Why We Love the Mexicans

Tacos, the pyramids of Teotihuacán, Cinco de Mayo, Los Cabos, mariachi bands, Oscar De La Hoya and kayaking on the Sea of Cortez are a few reasons why we love the Mexicans.

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Chichen Itza is the largest known city of the Mayan civilization, located in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The powerful city flourished from AD 800 to 1200 and was a trading center for cloth, slaves, honey and salt. 960 1280

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The main attraction of Chichen Itza is the pyramid also known as El Castillo. Built sometime between 1000 and 1200, the pyramid was used as a temple to the god Kukulkan. Archaeologists believe that the pyramid also served as a calendar for the Mayas. In total it has 365 steps -- one for each day of the year. 960 1280

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The Christ the Redeemer statue stands at the top of the 2,330-foot-tall Corcovado Mountain, looming over the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 960 1280

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The 130-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ was completed in 1931 and is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone. It is one of the largest Art Deco statues in the world, and it weighs in at 2.5 million pounds. 960 1280

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The Roman Colosseum was built between AD 70 and 80, and it was in used for gladiatorial events, battle reenactments, animal hunts and other performances for 500 years. 960 1280

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The Colosseum sat nearly 50,000 spectators, and its design still influences the construction of modern-day amphitheaters. Earthquakes and stone-robbers have left the Colosseum in a state of ruin, but portions of the structure remain open to tourists. 960 1280

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The Great Wall of China, actually a series of many walls, stretches 5,500 miles across northern China. 960 1280

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Built between the 5th and 16th centuries BC to protect China's borders from invasion by nomadic tribes, the Great Wall is the world's longest manmade structure. 960 1280

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Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca archaeological site, sits 7,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is often referred to as the 'Lost City of the Incas,' because it was known only to locals until it was discovered in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham. 960 1280

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Archaeologists estimate that 1,200 Incas could have lived in Machu Picchu, although many believe it was most likely a retreat for Incan rulers, built as an estate for the emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472). 960 1280

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Petra, an archeological city in Jordan, is known for its dusty pink buildings carved out of rock and its impressive water conduit system. Built sometime around the 6th century BC, Petra was the capital city of the Nabataeans. 960 1280

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The entrance to the city of Petra is through a narrow gorge, flanked on either side by 250-foot cliffs. The most recognizable building in Petra is the Treasury, carved completely out of rock as a tomb for a Nanataean king. The building's façade stands almost 150 feet high. 960 1280

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Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was so distraught by the passing of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, that he commissioned an elaborate mausoleum to be built for her. The Taj Mahal shines as a symbol of eternal love and was built entirely of white marble. Construction stretched over a period of 22 years, beginning in the 1630s. 960 1280

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The Taj Mahal, located in Agra, India, is just one part of a vast complex that consists of a main gateway, an elaborate garden, a mosque, a guest house and several other magnificent buildings. 960 1280

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22 Photos
Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

A Chicago summer staple, the Pitchfork Music Festival brought its music to Paris in 2011. The 2-day festival took place in La Grande Halle de la Villette with more than 20 bands and DJs providing the entertainment. 960 1280

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Jam in the Dam

Jam in the Dam

Every March, Jam in the Dam rocks the Melkweg, a venue right off the Leidseplein, a vibrant city square in Amsterdam. With a liberal door policy, the venue allows music-goers to wander the cafes and galleries of the Leidseplein before or during the concerts. 960 1280

Sam Friedman  

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown exponentially since its launch in 2000. The festival brings over 40 international and local artists together, making it "Africa's Grandest Gathering." 960 1280

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Mayan Holidaze

Mayan Holidaze

Mayan Holidaze is an entire Mexican adventure taking place minutes from Mayan ruins. Along with the live music, enjoy all the amenities of a vacation with yoga, golf, tennis and snorkling. 960 1280

Dave Vann  

Benicassim Music Festival

Benicassim Music Festival

The Festival Internacional de Benicassim, better known as FIB, is a 4-day long festival in Benicassim, a small Spanish beach town located between Valencia and Barcelona. Ranging from electro, pop, indie and rock, the music starts at night and goes on through the morning. 960 1280

