Culture

Mexico City Is One Of The Most Interesting Places In The World. Here Are The Facts That Prove It

Whether you’re the kind of person that enjoys learning new things or you just want to know where to visit on your next trip to the city. Here are 20 Mexico City Facts that might prove not only interesting but could also be quite useful when trying to impress someone you like… or don’t like.

1. Bosque de Chapultepec is the biggest city park in America.

Credit: Bosque de Chapultepec. Digital Image. Inspirato Destinations. April 5, 2017.

It has an area of 1,695 acres making it twice the size of Central Park, which is 840 acres.

2. Mexico City is America’s oldest city.

Credit: Templo Mayor Archeological Site. Digital Image. TripSavy. January 31, 2018.

It was founded in 1325, which makes it over 700 years old.

3. Castillo de Chapultepec is the only Royal Castle in America.

Credit: Chapultepec Castle. Digital Image. Branipick. March 22, 2018.

The castle was built in 1788 as the Spanish Viceroy’s summer house and then later used by Emperor Maximilian I and his wife Empress Carlota in 1864.

4. Many Hollywood movies were filmed in the city.

Credit: Romeo + Juliet. 20th Century Fox

The most famous of all was Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, some of the locations for the film were Castillo de Chapultepec as the Capulet Mansion and the Parish of the Most Pure Heart of Mary as Saint Peter’s Church. Other more recent blockbusters include James Bond’s Spectre and Elysium.

5. It’s the 2nd most populated city in Latin America and 7th in the world.

Credit: Mexico City. Digital Image. SkyScraperCity. March 24, 2013.

It has 21.4 million people placing it after cities like Tokyo (38.3M), Delhi (27.9M), Shanghai (25.8M), Beijing (22.8M), Mumbai (22M) and Sao Paolo (21.7M).

6. It will be the 8th richest city in the world by 2020.

Credit: Paseo de la Reforma. Digital Image. SkyScraperCity. September 1, 2016.

With an estimated GDP of $608 billion dollars it will reach #8 and be placed after Tokyo ($1,602B), New York ($1,561B), Los Angeles ($886B), London ($708B), Chicago ($645B), and Paris ($611B).

7. The subway system is the 2nd largest in America and the 9th most used in the world.

Credit: Rush Hour. Digital Image. Publimetro. December 11, 2017.

Only topped by the New York City Subway. The Mexico City Metro has 12 lines, 195 stations, covers over 140 miles and it’s used by 5.5M people per day.

8. The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is one of the biggest in the world & it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Credit: UNAM. Digital Image. SkyScraperLife. July 19, 2016.

Within its 30.2M sq. foot of constructed area, you’ll find several murals made by famous Mexican artists like Diego Rivera. The University has over 300,000 students and has an acceptance rate of only 8%.

9. La Alameda Central was the 1st urban park in America

Credit: Alameda Central. Digital Image. AltoNivel. November 9, 2017.

It was built in 1592 and it’s adjacent to the Palace of Fine Arts.

10. Between 10 to 13 million people visit Mexico City per year.

Credit: Día de los Muertos Parade. Digital Image. AltoNivel. October 30, 2016.

Over 20% of those are international tourists. Mexico as of 2016 is the 9th most visited country in the world with approximately 35M international per year.

11. It’s one of the cities with more museums in the world.

Credit: Museo Soumaya. Digital Image. Centro Urbano. May 27, 2015.

There are approximately 151 officially recognized museums and over 200 unrecognized ones. According to TripAdvisor, it’s on place no. 11 worldwide.

12. It’s in the Top 5 of most sustainable cities in Latin America.

Credit: Via Verde. Digital Image. Expok. July 12, 2016.

It’s placed at #4 (after Sao Paolo, Rio, and Santiago) and #58 worldwide.

12. The city is sinking.

Credit: Sinking Buildings. Digital Image. Plumas Atómicas. February 20, 2018.

Mexico City is sinking an average of 2.5 to 40cm per year, depending on the area of town. This is happening because the city is built on top of a lake and the because of the extraction of water from the city’s aquifers due to the fast increasing of human consumption.

14. La Basílica de Guadalupe is the 2nd most visited Catholic sanctuary after the Vatican.

Credit: Basílica de Guadalupe. Digital Image. El Universal. December 12, 2014.

