The Agave Region is one of the most important cultural landscapes in Mexico, not only for the importance of the natural landscape that it offers but also for the cultural tradition that has been kept for several centuries and from which has arisen one of the main icons that identify this country: the tequila.
Agave Cultural Landscape
The entire region has been shaped by the culture of the plant used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and for at least 2,000 years to make fermented drinks and cloth. Today, the agave culture is seen as part of Mexican national identity.
The Agave cultural landscape of Mexico is not celebrated for the relationship between the people of the region and the natural environment. Agave products are sold worldwide and support the people in a sustainable way.
The agave plant gave more than an intoxicating drink. It provided the fiber for clothing, brushes, spoons, nets, fans, rope and even paper. The central stems make musical instruments and are strong enough to be used for building, with leaves that provide roofing.
Leaves can also be used for fuel. Sharp spines made pins and sewing needles, as well as arrowheads. The sap, called aquamiel or honeywater, makes a sweetener that is widely used today. Other juices can be used as medicines, and as soap.
Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila
The Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila, in the Valles Region of Jalisco State, is one of the most important cultural landscapes in Mexico and is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The 35,000-ha (86,500-acre) site, located between the foothills of the Tequila Volcano and the deep valley of the Rio Grande, is part of an expansive landscape of blue agave.
The agave cultural landscape exemplifies the continuous link between the ancient Mesoamerican culture of agave and today. Within the landscape are working distilleries reflecting the growth in the international consumption of tequila in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The area encloses a living, working landscape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distilleries where the agave 'pineapple' is fermented and distilled.
The Agave Region is important not only for the natural landscape that it offers but also for the cultural tradition that has been kept for several centuries and from which has arisen one of the main icons that identify the country of Mexico: the tequila.
The agave cultural landscape has generated literary works, films, music, art and dance, all celebrating the links between Mexico and tequila and its heartland in Jalisco.
The area is also a testimony to the Teuchitlan cultures which shaped the Tequila area from AD 200-900, notably through the creation of terraces for agriculture, housing, temples, ceremonial mounds and ball courts.