THE FLOATING GARDENS OF MEXICO CITY.
Famous for its waterways surrounding the ancient city of Tenochtitlan which is now modern-day Mexico City.
The Aztecs built fertile riverbeds called chinampas, on which they were able to grow many of their staple crops to feed their people. To make a chinampa, the Aztecs weaved sticks together to form a giant raft and anchored it to the bottom of the lake; they then piled mud and soil on top of the raft to create a small terrain to grow their nursery, creating “Floating Gardens” and canals. The Aztecs were famous for their agriculture, cultivating all available land, introducing irrigation, draining swamps, and creating artificial islands in the lakes.
IRecognized on the 11th, December 1987 as UNESCO World Heritage Site and to be of outstanding universal value, Xochimilco constitutes the only reminder of traditional ground occupation in the lagoons of the Mexico City basin before the Spanish conquest.
Today, visitors can explore the canals while floating on a colorful boat called a trajinera to learn about the Aztec’s ingenious technique for growing food upon the fertile riverbeds of the pre-Hispanic waterways – the chinampas are still in use today but for growing flowers & food crops.
The colorful, flowered and amply decorated Mexican Trajineras are distinctive of the features of this popular and important place, where farming still is done on chinampas, with farmers moving along the canals, keeping the ancient celebrations alive.
A small group of dedicated and motivated business men are resurrecting and protecting this traditional core of Mexico City.
Today, Xochimilco’s purpose is to become that major provider of agriculture again, while preserving ancient techniques, biodiversity and the ecology of the system. Many of the city’s top restaurants are now sourcing much of their product through these farms
the soil is so nutrient-rich that most if not all crops can thrive in it. Certain edible weeds, known as quelites, are hard to find elsewhere, yet flourish in the chinampas. One of my favourite ingredients I have discovered not long ago.
There’s ultimately no better way to understand the chinampas’, believe strongly, taste the foods that grow there. “It’s so fresh, and it’s organic. The flavour is unique and unbeatable.