Landmark Buildings, Popular Attractions
Veracruz, Central East, Mexico
The State of Veracruz is a very popular destination for Mexican tourists. Although its ruins and beaches are not as spectacular and stunning as other states, Veracruz offers a unique personality shown in its culture, history, music, and diverse geography, from the cool hills of the Sierra de los Tuxtlas, to the flat lowlands and the liveliness of Veracruz city. Before Hernán Cortés first disembarked in Veracruz, in 1519, this was the heart of the Olmec civilization, which prospered long before the rise of the Maya. Some of the most remarkable attractions and points of interest are the state's-best preserved ruins, at El Tajín near Papantla, the fascinating ritual of the voladores (fliers) of Papantla, and the vibrant, ethnic and dynamic city of Veracruz.
El Tajín Archeological Zone
El Tajín, which means in Totonac "thunder, lightning or hurricane" -express the highest degree of achievement in terms of art of any ancient city in the coastal area. Some theories attributed the site to be a town as well as a religious center to a settlement of Maya-related Huastecs. El Tajín was first occupied about 100 AD, although it reached its peak from between AD 600 and 1200. During this time, hundreds of structures of native sandstone were built here, sculptures showing human sacrifices, including temples, eleven ball courts, double-storied palaces, and hundreds of houses. Some of the most remarkables structures are the Pyramid of the Niches; the ball courts, where the sacred ball games were played; and El Tajín Chico, the secular part of the city, administrative and residential. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission: 2.5 USD.
Museo de Antropología de Jalapa (Xalapa)
The museum, one of the best museums in Mexico, is devoted to the archaeology of Veracruz State. It is a treasure trove of artifacts from the three main pre-Hispanic cultures of Veracruz: Huastec, Totonac, and Olmec. The exhibits are in a series of galleries amd courtyards. Its three sections are filled with magnificent stone Olmec heads, carved stelae and offering bowls, terra-cotta jaguars and cross-eyed gods, cremation urns in the forms of bats and monkeys, Totonac murals and life-sized sculptures of women who died in childbirth. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Monday. Admission: 1.25 USD.
Fort of San Juan de Ulúa
Built to prevent the attacks by pirates, this fortress protecting Veracruz harbour was the last territory in Mexico to be held by the Spanish Royalists. The fort is a miniature city, a maze of moats, passageways, battlements, stairways, drawbridges, and ramps. The original walls were made of sand, oyster shells and ground coral. The fort was also used as a prison. Open between 9 am to 4:30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday. Admission: 2 USD.
Mexico Regional Landmarks
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