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Jam Cruise

Jam Cruise

By taking the music to the seas, Jam Cruise makes the music festival a full-blown vacation. When you set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, enjoy all the amenities of a cruise and see your favorite jam bands while making stops in locales like Mexico and the Bahamas. 960 1280

Dave Vann  

Fans wander around during the 2006 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The 4-day festival features a wide variety of acts and occurs each year in Manchester, TN. Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z have all performed in the past. 960 1280

Jeff Gentner/Getty Images  

John Butler of the John Butler Trio performs onstage during the 2011 Big Day Out Festival at the Sydney Showground in Sydney, Australia. The festival travels to several cities in Australia and New Zealand each year. 960 1280

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images  

Fans cheer at the 2009 Summer Sonic music festival held each year in Chiba and Osaka Japan. Beyonce, Green Day and Taylor Swift have all performed in recent years. 960 1280

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (Japan Entertainment Society)  

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers perform in 2006 as part of the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park in Austin, TX. 70,000 people attend the 3-day festival, which features over 130 different acts from all over the world. 960 1280

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Rapper Bobby Ray -- aka B.o.B -- performs during the Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival 2010. The 3-day festival is held each April in Indio, CA. Past performances have featured Madonna, Paul McCartney, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix and Arcade Fire, to name a few. 960 1280

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Music fans watch Dizzee Rascal perform on the Pyramid Stage at the 2010 Glastonbury Festival in Glastonbury, England. 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of what has become the largest music festival in Europe. Coldplay, the Who, Neil Young, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder have all performed here. 960 1280

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Franz Ferdinand performs during the 2009 T-Mobile INmusic festival, held each year in Zagreb, Croatia. Past performers include Billy Idol, LCD Soundsystem, Moby and Lily Allen. 960 1280

rom@nski photo through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Fans during the 2009 Lollapalooza music festival at Grant Park, held each year in Chicago, IL. Lady Gaga, Green Day, the Strokes, MGMT, Phoenix and Arcade Fire are all recent performers. 960 1280

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Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue performs at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Jazz Fest is held in New Orleans in the end of April/beginning of May each year. In addition to local performers, past performers have included James Taylor, Tony Bennett and Dave Matthews Band. 960 1280

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Fans at the 2008 Rock Werchter, held in Werchter, Belgium, each July. The Talking Heads, U2, the Killers and the Black Eyed Peas have all played at the festival in the past. 960 1280

Vincent Teeuwen through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley performs during the 2008 Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark. Jack Johnson, Kanye West and Bob Dylan are all recent performers. 960 1280

Reuters/Jens Norgaard Larsen/Scanpix Denmark  

Fans gather at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA, to see the Sasquatch! Music Festival. Vampire Weekend, Miike Snow, MGMT, Mumford and Sons and Kid Cudi all played at the 2010 festival. 960 1280

ozmafan through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons performs on stage during the 2010 Splendour in the Grass music festival in Woodford, Australia. Ben Harper, the Strokes, and Florence and the Machine all played in 2010. 960 1280

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A view of fans attending the 2010 Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. In 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records certified the festival as the world's largest. The 11-day festival features 700 bands and starts the last Thursday in June. 960 1280

Sean Hackbarth through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Joanna Cotten performs at the 2008 DirecTV South by Southwest Live Broadcast in Austin, TX. Held each March, the festival attracts over 2,000 performers who play in more than 90 venues in downtown Austin over 4 days. 960 1280

Sasha Haagensen/Getty Images for DirecTV  

Fans at the 2008 Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain. The White Stripes, Lou Reed, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Pixies have all performed here in the past. 960 1280

maccosta through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Mayapan Ruins

Mayapan Ruins

Also known as the Banner of the Mayas, Mayapan is considered the last great Maya capital. The Pre-Columbian Maya site is south of the town of Telchaquillo, which is in Yucatán, Mexico. More than 4000 structures, most residences, are packed with the ancient city’s walls. Archeologists believe that Mayapan’s main temple is a smaller version of Chichen Itza’s Temple of Kukulkan. 960 1280

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Labna: Gateway Arch

Labna: Gateway Arch

Located in the Puuc Hills region of the Yucatán Peninsula, Labna is a ceremonial center located south of the Uxmal archaeological site. The Gateway Arch (pictured) is not an entryway into the city; it’s a passageway between public areas. 960 1280

