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    · a Mexico City
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    · Frida Kahlo
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Mexico , a beautiful nation located in Central America , is a country of "large numbers." For example, its coastline of splendid beaches washed by crystal clear water is over 10.000 km in length. Its population is almost one hundred million people and there are over 50 spoken American Indian dialects that represent a colourful universe, where numerous traditions have mixed throughout the centuries thus creating an incredible culture. However, what the numbers cannot tell is the exhilarating environment experienced in Mexican soil and the strong emotions perceived in front of wonderful archaeological sites that carry the memory of the most important pre-Colombian civilizations. The Mayan ruins, the Aztec temples and the rests of all the ancient settlements and civilizations that have lived in Mexico take you on a fantastic trip to the past. History talks about a country whose destiny was changed after the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores and that was "turned on" when the peasant's revolted against the unequal distribution of wealth. The chronicle of the guerrillas that armed the desperate poor people with guns started in 1910 with Emiliano Zapata and arrives to our days with the Comandante Marcos and his struggle for a better Chiapas less than 10 years ago. Today, Mexico is a country that welcomes millions of tourists from around the world at its many international airports and places them in world class hotels. These tourists come to Mexico every year to discover the naturel beauties of the country and leave enchanted by the magic of the many archaeological treasures. Mexico remains a state full of contradictions that works hard for economical stability wisely led by the democratic president Vicente Fox.

Stemma nazionale
El Castillo
Although the first settlements date back to an earlier time, the origin of the first pre-Columbian civilization is thought to be the year 1500 b.C. To the most ancient society, the Olmecs, we owe the origins of the Mexican calendar and the writing system. In Mexican land there have been four identified civilizations: Teotihuacán, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec, a civilization of great warriors that was surprisingly conquered by a rather small group of Spanish Conquistadores led by Hernan Cortez. The Conquistadores, that were friendly welcomed and considered divinities by the Aztecs, did not hesitate to destroy the cities of the empire and to exterminate the American-Indians that populated them.
In the year 1520, Mexico becomes the New Spain , a vice-kingdom of the Iberian Monarchy. History had to wait until 1810 to witness the first local rebellion against the Spanish policies of exploitation and until 1821 for the declaration of independence. Subsequently, Mexico is defeated by the United States (1848) and the country loses a large portion of its territory, including Texas . Following this defeat comes a time of French intervention when the European nation conquers the country and grants it to Maximilian of Austria (1863). He is removed from power a few years later. The most important political figure of this time is Porfirio Diaz that holds the power from 1876 to 1911, while the most important events is the revolution of 1910, led by Emiliano Zapata, that fought for a more equal distribution of wealth. The conflict between the upper class and the Indians did not end there. In 1994 the region of Chiapas witnesses a bloody war between local guerrillas and the national army. The Armed forces did not hesitate to violently suppress the efforts of the subversive groups led by the Comandante Marcos. The victory of the National Action Party (PAN) in the year 2000 and the election of Vicente Fox as president marked an end to the long control by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). This change in power opened once again avenues for dialogue between the government and the guerrillas. Among the outstanding goals of the Mexican government, one of the most important ones is still to solve the " Chiapas issue".
General Information

Population: 97.362.000
Surface Area: 1.964.375 km2
Capital: Mexico City (Population 8.500.000 people)
Language: Official: Spanish. However, there are over 50 Indian languages spoken in Mexico
Currency: Mexican Peso.
Time Zone: The southern region: GMT -7hours. The northern region of Baja California , Chihuahua , and Sonora ( Western Mexico ): GMT - 6Hours. The rest of the southern region, the middle and the eastern region: GMT -5 hours.
Religion: Roman Catholic.
Travel Documentation: A valid passport is required to enter the country. Also, a "Tourist Card," that can be obtained at the Mexican General Consulate and major travel agencies, is needed. Usually, if you go to Mexico on an organized tour, the card is included and can be filled out in the airplane. For visits of less than 30 days, a visa is not required. The above mentioned formalities are not required for visits to the cities located near the US border.

Distance between the capital and the most important Mexican cities

Mexico City- Puebla : 128 km
Mexico City- Palenque : 1.004 km
Mexico City- Guadalajara : 550 km
Mexico City- Merida : 1.525 km
Mexico City- Morelia : 313 km
Mexico City- Cancun : 2.200 km
Mexico City- Oaxaca : 530 km
Mexico City- Queretaro : 225 km

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