5The Mexican flag in the background of the Angel of the Independence column in Mexico City.
6There are two possibilities that allow one to fall in love with Mexico: either you have to be very tolerant or you are forced to live there because you have no other choice. Joanna Kozinska Frybes, Polish Ambassador to Mexico 1997Charros
7StereotypesMexico to many foreigners and tourists means big sombreros, Indians riding donkeys, mariachi music and human sacrifices on top of pyramids practiced centuries ago.The Great Pyramid of CholulaThe biggest in the world
8MorenosToday those stereotypes also include the notion that Mexicans are drug traffickers and criminals. People of brown skin – Morenos are portrayed as lazy, drinking tequila and sleeping under a cactus.
9A joke from an American school: “How did you come to Texas, on a donkey?”
12Human sacrifices among the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan people were sacrificed by the Aztecs annually.Motives: blood and a heart considered centers of courage; to annihilate prisoners of war, spread fear among the enemies and vassals.
13The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan (25 miles from Mexico City) – the Totonaca state, and then Aztec occupied from 200 BC to 800 AD. 260 steps lead to the top of the temple for human sacrifices. The interior is made of solid stone blocks. It is the third greatest pyramid in the world after the Great Pyramid of Cholula, Puebla, Mexico and the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt.
15Wealth of landscapesIn Mexico you can find volcanoes, deserts, virgin beaches, indigenous villages, but also colonial towns in the shade of pyramids. Hernan Cortes, 1519, asked to describe the newly conquered land simply crumbled a sheet of blank paper and put it on a table.
21The Mexican United States 31 states + the Federal DistrictArea: 1,958,200 sq km or 756,065 sq milesPopulation 106 millionCapital city Mexico, population 20 million – the biggest city in the world90% catholicPatron Saint Our Lady of Guadalupe since 1531St. Prisca Cathedral in Taxco
22Virgin of Guadalupe Patron Saint of both Americas Reyna de Mexico – the Queen of Mexico
23La MorenitaAppeared to Indian Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City in 1531.John Paul II, the Polish Pope elevated Juan Diego to sainthood during his last trip to Mexico in 2002.Juan Diego is the first Indian saint on the American continent.
24Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, the old one and the new one as seen from the hill of Tepeyac.
27It’s said that there are 365 churches in Cholula (population 150 thousand). Some sources list 300 or 165. Tonantzintla Acatepec
28The church of Tonantzintla in the Mexican baroque style
29The Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de los Remedios (Church of Our Lady of the Remedies) from 1594 on top of the Great Pyramid of Cholula dedicated to the deity Quetzalcoatl
30The Franciscan Convent of St The Franciscan Convent of St. Gabriel – a church and a fortress from 1529 built on the ruins of the Quetzalcoatl shrine in Cholula.
31St. Gabriel Convent, a view from the top of the Great Pyramid.
32La Capilla Real (The Royal Chapel) from 1549 adjacent to the convent, built to celebrate mass for the Indians.
33Altars in farmers’ homes Saint Mary and next to Her witches’ memorabilia: herbs, seeds, amulets and pictures.
34At the Great Pyramid of Cholula, waiting in line to see a bruja – a witch doctor who cures body and soul on the day of the Spring equinox – witchcraft and the catholic beliefs coexist side by side.
35Catemaco in the state of Veracruz is a capital of shamans and witches.
36Expressing pride in the Indian traditions at the Great Pyramid of Cholula The ritual for Quetzalcoatl and the Aztec King
37Mexican historians struggle with the interpretation of the origins of their country and national identity. Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador and his Indian interpreter and lover Malinche are symbolically recognized as the mother and father of all Mexicans, but the attitude to them is ambiguous.Jose H. HelgueraClemente Orozco
38Population today 60% Mestizos 30% Indians belonging to over 50 tribes, each with a separate language, culture and traditions10% white, often the most privileged, richer and holding positions of power
39Felipe Calderon elected President of Mexico in 2006 for a six year term
40Children from San Agustin Calvario Mari Cruz, Lalo and Miriam
41Boys from the primary school in San Luis Tehuiloyocan, San Andres Cholula
42Graduation ceremony at a primary school in San Luis Tehuiloyocan
47Popocatepetl Iztacchihuatl Popocatepetl in Nahuatl, the Smoking Mountain. One of the most dangerous in the world.17,887 ft high, linked to Iztacchihuatl, the Sleeping Woman.Its crater has a diameter of 1,968 ft.It has became more active since 1994.
