porpoise in the world.
Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl
Located on the eastern rim of the Valle de Mexico, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl are Mexico’s second- and third-highest volcanic mountains. Craterless Iztaccíhuatl is dormant and a popular site for mountain climbing; however, Popocatépetl, whose Aztec name means Smoking Mountain, has erupted more than 20 times since the arrival of the Spanish. It continues to spout plumes of gas and ash and is carefully monitored by scientists.
Mexico City, the second-largest metropolitan area in the world after Tokyo, is home to numerous attractions, including the Palacio Nacional and the Catedral Metropolitana.
With its golden beaches, tropical jungles and renowned daredevil cliff-divers, Acapulco remains the best-known and most popular resort town in Mexico.
The Baja Peninsula
The Baja Peninsula along Mexico’s west coast, is famous for its long coastline of fine white beaches, peaceful bays and imposing cliffs.
Guadalajara, Jalisco, is rich in Mexican culture. The area has become famous for its locally manufactured tequila, mariachi music, sombreros, charreadas (rodeos) and the Mexican Hat Dance.
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In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week.
En septiembre de 1968, el Congreso le autorizÃ³ al presidente Lyndon B. Johnson que proclamara la Semana Nacional de la Herencia Hispana.