Mexico is one of the most vibrant and beautiful countries in the world. It’s popular for its culture, spicy dishes, amazing beaches and ancient relics that are thousands of years old. Yet there’s so much we don’t know about it! The history of bullfighting, the origin of chocolate and chili, the infamous Tabasco sauce that’s named after a Mexican state, but is actually produced in the U.S. – these facts are only the tip of the iceberg that’s called ‘Mexico’. Here are a few things that will totally change your perception of this country.
Corn, Chocolate and Chilies
Meso-American people that lived on the territory of modern Mexico were the first ones to discover chocolate. Aztecs called it xocolatl, which means ‘bitter water’ in Nahuatl. They used this amazing drink for ceremonies and other religious purposes. Mayans even had a goddess of chocolate named Ixcacao (hence, the word ‘cacao’ was introduced into the English language). Central Mexico is also the first place where corn was cultivated. Chilies also came from this vibrant and prosperous country.
The ‘Ring of Fire’
Not many people know that Mexico is located in one of the most seismic-active zones on the planet. The Ring of Fire is home to the world’s most violent earthquakes and more than 450 active volcanoes. The most dangerous volcano in the world, the infamous Popocatépetl, is located just 70km from Mexico City and can easily be seen on a clear day.
The Sinking City
The capital of Mexico is in great danger. Due to the fact that it was built on the lake, the capital is slowly sinking, losing 15-20 cm each year. Since the beginning of the 20th century Mexico City has sunk almost 11 meters into the water. All of the city’s architectural splendor and historical sites are in danger of disappearing forever.
If you have a great number of people living in one place that are willing to do something crazy, then setting a weird record is a piece of cake. Go to Mexico City if you want to take part in a mind-blowing fleshmob and then get famous (or rather, make the city famous). Mexico City broke the record of the most people kissing all at the same time (almost 40,000) and the biggest enchilada ever created (weighing 1.5 tons).
Due to the Roman Catholic Church ties, most of Latin America remained quite conservative about same-sex relationships for decades. Yet nowadays Mexico is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. Mexico City even markets itself as a perfect destination for gay couples! Adoption by same-sex couples is legal here, as well as same-sex marriage.
Although the origin of the smallest dog breed in the world is still debated, everyone agrees that it came from one of Mexico’s states that bears the same name. There are a few legends surrounding this tiny dog, but most historians think that Chihuahuas are related to techichi, a small dog breed that was used as companions by the Toltecs.
It may be hard to believe at first, but Mexicans are one of the fattest nations in the world. 30% of the population is obese and more than half is overweight. Mexicans jokingly blame everything on ‘Vitamin T’ – tacos, tamales and tostadas. Yet the reports say that malnourishment and illnesses like diabetes are to blame.
Mexico is the only country in the world where you can observe the tiny volcano rabbit. This rare species lives on the territories close to the Mexican volcanoes. It is the second smallest rabbit in the world (after the Pygmy rabbit). It’s tiny, with round ears, short legs and thick fur.
Bullfighting is something that was introduced to Mexicans by the Spanish conquerors. Nowadays it has turned into a national sport and is enjoyed by millions of people all over the country. The Plaza de Toros México, situated in Mexico City, is the biggest bullfighting ring in the world and can accommodate up to 40,000 people. Bullfighting happens annually during winter and spring.
It’s not a secret that Mexico is packed with ancient pyramids and relics that are thousands of years old. Yet most people don’t know that Mexico is home to the biggest pyramid in the world – the Quetzalcoatl Pyramid. Located in Cholula, this pyramid is two times bigger than that of Cheops, which has the volume of 84,755,200 ft³.