Canals of Xochimilco

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A living testament to the ingenuity of the Aztecs, the canals of Xochimilco, meaning "Land of Flowers," are the last vestiges of a once extensive irrigation and transportation network built by the Aztecs. Artificial islets were created by layering logs, earth, mud and roots tied with vine, and planting ahuejote, a native plant whose tough roots bind the walls of the chinampas. Today, Xochimilco has been restored, plied by brightly colored boats that sail down the 14-kilometer (8-mile) stretch of this navigable waterway. Vendors selling handicrafts and local delicacies are joined by mariachi and marimba bands that float by on wooden boats. A whirlwind of colors and sounds, a celebratory air presides over Lake Xochimilco at all times while the weekends are a veritable fiesta with locals heading to the canal to partake of the charms of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are several chinampas along the way, but the most renown is the Island of the Dolls, a terrifying place that is rumored to be haunted, easily recognizable thanks to the numerous dolls strung up in trees,

Location:  Xochimilco