If you look up the top things to do in all of Mexico on TripAdvisor, you’re going to find that the first on the list is the National Museum of Anthropology. Why? Because Mexico is just so full of history and to understand it all, you should start somewhere.
So that’s where my first day in Mexico started. Off to the National Museum of Anthropology right besides one of the lungs of Mexico city – Chapultepec Park.
This isn’t going to be a blurt about Mexican history, but more so, how it’s living. I’ve already gone through the fact that the whole megacity is sinking (OMG!) and that’s live, but how did the people get to where they are today.
Mexico has a multitude of indigenous groups around the country. Today many descend from these beginnings. This museum displays a little history about each of them with a variety of archeological artefacts and anthropological memoirs.
Let’s start with an obvious one -Teotihuacan. In the museum there is a huge outdoor model of the layout of Teotihuacan -an ancient Mesoamerican city, a.k.a pyramids. So during my time in the capital city, I took a day trip to the real living place. These Mesoamericanas are native to a few states in the middle of Mexico and to celebrate their religious unison, they built this urban centre consisting of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Avenue of the Dead that leads to another Pyramid of the Moon. However, the exact name of these people is a bit of mystery. No one is really sure who they were.
Today this is well visited and a World Heritage Site protecting what was built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D. It’s cherished for its magnificence and geometrical structure. In fact, the Mexicans really value this construction and have mimicked its layout in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (one of the country’s best universities… after what I claim to be the best -the Tec de Monterrey.)
Back to the museum, another of it’s highlights is the Aztec Sandstone, a.k.a the Aztec Calendar Stone. The Aztecs came around 1000 years after the people of Teotihuacan but are also from the same region in Mexico. I feel like the Aztec Calendar is well heard of, at least by name if nothing else. Honestly, I don’t understand it much, apart from the fact that it describes the 365 days and the varying rituals they were expected to participate in. But it’s always exciting when something ancient is accidentally unearthed. It was only discovered a bit more then two centuries ago in the fixing of the Zocalo -Mexico City’s main square.
Next, let’s look at a more minor detail. This is something probably not 100% accurate, but based on my personal experience, living with three boys from Hermosillo, it’s something I’m going to point out. Strolling through the museum, Mel comes to the section on the indigenous people from the North – the Yaquis and she sees this sign:
It means nothing really, because wouldn’t that be more of a personally developed characteristic? If you’re loud that’s just your voice and if you’re strong that’s just your workout. But it applies to the boys from the north who I lived with -one in particular, he was pretty strong and if he was talking to someone right next to him, I could still hear him as I opened the front gate of the property, three floors below.
Lastly, I can’t forget about the Mayans. Their living representation is in fact considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Chichen Itza. This was the political and economical ‘hub’ of the Mayan civilisation, located in the very south of the country, Yucatan. Today it isn’t too far off. In comparison to Teotihuacan, it was thriving -market sellers everywhere. But perhaps that had something to do with the fact that there was so much more shade in Chichen Itza and not just an open sunny place like Teotihuacan. The museum dedicates a whole room to the Mayans, with varying murals and sculptures depicting the Mayan lifestyle.
Honestly the museum was huge and we didn’t even get through it all. Close to three hours later, we stopped to take a break from all the information. We weren’t necessarily stepping back into reality, because like all the history of this museum, it is still very prominent in Mexico today. In fact, in the park just outside the museum, we watched the Danza de los Voladores -an ancient Mesoamerican ceremony believed to have originated with the Nahua, Huastec and Otomi people in central Mexico.