It receives over 14M visitors per year. Just in 2017,  for Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe) they reach a new record of 7M visitors in just 1 day.

15. There are at least 9 archeological zones in the city.

Credit: Tenayuca Pyramid. Digital Image. Wikipedia Photo Library. May 1, 2008.

The most important are El Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco, Cuicuilco, Pirámide de Ehecatl, Santa Cruz Acalpixca, Tenayuca, Cerro de la Estrella, Mixcoac, and Mazatepetl.

Read: 20 Best Hotels & Resorts in México For Your Next Luxe Vacation

16. In ancient times, the city was already one of the most populated cities in the world.

Credit: Tenochtitlán. Digital Image. Mexican Routes. October  17, 2017.

Having as much as 350,000 people by the early 1500s. At the time, Its population was only comparable with European cities like Paris or Venice. It was also speculated that it was 5 times the size of London during the reign of Henry VIII.

Read: 21 Airbnbs In Mexico That’ll Sweep You Into Another Dimension

17. The city has won over 400 Guinness Records.

Credit: Spencer Tunick. Digital Image. The City Paper. May  8, 2016.

A few of the most notable ones are: The Biggest Flower Carpet in the World, The Largest Group of People Dancing Thriller, The Largest Group of Naked People in Public, The Biggest Vintage Cars Parade, The Largest Group of People Kissing.

18. It has the 3rd largest soccer stadium in the world.

Credit: Estadio Azteca. Digital Image. Goal.com. October  19, 2017.

Estadio Azteca Stadium has a seating capacity of 95,500 people, placing it at #3 after Rungardo May Stadium in North Korea with a capacity of 150,000 and Camp Nou in Barcelona with a capacity of 99,300.

Read: These Are Definitely The 24 Biggest Soccer Stars Of All Time

19. Mexico City is 2.25 KM above sea level.

Credit: Cerro del Ajusco. Digital Image. Goal.com. March  2, 2017.

The city’s highest peak is el Cerro del Ajusco with an altitude of almost 4 KM above sea level.

20. The Axolotl can only be found in Mexico City.

Credit: Cerro del Ajusco. Digital Image. Goal.com. March  2, 2017.

The Axolotl is 100% Mexican as can only be found in Lake Xochimilco. This endangered creature is known worldwide due to its weird looks and because of its ability to grow back its limbs after they have been cut off.

Hundreds Protest After Teen Girls Accuse Mexico City Police of Rape

Fierce

Hundreds Protest After Teen Girls Accuse Mexico City Police of Rape

Warning: This story is contains accounts of sexual assault, and can be disturbing to some of our readers.

Two weeks ago, four police officers were accused of raping a 17-year-old-girl in their patrol car. Two days later, another officer was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in a museum. Friday night, protesters took to Mexico City streets armed with pink glitter and spray paint to demand justice for the teenagers, and all femicide victims in Mexico. The next day, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, the city’s first female mayor, announced the suspension of six police officers implicated in the first case. The officer on patrol at the museum has been arrested.

Still, after nearly a century of living under a police force that women are taught to fear, the women who started the #NoMeCuidanMeViolan (“They don’t take care of me, they rape me”) movement are demanding a declaration of a gender alert in the capital, and tangible action to end femicide.

An estimated 300 women flooded Mexico City streets, and even covered Mexico City’s Secretary in pink glitter.

@rosepetalflufff / Twitter

One officer had been arrested on the grounds of rape the day before the protest, but the four who allegedly gang raped a minor in their patrol car were still active duty on the force at the time of Friday night’s protests.

Signs from the protest ranged from, “My friends protect me, not the police,” to “Sailor Moon taught me that you can kill monsters with glitter.”

The women ended the march at the Angel monument, where they raised their held hands up high.

@AndreaMireille / Twitter

The Angel monument celebrates the independence of Mexico from Spain, and is the chosen setting for quinceañera photo shoots, and town celebrations. The monument is a symbol of justice and freedom.

The protesters didn’t feel heard by the government, so they made sure the public hears them.

@BirbFree / Twitter

The base of the Angel monument was covered in “Kill the Patriarchy” and “Rape State” phrases, along with a pink feminist symbol on the culo of the lion. By morning, city workers had already begun power washing and repainting the base, now barricaded from view by a wooden wall.

