As a Mexican, I have grown up around alcohol all my life. I grew up listening to stories of when different family members would get drunk and do something stupid. I even heard a story about my dad getting so drunk he started dancing around a sombrero. I remember as a kid my uncles would come over and tell me to bring them a beer from the fridge, and if it was a birthday or a big celebration, out came the Tequila.
Little did I know there is actually a place, close to where my parents are from, called Tequila. Tequila is located in the state of Jalisco between the Tequila Volcano and the Rio Grande River. It is part of a large blue agave landscape. The plant has been used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and for the past 2,000 years it has been used to make fermented drinks. There are distilleries reflecting the growth of the international consumption of Tequila in the past few centuries.
Here we can see a blue agave plant or agave “pineapple.”
The Agave culture is part of the nation’s identity, and so is one of the most important cultural landscapes in Mexico. It is not only important for its natural beauty but also the cultural tradition it has kept alive for several centuries. The area isn’t just blue agave fields is also encloses urban settlement which offers proper living and working conditions. Together the landscape, haciendas, distilleries and the urban settlements reflect the way the landscape has been used and is still used to grow and process the agave plant and distil tequila. Only agave “pineapples” grown in the property are processed in the distilleries to be eligible for a Declaration of Origin.
There is a large landscape used for growing agave plants.
In the 16th century when the area was conquered by the Spanish, they began experimenting with local beverages and distilled the agave fermented juice to make vino de mezcal. It wasn’t until the end of the 17th century that the first formal distilleries were formed and the agave plantations began. During the 18th century the liquor became better known and demand increased. Thanks to the creation of the Camino Real, transportation of the beverage became easier. And in 1795, Jose Maria Guadalupe Cuervo received the first license permitting the legal establishment of a mescal distillery.
Jose Maria Guadalupe Cuervo, better known on his bottles as “Jose Cuervo” has an extensive line of different Tequilas.
Even though there have been concerned about the over use of Tequila there is still a high demand for this fermented beverage. Religious authorities have been against its overuse but have been unsuccessful in their attempts to ban the drink. The mid-19th had a growth in the growth of the Agave plant. Today there have been measure put into place to ensure there is a continued growth in production to meet the high demands of Tequila worldwide.
There are many different brands of Tequila.
When I think about my heritage I’m sad to say that I don’t know very much about my distant relatives or their traditions. When I think about what traditions and ideals my family has passed on to me I immediately think of my grandparents.
My father’s parents made their living farming. They taught their kids how to work hard and stay dedicated. I used to love visiting the farm when I was kid. It was so fun to run around in the fields when they were irrigating or ride on the tractor with my dad. I had no idea how much work it took to keep the farm in good shape. I saw it as a place of adventure and fun but now that I’m older I can understand how much my grandparent put into that place and I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful that they kept that farm and didn’t give up on it because now I have such fond memories of being there with my family. All those lessons my grandparents gave to my dad about working hard, putting your all into something you want, and not giving up when it gets hard have now been passed down to me. My grandmother lived much longer than my grandfather and she was able to give me advice and guidance through some of my worst years. She live through the Great Depression and it had a huge effect on her. She also wanted us to save everything and never waste anything. Although a lot of what she wanted to save was ridiculous I still think of her when spending money and it has helped me plenty of time to not waste money.
My grandmother Wilma
My mother’s parents have had just as much influence on me. Although I never met my grandfather on my mother’s side I have heard many stories about him. He was a pilot and he owned his own personal plane which sadly I never got to go for a ride in. My grandmother though, has lived next door to me almost my whole life and now she lives with my family. She has also been there for me and although she hasn’t endowed me with financial wisdom she has always given me unconditional love. She grew up with an abusive father and still managed to turn out the most loving and caring person I have ever met. I can remember when I was little running next door crying. She would hug me and whatever she had to say comforted me.
My grandmother Dorothy
I am so grateful for grandparents and the wisdom they have passed on to me, especially my grandmothers. I wish I knew more about my family tree past my grandparents and their family but I am none the less appreciative of what traditions they have shown me. And by the way, we are supposedly related to Sir Francis Drake because my grandmother’s maiden name was Drake.
