Mexico / Central Mexico / Veracruz
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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Coffee, Petroleum, and Nice People

The federal state of Veracruz on the Mexican Gulf coast is certainly one of the most diverse states of Mexico. Veracruz, the seaport of the same name (which is also known as Veracruz Puerto) fascinates the visitor by its harbor promenade of several kilometers’ length as well as by people who are always friendly and do not miss any festivity.

The old fort at the exit of the harbor testifies, to this very day, to the importance the town had as an import and export metropolis on Mexico’s eastern coast.

El Tajín, on the other hand, is a true archeological jewel of architecture. It may be fortunate that this fairly unknown archeological zone does not lie on the main route of foreign tourists, since it would certainly be as overcrowded as the better known sites of Chichén Itzá or Uxmal in that case. The Totonacs’ capital is assumed to have been founded in the first century BC. It was dedicated to the gods of the wind – Huracán – and of lightnings – Tajín. After having had its heyday in the 8th century, the town was finally abandoned in the 12th century. Apart from the Pyramid of the Niches with its 365 niches (corresponding to one solar year), El Tajín is particularly famous for the voladores, who perform a Totonac fertility ritual. Five men symbolize the sun and the four winds and, hanging head downward from ropes, slowly descend to the earth by circling a tree trunk more than 26 m (85 ft.) high. The courageous adolescents wear their typical white-red costume while performing this feat.

The archeological museum of Xalapa is considered to be second in importance among such museums in Mexico. Its focus is on pre-Columbian civilizations along the Gulf coast – in particular that of the Olmecs. The modern, timeless architecture of the museum provides a perfect setting for the unique exposits.