Travels with V

Mexico

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Avenue of the Dead, Frida & Leon

Mexico City part three

There are quite a lot of excavated ancient temples in Mexico, but the one most accessible from the metropolitan area is Teotihuacán, famous for its two pyramids the temple of the sun and the temple of the moon. Between them is a broad walkway called “the Avenue of the Dead”. The most unique about Teotihuacán i9s some of its decorations. Here are walls with painted patterns and pillars with reliefs showing feathered mythological creatures.

Teotihuacán was in its heydays between 300 – 600 AD the biggest city on the American continent, with ca  120 000 inhabitants. They had trading contacts with Tenochtitlan (that became Mexico City) and Tikal in neighbouring Guatemala. It is believed that the city met its fate in the form of a rebellion against the ruling elite around 700 AD. Teotihuacán was abandoned, and when Aztecs some hundred years later rediscovered it they were convinced that it was built by the gods.

Quite recently archeologists have made some stunning discoveries here and found tunnels running under the big pyramids. In the tunnels there were placed lots of artefacts, probably they were offerings to the gods. 

TEMPLE OF THE SUN FROM THE FRONT

There is one dramatic incident in Aztec mythology that seems central, it’s depicted on many stone reliefs.  A high priestess, Coatlicue miraculously became pregnant after a ceremony with a doll. Her daughter Coyolxāuhqui was furious arguing that her mother had shamed the family. She and her 400 brothers attacked Coatlicue, who suddenly gave birth to a full grown and equipped warrior that stopped the attack and killed the brothers. Coyolxāuhqui was also killed, her body ripped apart and thrown off the palace wall. You can see the body parts on the picture below. It is believed that it should be seen as a tribute to the warrior who was uplifted and became god of war. 

HERE IS WHERE THE STONE WAS PLACED, BUT THIS ONE IS A COPY
THIS IS THE ORIGINAL STONE, SEEN IN THE TEMPLO MAYOR MUSEUM

Back in Mexico City two quite special experiences await us in the district Coyoacán, reached by riding the Metro south. In this quiet suburban villa area queues are always long in front of a startling blue house with a lush garden.

This is Casa Azul where the world famous artist Frida Kahlo lived and worked. Her husband Diego Riviera also worked here, but Frida who was disabled by polio in her childhood didn’t share Diego’s grand gesture manifestations, she explored her emotional experiences and expressed them symbolically, often as self portraits. She found inspiration in Mexican folk art, especially from the southern province of Oaxaca. In the museum everything is preserved, from the blue-and-yellow kitchen to her studio and her day bed where her death mask is placed.

FRIDA'S KITCHEN

And just a few blocks away lived and died a good friend of Frida and Diego, his house is also now a museum. This was the Russian revolution leader Leo Trotsky’s house, and here an agent working for his arch-enemy Josef Stalin killed him with a pick axe. Trotsky had been a fugitive in Turkey and Norway before finding this sanctuary in Mexico City, and here he could read, write and feed his rabbits. But he was aware of the danger, the house has bricked up windows, walls with watchtowers, steel plated doors, and in the bedroom there are bullet holes from a previous murder attempt. 

STEEL PLATE REINFORCED DOOR
LEO AND NATALIA'S TOMB

Speaking of revolutionaries Mexico has has had a fair share of those. In the legendary Café Havanna in Mexico City Che Guevara and the Castro brothers sat more than one night making plans for the Cuban revolution. It’s a classic old café and on the walls are photos of places we recognize. 

Resebloggar finns det gott om men vi har en lite annan tanke med våra berättelser. Vi vill främst beskriva våra upplevelser av udda platser, människorna vi möter och miljöer som är rätt annorlunda mot vad vi möter hemma.

Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

Den som vill ha restips får också sitt - varje resmål har en avdelning med sånt vi kan rekommendera. Eller undvika. Vårt fokus är framför allt att sporra er läsare att göra som vi - resa rätt ut i den vida världen.