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Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the largest Maya cities, and it is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. More than 1 million tourists visit the Mayan ruins every year. The Temple of Kukulkan (pictured) -- also referred to as El Castillo -- stands 98-feet tall with 9 square terraces, and it’s a big draw for crowds during the spring and fall equinoxes. As the sun sets, visitors crowd around the pyramid to see the shadows on the steps that resemble a snake. 960 1280

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Copán Ruins

Copán Ruins

In western Honduras, Copán -- another Maya archeological site -- was once the capital city of the Maya civilization from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. It was occupied for 2,000 years, and more recently, the Copán River was diverted to protect the site from damage. 960 1280

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Tikal Ruins

Tikal Ruins

Tikal, located in the Guatemala’s Peten Basin was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. It was the capital of a state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the Maya. It is part of the Tikal National Park. 960 1280

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Ek Balam Ruins

Ek Balam Ruins

Built in the Maya Classic Period, Ek Balam has a grand central pyramid, 2 large palaces and numerous other temples and buildings. At the height of its history, it was a large city, and the architecture dates back to the Late Classic period. 960 1280

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Lamanai Ruins

Lamanai Ruins

Belize’s Lamanai Mayan ruins are surrounded by the jungle’s thick vegetation. And in case you didn’t know, the word Lamanai comes from the Maya term “submerged crocodile” -- a nod to the reptiles that live along the banks of the New River. 960 1280

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Xel-Ha Inlet and Ruins

Xel-Ha Inlet and Ruins

Mexico’s Xel-Ha ruins, part of the Xel-Ha Lagoon Eco-Park, is located between 2 Maya archeological sites -- Akumal and Tulum. The lagoon was a popular trade port between towns along the coast and to Cozumel. Some structures still have painted hands and other drawings of the Maya. 960 1280

Angelique800326, Wikimedia Commons  

Muyil Entry Plaza

Muyil Entry Plaza

Although rarely visited, the Muyil ruins is one of the earliest and longest inhabited ancient Maya sites, located south of Tulum, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. These ruins are found along a Caribbean trade route that was once accessible via a series of canals. 960 1280

Dennis Jarvis, Flickr  

Xunantunich's El Castillo

Xunantunich's El Castillo

Just 80 miles of Belize City, Belize, Xunantunich sits on a ridge above the Mopan River, where visitors can clearly see Guatemala’s border. El Castillo (pictured) -- 130-feet tall -- is the second tallest structure in Belize, after the temple at Caracol. 960 1280

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The Church of Coba

The Church of Coba

In Quintana Roo, Mexico, Coba’s Nohoch Mul is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatán Peninsula. It is 12-stories tall and has 120 steps to the top, where you can get a panoramic view of the jungle and the tops of the other ruins in the area. 960 1280

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Xlapak Palace

Xlapak Palace

The Xlapak Palace (pictured) was located in a Maya ceremonial center in Yucatán, Mexico. The Palace is only 20-meters long adorned in typical, but stylish Mayan architecture style with columns, colonnades, geometrical figures and superimposed Mayan masks of Chaac, the Mayan god of rain. 960 1280

Dennis Jarvis, Flickr  

Uxmal, Pyramid of the Magician

Uxmal, Pyramid of the Magician

Uxmal is the Maya word for “thrice-build,” which refers to the construction of the Pyramid of the Magician (pictured). The Maya would often build a new temple over an existing one, and in this case, 5 stages of construction were found. At its height, Uxmal was home to about 25,000 Maya. 960 1280

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Kinch Kakmo Pyramid

Kinch Kakmo Pyramid

In Izamal, Mexico, visitors come to see the magnificent Kinch Kakmo pyramid. Kinch Kakmo -- the Maya word for fire parrot -- was believed to descend to Earth to consume offerings made at the top of the pyramid. 960 1280

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Becan Mayan Pyramid

Becan Mayan Pyramid

Head to the Campeche, Mexico, to see the Becan Mayan ruins. Visitors can explore 20 major ruins, including a number of temple pyramids immersed in the jungle. Becan was a major city, occupied from 550 BC and abandoned around the 9th century AD. 960 1280

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