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On the trail of the Mayans and Aztecs

date of entry 10/03/1999
mileage 249,010

capital Mexico City

area 1.972.550 km²

population 120.286.655

GDP 1.154 Bill. US-Dollar

official language Spanish

The only word for Mexico is simply "big", according to Gunther Holtorf. He is referring not only to Mexico City, which has more than 21 million inhabitants, but also to the country’s vast interior. Both the Popocatepetl volcano and, especially, the historical Mayan sites left a lasting impression. At that time, it was still relatively easy to drive through the country, but today it has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Parts of the country are controlled by criminal gangs.
  • The after-effects of a Caribbean hurricane: damaged cars stuck in the sand.
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  • Popocatepetl: the name is Aztec in origin and means a heavily-smoking mountain. The volcano is about 70 kilometres from Mexico City.
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  • Jacaranda trees in blossom on a residential street. A lone rider took a look at Otto.
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  • A Mexican mountain village with a large church.
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  • The places of worship usually also had splendid interiors.
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  • Surfers and swimmers enjoying themselves on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
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  • A plantation containing sisal agaves. The fibres of the leaves are used to make ropes, yarn, carpets and floor covering.
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  • Mexico has relics of the Maya, whose advanced civilisation ended in the 9th century AD, and of the Aztecs, who flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries.
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  • A leguan enjoying the sun’s rays on the stones of a pyramid.
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  • The front view of the Pyramid of the Sun. Teotihuacán is one of the most significant ruined cities in Mexico and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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  • The Street of the Dead in Teotihuacán.
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  • The Teatro Degollado is the theatre of the city of Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco. It stands on the Plaza de la Liberacion in the centre of the city.
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  • Beach huts on Baja California, a peninsula that extends far into the Pacific and has its own climate.
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  • Sunset on the beach.
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  • Lunch break among small cacti in the desert.
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  • In sheltered spots, the cacti grew to an immense height.
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  • Near the beach, many houses were built on stilts.
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  • Again and again, the Holtorfs chose deserted routes through the primeval forest.
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  • Villagers getting ready for a festival in a mountain village.
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  • The young ladies in one village had identical hairstyles. The only difference was the colour of their ribbons.
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  • A beach on the Yucatán Peninsula.
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  • Video: Mexico – a journey through Mayan sites and rows of hotels