57Cholula and Quetzalcoatl Cholula – population 150 thousand, continuously existing as a city for 3000 years, the oldest in the Americas.La Gran Piramide de Cholula is the biggest structure in volume ever built by man in the world.It’s twice as big as the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.Seven pyramids one on top of the other.
58Quetzalcoatl in the Indian dialect Nahuatl means the Feathered Serpent, one of the most important deities personifying Venus, the god of wind, sunrise, the patron of science and knowledge. And also Cortes.
59La Gran Piramide de Cholula with the Church of Our Lady of the Remedies on top
60Aztec ritual dances on March 20th, the Spring equinox Aztec ritual dances on March 20th, the Spring equinox. The apogee of the Aztec Empire was in the 13th century AD.
62Voladores – the Totonac ritual asking the gods for rain and food abundance
63Natural disasters: volcano eruptions and earthquakes. The 6 Natural disasters: volcano eruptions and earthquakes. The 6.7 degree earthquake in Puebla on June 15, 1999
64Puebla de los Angeles 2 million inhabitants Founded in 1531 by the SpaniardsSister City of Lodz, Poland since 1997Famous for talavera, mole poblano (sauce made of chicken soup, chile and chocolate) and sweets Santa Clara
65Talavera is a type of majolica earthenware introduced by the Spaniards in 1653.
96Taxco The Silver Capital of Mexico One of Mexico’s most picturesque towns. Silverwork has long been a vital part of Taxco’s economy, thanks in large part to the American silversmith William Spratling.
103In San Francisco Cuapa with the family of Fermin Tochimani Day of the Dead is one of the most important celebrations, hard to understand by foreigners.Cemeteries are full of people, flowers, food and music waiting for the arrival of the souls.
107November 1st – Vigil of the Little Angels, a day devoted to the memory of deceased children.
108Christmas - celebrating Posada From December , Mexicans celebrate Posada, which means an inn.St. Mary and Joseph wander from one house to another looking for shelter before Christ is born.The hosts welcome them with parties, children play with pinatas symbolizing Satan.
110A manger in the courtyard in Cuernavaca. Christmas or NavidadA manger in the courtyard in Cuernavaca.Mexicans don’t have a custom of sharing wafers on Christmas Eve as they do in Poland, but they also set up mangers and sing carols.
111Poles in MexicoThe Mexican Polonia is small – about 1500 – 2000 people, mostly with higher education, who came in the seventies.They also include refugees from World War II who settled in Santa Rosa, Guanajuato in 1942, and their descendants.Polish musicians from Xalapa
112Polish Mexican Krakowiak dancers from Guanajuato
113Slawomir Mrozek a Polish writer lived at Rancho Epiphany near Puebla in the years 1990 - 1996
117Frida contracted polio at age six; had a congenital disease spina bifida; in 1925 suffered serious injuries in the bus accident after which she underwent 35 operations. She was in constant pain. Painted mostly self-portraits.
119The Monarch Butterfly Mariposa Monarca The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve located mostly in the state of Michoacan, created to protect the butterflies’ wintering habitat. The butterlies spend the summer in Canada and the United States and in late August begin flying back to Mexico over 2500 miles.
120The Aztec Calendar, or the Stone of the Sun, excavated in the Zocalo, Mexico City, on December 17, It measures 12 ft in diameter, 4 ft in thickness and weighs 24 tons, on display at Museo de Antropologia in Mexico City.