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Quincentenary of the Spanish Conquest & Bicentenary of Mexican Independence

2021 marks the 500th anniversary of the Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs. Although Mexico became a cornerstone of the Spanish Empire, its peoples and their ways of life, both colonial and indigenous, took on characters of their own and, in 1821, Mexico seized its independence. Tropical Mexico, along with western Central America, is one of the world's hearths of civilization. A distinctive tradition coalesced 4000 years ago and gave rise, in Central Mexico, to the Olmecs, Teotihuacan, the so-called Toltecs and then the Aztecs, while the Maya, to the east, developed their own version of the same way of life. Spanish imperialism almost ended that history, but it is obvious in the country’s diet and customs and in the complexions of the majority, that 'Mexico profundo' endures. Albeit nearly drowned out by Spanish, modern versions of the Aztec language persist.

Our tour explores both the Aztecs' antecedents and the rise of their own empire. We will visit the mighty ruined city of Teotihuacan, where the Aztecs themselves placed the beginning of the world, and Tula, supposed capital of the Toltecs, whom Aztecs identified as Golden Age ancestors. The enigma of the Aztecs is that, alongside their accomplishments as engineers, artists and philosophers, they took imperialist plunder and the ancient rite of human sacrifice to such extremes that their neighbours' resentments fed into the hands of the Conquistadores. We shall consider too, the survival of Aztec tradition after 1521 visiting colonial towns, their ornate churches and examples of the mines and industrial farms where so many of Mexico's indigenous people were exploited. Along the way, we will absorb the vibrant colours, foods and throbbing life of the region — which Aztec wisdom ascribed to the ground itself. Within a couple of weeks, foreigners too can feel it!

Tour highlights:

  • Explore the Aztecs' Great Temple set amidst the Colonial towers and surging crowds of today's metropolis
  • Boating amongst the Aztecs' 'floating gardens' at Xochimilco
  • Visit the rock-cut Aztec shrine at Malinalco and the 'paradise' murals in the monastery below
  • Admire lovely Guanajuato, gem of a Colonial city surrounded by the mines and farms that made it so affluent
Tour dates & prices

Included in your cost:

  • Expert Guide Lecturer
  • Professional Tour Manager
  • Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
  • Meals as per the itinerary, tea or coffee with dinner
  • Accommodation
  • Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
  • All taxes & gratuities
  • Field notes
Tour Enquiries

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