The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque earns World Heritage Designation
A structure with almost 450 years of history, between Hidalgo and Estado de México.
On Sunday July 5, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed the Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque onto its World Heritage List. It stands out structure with almost 450 years of history, located between Estado de México and Hidalgo and an example the mixing of castes in Mexico. The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque features pre-Hispanic elements (in the materials and techniques) with architectural touches from a Renaissance era, under the direction and order of Franciscan Father Francisco de Tembleque and Juan de Agüeros.
The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque, a 48,22 km (30 mi) long work of hydraulic engineering, built on an arid plain of southern Mexico by indigenous communities in the 16th Century and financed by the women of these villages, was added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO last week, as informed by the Mexican government.
Still standing at its 443 year of age and an outstanding example of the development of hydraulic systems in America, its construction began in 1554. Its completion took 17 years and 40 indigenous communities collaborated to build it, providing 400 stonecutters, helpers, builders, laborers and carpenters. All of this explained by the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH) in a communiqué.
The community’s men worked on the construction, while the women produced textiles in surplus to sell at the "Tianguis" (market) and finance the work that did not receive any contribution from the Spanish Crown, although it was authorized Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza.
The Spanish Franciscan friar (native from the Tembleque town, in Toledo Spain), accompanied by Juan de Agüeros, directed the construction that enabled the provision of water to small towns in the desert Mexican highlands, located between the current states of Hidalgo and Estado de México.
The aqueduct, which has a maximum height of 39.65 (130 ft.), has been restored and 90 glyphs with indigenous handwork were found on it. It was raised with an innovative system ahead of its time, replacing the wooden formwork with adobe, demonstrating the bold integration of indigenous knowledge in construction.
Mexico is the country with most properties inscribed on the World Heritage List throughout America with a total of 33 as of Sunday: 27 in the Cultural Heritage category, 5 in the Natural Heritage category and one as Mixed Heritage (cultural and natural).
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