North of Mexico City

The setting of extraordinary and mysterious panoramas, the lands north of Mexico City have always featured heavily in the life, wars and dramas of the ancient Mesoamerican polities. Mighty Teotihuacán, whose influence reached well into the Mayan heartland, was once central Mexico's most formidable city-state, is as impressive today as it was 1000 years ago. Its vast pyramids, palaces and ornamented temples are a tribute to the grand vision and planning of its creators, whilst its successor, Toltec Tula, was home to militaristic traditions that would inspire generations of cities to come. Perhaps none were more awestruck by these twin civilizations than the Aztecs, who claimed lineage from the Toltecs, and believed, quite understandably, that Teotihuacán had once been inhabited by gods. Back in the realm of mortals, the town of Tepotzotlán, 43 km north of the capital, conceals a treasure of colonial history in the country's finest vice-regal museum. Baroque details, exuberant craftwork and dazzling gold leaf abound. But if you're looking to get off the beaten track, head to the bustling city of Pachuca, where you'll find a robust and slightly surreal tradition of Cornish pasty making. The real attractions here are the surrounding villages, punctuated by the remnants of mining communities, colonial haciendas and crumbling old convents. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Parque Nacional el Chico has refreshing pine forests and hiking trails.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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