Mexico City , the capital, is one of the most populous cities and metropolitan areas in the world. Mexico has experienced a series of economic booms leading to periods of impressive social gains, followed by busts, with significant declines in living standards for the middle and lower classes.
In states such as Oaxaca or Chiapas , small communal villages remain where indigenous peasants live much as their ancestors did. In turn, these towns appear as historical relics when compared with the modern metropolis of Mexico City. As the renowned Mexican poet and intellectual Octavio Paz observed,. Past epochs never vanish completely, and blood still drips from all their wounds, even the most ancient. Sometimes the most remote or hostile beliefs and feelings are found together in one city or one soul, or are superimposed like [pre-Columbian] pyramids that almost always conceal others.
It is this tremendous cultural and economic diversity , distributed over an enormously complex and varied physical environment , that gives Mexico its unique character. Sharing a common border throughout its northern extent with the United States, Mexico is bounded to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean , to the east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea , and to the southeast by Guatemala and Belize.
Including these insular territories, the roughly triangular country covers an area about three times the size of Texas. While it is more than 1, miles 3, km across from northwest to southeast, its width varies from less than miles km at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to more than 1, miles 1, km in the north. These and other Mexican volcanoes are young in geologic terms, from the Paleogene and Neogene periods about 65 to 2. It is in this dynamic and often unstable physical environment that the Mexican people have built their country.
The Baja California peninsula in northwestern Mexico is an isolated strip of extremely arid land extending between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California Sea of Cortez. Unevenly divided between the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur , the peninsula is nearly miles 1, km long but seldom more than miles km wide.
The gently sloping western side of these mountain ranges is in contrast to the steep eastern escarpment, which makes access from the Gulf of California extremely difficult. The Sonoran Desert extends onto the peninsula along the northern end of the gulf. The Pacific Coastal Lowlands begin near Mexicali and the Colorado River delta in the north and terminate near Tepic , some miles 1, km to the south.
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For most of that distance, they face the Gulf of California while traversing the states of Sonora , Sinaloa , and Nayarit. Bounded on the east by the steep-sided Sierra Madre Occidental, the lowlands are a series of coastal terraces, mesas, and small basins interspersed with riverine deltas and restricted coastal strips.
Although the vast Sonoran Desert dominates their northern section, parts of the lowlands have been irrigated and transformed into highly productive farmland. The largest and most densely populated region is the inland Mexican Plateau , which is flanked by the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental. The Mesa del Norte begins near the U. From there the Mesa Central stretches to a point just south of Mexico City. The plateau tilts gently upward from the north toward the south; at its northern end, the Mesa del Norte is about 4, feet 1, metres above sea level. Throughout the region, relatively flat intermontane basins and bolsones ephemeral interior drainage basins are interrupted by mountainous outcrops.
In the north the Chihuahuan Desert covers a section of the plateau that is more extensive than the U. Its southern end rises 7,—9, feet 2,—2, metres in the vicinity of Mexico City. The Mesa Central, moister and generally flatter than the Mesa del Norte, is divided into a series of fairly level intermontane basins separated by eroded volcanic peaks. The largest valleys rarely exceed square miles square km in area, and many others are quite small. Many of the basins were once sites of major lakes that were drained to facilitate European and mestizo settlement.
Around Mexico City the weak, structurally unstable soils that remain have caused the colonial-era Metropolitan Cathedral and other buildings to shift on their foundations and, over many years, to list or sink unevenly into the ground. The largely volcanic Sierra Madre Occidental , which forms the western border of the Mexican Plateau, has an average elevation of 8,—9, feet 2,—2, metres and extends roughly miles 1, km from north to south. It has been highly incised by westward-flowing streams that have formed a series of gorges, or barrancas , the most spectacular of which is the complex known as Copper Canyon Barranca del Cobre in southwestern Chihuahua state.
The Sierra Madre Oriental , a range of folded mountains formed of shales and limestones, is situated on the eastern side of the Mexican Plateau. Its average elevations are similar to those of the Sierra Madre Occidental, but some peaks rise above 12, feet 3, metres. Main article: Mexican Armed Forces. Gulf of Mexico. Mexico City. Baja California. Baja California Sur. Quintana Roo. Main article: Economy of Mexico. See also: Economic history of Mexico. Main article: Telecommunications in Mexico. See also: Electricity sector in Mexico. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the region of Mexico with the highest capacity for wind energy.
Main article: History of science and technology in Mexico. Main article: Tourism in Mexico. Main article: Transportation in Mexico. Main article: Water supply and sanitation in Mexico. Main article: Demographics of Mexico. Main article: Emigration from Mexico. Main article: Languages of Mexico. Main articles: Metropolitan areas of Mexico and List of cities in Mexico. See also: Religion in Mexico. Religion in Mexico census  Roman Catholicism. Further information: Women in Mexico. This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Culture of Mexico. Main article: Mexican art. Many codices made both during Pre-hispanic Mexico and in the Spanish colony are preserved. The art of the Colonial Mexico center of New Spain developed a large number of painters born in Mexico.
Now these works are preserved in museums in many cities of Mexico.
Mexico: Everything You Need to Know in from International Living
Mexican Muralism. A cultural expression starting in the s created by a group of intellectual Mexican painters after the Mexican Revolution , reinforced by the Great Depression and the First World War. Main article: Sculpture in Mexico. Main article: Architecture of Mexico. Zacatecas Cathedral. Main articles: Mexican literature and Mesoamerican literature.
See also: Mexican art. Main article: Cinema of Mexico. Further information: Mexican television and List of newspapers in Mexico. Main article: Music of Mexico. Main article: Mexican cuisine. See also: Mexican wine. The first chocolate version liquid was made by indigenous people in present-day Mexico, and was exported from Mexico to Europe after the Spanish conquest.
Mole sauce , which has dozens of varieties across the Republic, is seen as a symbol of Mexicanidad  and is considered Mexico's national dish. Main article: Sport in Mexico. Main article: Coat of arms of Mexico. Main article: Healthcare in Mexico.
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