In this class I`ve seen many cultural and natural sites known for their impeccable architecture, history, and legacies that have made them worthy of being called world heritage sites. I often found it hard to choose one site to write or present on because they were all so beautiful and had such significant properties.In this blog I have chosen to write about the things that interested and surprised me, as well as some things that others may not know,about some sites that I have learned about. Some had interesting stories of the people who once occupied the area. Others intrigued me when I saw how the met the criteria for the world heritage list. These sites interested me so much that I just decided to do my blog on some of the sites that I have researched and read about during this semester and the fascinating facts and history of their heritage.
One of the most entertaining heritage sites that I researched was the Tahj Mahal. This buildings architecture and environmentally conservative abilities. The thing that stood out the most to me was the beautiful story that surrounds the building and made it famous as a symbol of love and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The narrative behind this architectural masterpiece is about Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan whose wife Mumtaz Mahal fell ill and died leaving him heart broken. As a symbol of their eternal love he had the monument built as a mausoleum and buried her body in it. He named the building the Tahj Mahal which means chosen one of the palace, whih is what Mumtaz Mahal translates to. When he died he was buried next to her at his request.
The next site that I thought was pretty cool was the sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests in Kenya. These forests were home to 11 separate tribes who relocated from Singwaya ancestral homelands to avoid conflict. They lived in piece in separate areas of the forest while preforming spiritual rituals. These rituals helped these forests meet the criteria of the world heritage list because of its significance religious properties. The forests are also seen as a defining characteristic for the identity of the Mijikenda people. Clearing and pathways that were left by the ancestral people of the original tribes help to connect the Mijikenda people with their past and give them a sense of “being in the world.” This helps to bring together the community and conserve their historical ancestry and cultural heritage.
Yosemite is an example of natural heritage. It is an extremely beautiful national park that I found interesting because I learned a lot about it in my earth systems science class. I went on a field trip to Yosemite and visited many natural landmarks like lower Yosemite falls, Mirror Lake, and the extensive forests. This natural site`s history is fascinating to me because of the way that most of it was formed. In earth system science I learned that the valley was once a huge lake, made from a melting glacier and dammed by a moraine. The unique formation proves its significance as a natural heritage site and has become a testament to its beauty.
The beauty and facts behind the history of these sites influences people throughout the world. It is significant to people who leave in the area and all tourist who visit the sites. The narratives, symbolism and natural properties contained by these sites are definitely worth preserving in order to astound generations who gaze upon their beauty and learn about their heritage.
When I was 10 years old my grandmother and sister took a trip to go visit my great grandmother in Mexico. This was the first time that I had visited Zacatecas, which is the part of Mexico where my family is from. When we arrived, I was really taken back by the pretty buildings especially the cathedrals. The Center of Zacatecas is on the southern side of Zacatecas next to Grillo Hills; it is most known for the intricate architecture and where it’s placed on the land which is very steep providing captivating sceneries. The historic center of Zacatecas was inscribed onto the world heritage list in 1993 under criteria ii.) and iv.).
Brief History of Zacatecas
The Center of Zacatecas was established in 1546 when people had discovered silver in the area. The expansion of Zacatecas lead to the south where the first church was constructed and new houses lining the Arroyo del Plata which is now the main street of the Historic Center of Zacatecas. The mining town of Zacatecas was different from any other town because of the topography of it; the town was on a steep valley which made it hard to communicate within the mines and working locations. Because of the economic standing of this town in the early years of silver mining, it was easy for the spread of Christianity to also begin to prosper. The convent of San Francisco began to establish missions as far as California and Texas.
Zacatecas is one of the towns in Mexico most recognized for being a mining town. It was a center of colonization and prosperous in silver mining as well. The center of Zacatecas reached its best years in the 16th to 17th centuries and began expanding in religious influences in the 18th century. One well known mine is the Eden Mine which is now open for tours which would take visitors back to the times of historic Zacatecas. Mining was a big part of Zacatecas because it helped the town grow and it lead to more expansion like growth in culture and religion.
Authenticity of the town
Due to the lack of economic prosperity that had been previously present in Zacatecas in the earlier centuries, very little construction or modernization has been done which has greatly helped the town with saving its history through the towns buildings and overall. The conservation of the buildings and of the center of Zacatecas in general has been closely monitored by the municipal of the town as well as private owners. The historic buildings have been secured by the Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Historic and Artistic Zones of 1972 which is described in the UNESCO website as well as State government laws. Both the Junta de Monumentos and the Ayuntamiento and INAH are in charge of supervising that the site of the Centro of Zacatecas is well maintained.