A spokesperson for the National Fine Arts Institute said they were assessing the damage, and that the institute “respects freedom of speech and offers support for actions to eradicate all forms of violence against women.”

Police body-barricaded the doors of their station after protesters spray painted “RAPISTS” on its windows.

@gringatears / Twitter

In a statement, Mayor Sheinbaum said she perceived the protest as a “provocation.” Sheinbaum thinks the protesters “wanted the government to respond with violence. But we’re not going to do that.” The protests ended five hours later around 11 p.m. when paramedics arrived to treat the injured, 14 of whom were police officers. Sheinbaum has said that there will be consequences for the violence.

The most recent rape cases ignited the fire of an already explosive rage beneath the surface for women in Mexico.

@solehdad / Twitter

The United Nations estimates that an average of nine women are murdered every day in Mexico. The UN defines femicide as the deliberate killing of a woman or girl because of their gender, often after other violent, sexual crimes.

The Mexican government’s records of femicide rates are so inaccurate, journalist María Salguero, 40, has taken it upon herself to create her own map of femicides in Mexico. Salguero suspects that the state seeks to minimize gender-based violence, so she tracks the femicides for herself. Using Google alerts, Salguero records all of Mexico’s femicidal horror stories of 11-year-old taking the bus home and being found in the very same bus the next day, raped and murdered.

Mexican police have a long history of brutality against women.

@occupyoccupy / Twitter

“In the late 90s cops kidnapped three girls, three underage girls,” tweets one #NoMeCuidanMeViolan protester. “They raped them, and forced them to clean, cook and do stuff for them. One of them escaped and that’s how this was known. The three families however experienced retaliation.”

These stories are embedded in the fabric of Mexican society. Women have taken to social media to share the lessons their mothers taught them: to run from police. Never make eye contact. “Police are well known in #MexicoCity for being the main source of violence and corruption,” a protester tweets. “In 100 years since the establishment is #Mexico as we know it, no one has brought the police to account.”

Other teenagers have taken to social media to deliver chilling anticipatory goodbyes to their families.

@homeak / Twitter

If Human Rights Watch says Mexican laws do not adequately protect women and girls against domestic and sexual violence,” and law enforcement is actively raping young girls, how could they possibly feel safe?

To those more upset over vandalism than the violation of women’s bodies and lives, here’s your translation for the above graffiti: “The walls can be cleaned, but the girls will never return.”

#NoMeCuidanMeViolan protesters do not want to be compared to #MeToo.

@giselilla / Twitter

“This week in #Mexico feminists protested against the rape of a 17-year old by cops,” tweeted human rights lawyer and journalist, Gisela Pérez de Acha. “As justice is non-existent and the media criminalizes victims, the #MeToo hashtag does not suffice. Latin American feminisms are amazingly organized. #MeToo is not our paradigm #NoMeCuidanMeViolan”

Pérez de Acha is right. In the aftermath of the march, major media outlets’ reporting has focused on the damage from protesters, rather than from police officers.

Some protesters knew the media would bypass the femicide and rape crisis and focus on property damage.

@gringatears / Twitter

After coming home from the march, one protester tweeted their “final thoughts” about what tomorrow would bring. “Tomorrow’s headlines will inevitably emphasize the destruction of property by women protesting Mexico’s crisis of rape and femicide.”

Mexico’s largest media outlet, El Universal, chose to focus on the counter-protesters, “With hashtag #EllasNoMeRepresentan [They don’t represent me] condemn acts of vandalism during feminist march.” ABC News‘ headline read “Mexico City assesses monument damage after anti-rape march.” The Independent‘s headline chose to focus on a “TV presenter punched live on air during protest.”

So far, the media has quoted more art historians than protesters.

@rosepetalflufff / Twitter

In fact, in all the major U.S. outlets we reviewed, we haven’t seen a single protester quoted in their stories. Instead of spreading more statements from art historians, mitú is aiming to amplify the voices that make up #NoNosCuidanNosViolan.

“I’m thinking about who the media criminalizes and how,” Mexico City journalist Madeleine Wattenbarger tweets. “About what we consider violence, about how the symbolic violence of breaking a window has more impact than the direct violence of attacking, raping, killing a human being.”

Estamos contigo, México. ✊🏾

@madeleinewhat / Twitter

The case involving four police officers allegedly raping a 17-year-old in a patrol car has gone cold after prosecution said there were inconsistencies in the teen victim’s testimony.

