Here is a list of 18 most interesting facts about Mexico, followed by more information on the mountains and adventures available in this incredible country.
1. The official name of Mexico is Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States). The country was name by its capital – Mexico City, which was, during the Aztec times, called Mexico-Tenochtitlán, and then renamed by the Spanish conquerors who ruined it and built a new one on top.
2. Aztecs had a legend that one day they’ll see a signal from their sun god when they found their home – they would spot an eagle, perched on a cactus, holding a snake. And they did, in Valley of Mexico, along the shores of Lake Texcoco.
3. Mexico city is actually built on lake, and huge pumps are drawing water from it, which is why it is slowly shrinking at a rate of 6-8 inches a year. It is the oldest city and one with the highest elevation in North America. It’s also one of the largest cities in the world.
4. The chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world and it was named by one od the Mexican states. It is believed that chihuahuas are descended from techichi, a dog breed favored by the Toltec civilization.
5. Modern Mexicans are a blend of many ancient civilizations – Olmec, Zapotec, Toltec, Maya, Aztec, Inca, even African, and of course Spanish and French. The first civilization were the Olmecs (1400-300 B.C.), who built cities on the east coast of Mexico. The Zapotecs settled themselves along the south part, and actually developed the first writing system in the Americas.
6. Chocolate was discovered in Mexico, and the word derives from Aztec language Náhuatl (xocolatl : xoco, bitter + atl, water).
7. Mexico has the largest number of bullfighting rings in the world, and Plaza Mexico is the world’s largest.
8. The largest pyramid known to exist in the world is The Great Pyramid of Cholula or Tlachihualtepetl (Náhuatl for "artificial mountain") It is 55 metres (180 ft) high, and 400 by 400 metres (1,300 by 1,300 ft) in width. It is also the world’s largest monument ever constructed.
9. Chichen Itza ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. It was named as one of the New Seven Wonder of The World in 2007. It was a large city built by the Maya people, and it’s located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico.
10. Mexico actually has 34 UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites, and you can find them all listed here.
11. Mexico is located in the “Ring of Fire”, a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, one the earth’s most violent earthquake and volcano zones. It contains more than 450 volcanoes and has approximately 75% of the world's active volcanoes.
12. The highest mountain in Mexico is Pico de Orizaba, or Citlaltépetl in Náhuatl (citlal(in) = star, and tepētl = mountain), standing at 5,636 metres (18,491 ft) above sea level. It is the third highest mountain in North America, after Denali and Mount Logan, and being a stratovolcano, is the 4th of the Volcanic Seven Summits, a mountaineering challenge like Seven Summits. It is one of only three glaciated volcanoes in Mexico, and has the largest glacier in Mexico, called Gran Glaciar Norte.
13. Most frequently used route to climb Pico de Orizaba runs along the Jampara Glacier. More experienced climbers can try the routes on east and west side of the mountain, for example, the Serpent’s Head route on the west, which includes 10 pitches of the grade 3 ice climbing.
14. All of the Mexico’s highest peak are stratovolcanoes of the mountain range Cordillera Neo-Volcánica. The highest ones, besides the Pico de Orizaba on the east end of the belt, are 5,636-meter (17,802-foot) Popocatépetl, 5,426-meter (17,802-foot) Iztaccíhuatl and 4,680-meter (15,350-foot) Nevado de Toluca.
15. Aside from the Cordillera Neo-Volcánica, Mexico has many more mountain ranges, the major ones being Sierra Madre Occidental, with the higest peak Cerro Barajas at 3,300 m (10,800 ft), and Sierra Madre Oriental, with the highest peak Cerro Potosí at 3,721 meter (12,208 ft).
16. Large Millimeter Telescope, the world's largest single-aperture telescope in its frequency range, is located at an altitude of 4850 meters on top of the Sierra Negra, the fifth highest peak in Mexico.
17. Nevado de Colima or Tzapotépetl (3,820 m (12,533 ft)) is one of the North America’a most active volcanoes. The last explosion happened on January 18, 2017, when the eruption spewed volcanic ash up to 4 km (13,123 feet) above the crater.
18. One of the North Americas’s greatest landmarks - the giant system of gorges called Barrancas del Cobre, or Copper Canyon, is located in the The Sierra Madre Occidental. The canyon is more than 1,829 meters (6,000 feet) deep in some places.