The volcanic mountains of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl are inscribed behind the "Winged Victory" Angel, on the Mexican Silver & Gold Libertads.
The satellite photo above gives you another glimpse of the two volcanoes.
Popocatepetl is an active volcano and is the second highest volcano in Mexico.
Iztaccihuatl has been inactive for thousands of years and is the third highest volcano in Mexico.
In Aztec mythology, the volcanoes were once an Aztec Princess (Iztaccihuatl) and a Great Warrior (Popocatepetl), who fell deeply in love with one another.
There are many versions of the legend of the two Aztec lovers, the most common one goes as follows...
When the warrior Popocatepetl first met the beautiful princess Iztaccihuatl, the two immediately fell in love.
Overwhelmed with a true love for one another, the two knew they could not live without being in each others arms.
So, Popocatepetl went to Iztaccihuatl's father, a mighty Aztec chief, and told him that he wanted Iztaccihuatl's hand in marriage.
However, Iztaccihuatl's father was skeptical of Popocatepetl's love for his daughter and ordered him to engage in battle with a rival tribe.
The chief informed Popocatepetl that he could not marry his daughter unless he returned victorious.
Popocatepetl agreed, but the chief added another stipulation to his agreement, he ordered Popocatepetl to return with the rival tribe ruler's head to prove his success and victory over the rival tribe.
The two agreed and the chief sent Popocatepetl to war in Oaxaca, promising him Iztaccihuatl as his bride, if he returned triumphant.
Shortly after Popocatepetl left for battle, a rival of Popocatepetl, jealous with envy, sent back a false message to the Chief that Popocatepetl had been killed in battle.
When actually, Popocatepetl had won the battle and was returning with the rival tribe leader's head.
When princess Iztaccihuatl heard the false news, she fell ill due to sadness and grief.
Overwhelmed with the loss of her true love, she died of a broken heart.
When Popocatepetl returned victorious from his battle, he heard of the news his beloved’s death, the heartbreak he felt was unbearable.
The brave warrior gently picked up Iztaccihuatl's lifeless body into his arms and carried her far out into the countryside.
Popacatepetl laid Iztaccihuatl's body down on a funeral table, overflowing with flowers, and kissed Iztaccihuatl's soft, cold lips.
He then grabbed a smoking torch, knelt beside his beloved and stayed with her to watch over her in eternal sleep.
The Gods, touched by the lover’s plight, turn the two lovers into mountains so that they may be together, forever.
They remain so to this day, with Popocatepetl, (the smoking mountain) residing over his princess Iztaccihuatl, (the sleeping woman) while she lay in eternal sleep.
On occasion, Popocatepetl will spew ash, reminding those watching that he is always in attendance and that he will never leave the side of his true love, Iztaccihuatl.
Click here for Live webcam of the active volcano, Popocatepetl.
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The Story Behind the Mexican Coat of Arms
In the early 1300s, an Aztec tribe
also known as the Mexica tribe, who had no homeland, wandered around the
northern areas of the country, known as Mesoamerica, in search of a
place to build their Empire.
As the legend goes, in 1323, the tribe's leader received a vision in a dream that they were to settle at the place where they saw an eagle with a snake in its beak, while perched at the top of a prickly pear cactus.
Two years later, the dream was fulfilled on a swampy island, in Lake Texcoco.
Scouts for the tribe found the eagle, snake, and cactus in the same fashion that the leader described to them, in his vision.
This is where the tribe settled and built the city of Tenochtitlan, which became the center of the Aztec Empire.
Today, Tenochtitlan is known as Mexico City.