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

Culture

Puerto Vallarta Has Long Been An LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destination And Here’s Why

ThatGayGringo / Instagram

Puerto Vallarta is one of the favorite Mexican tourist destinations of the LGBT community. There are hotels, bars, nightclubs, beaches, and even drinks specifically for LGBT travelers, and due to the safety and welcoming environment for these guests, it is the first city in Mexico to receive the Gay Travel Approved distinction by GayTravel.com.

But why PV? What made Vallarta Mexico’s top gay destination?

Let’s start back at the beginning.

Credit: thatgaygringo / Instagram

In the south of Puerto Vallarta you will find the “Old Town,” also called “The Romantic Zone,” the tourist area favored by expats and foreigners who want to soak up local traditions. The Old Puerto Vallarta is also considered the gay neighborhood since 1980, when the gay community and retired Canadians and Americans bought land and properties in order to create gay-friendly businesses. Today there’s a wide variety of attractions with this focus, including bars, restaurants, stores, nightclubs, and both budget and boutique hotels.

In this zone is nestled the popular beach Playa de los Muertos, which, although not exclusively gay, for the last 20 years has been known as a gay-friendly beach (also called Blue Chairs, because of the many blue chairs placed by a gay resort which bears the same name), mainly in the high season, from November to March.

Why is this pristine beach the LBGT meeting point? Because the gay-friendly beachfront hotels in the area causes—and guarantees—a concentration of LGBT tourists, bringing a multicultural ambience where members of this community will be respected without discrimination. In the morning they can socialize and enjoy the party atmosphere, and in the afternoon walk holding hands under the dazzling sunset, in a romantic atmosphere free of hostility. Such is the high demand for LGBT-friendly vacation spots that the area has been extended to include the green chairs and as far as the north coast, in the elegant Oceano Sapphire Beach Club, owned by gays.

But it’s about more than just the beach.

Credit: David Stanley / Flickr

Unlike certain countries, laws against homosexuality never existed in Mexico. There is, however, a strong macho culture and religious influence which disapproves it—nonetheless the locals show respect. Under these circumstances, the growing community has led LGBT organizations to work to promote a change of culture in the pursuit of equality. Their work has gotten results: they have achieved recognition of gay rights, and implemented laws against the provocation and incitement of hate or violence against LGBTs, and also to guarantee equality in employment and public accomodation and services. Even more, in 2013 Puerto Vallarta legalized civil union between LGBT couples, followed by same-sex marriage in 2016.

This city organized its first Gay Pride March, and has hosted the Pink & Proud Women’s Party—the equivalent lesbian celebration—for the last four years, with assistance from the local Canadian and American communities. The multiple events in support of the LGBT community have marked out Puerto Vallarta as the “Mexican San Francisco.”

Now, there’s a giant and flourishing LGBTQ tourism industry that welcomes people from around the world.

Credit: Kristopher Roller / Unsplash

For the last 10 years, the number of LGBT visitors has increased in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco, and in order to meet demand, the number of LGBT-friendly resorts and touristic attractions has also increased. Now three of every 10 hotels in Puerto Vallarta are LGBT-friendly, and most also offer weddings and other symbolic ceremonies.

Bars, nightclubs and other amenities are already focused on this market, and there are also tours—like the Gay VIP Bars Tour—and even drinks—like the Gay Tequila and the Gay Energy Drink—to make these guests feel extra welcome. As a result, Puerto Vallarta now hosts International LGBT Business Expos, with important conferences and events, including fashions shows, beach parties and music festivals to celebrate this booming market.

Puerto Vallarta remains the gateway to Mexico for many LGBTQ travelers.

Credit: kwhigam / Flickr

Some other cities have recognized the demand, and are now attempting to attract LGBT tourism to their destinations. Puerto Vallarta is not letting it happen: diverse businesses—no matter the sexual preference—are joining forces to create organizations to promote this targeted brand of tourism. The market gives consumers what they want, and they have identified this growing target and will not let it go.

Beyond the marketing, Puerto Vallarta became a platform to support gay rights, and the LGBT community knows it and feels welcome here. What really keeps the LGBT community hitting Puerto Vallarta is the activism, respect, and freedom they find in this beautiful paradise.

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