Mexican archaeological sites, museums and historical monuments attracted more than 18.2 million visitors in 2011, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

INAH said in a communique Monday that the number topped the 18 million in 2010, making 2011 the second best year since 2006 in the number of visitors - only 2008 with 18 million people had more during that period.

It said that of last year's visitors, 10.6 million visited archeological sites and 7.6 million went to museums and historical monuments managed by INAH. A total of 14.7 million were Mexicans and 3.5 million were foreign tourists.

Traveling the Mayan Riviera

The three sites that topped 1 million visits were the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National History Museum at Chapultapec Castle.

Teotihuacan ended 2011 with 2.2 million tourists, of whom 1.7 million were Mexicans and 510,367 came from other countries. Meanwhile the National Museum of Anthropology brought in 1.8 million people, 1.6 million of them Mexicans and 198,090 foreigners.

For its part, the National History Museum at Chapultepec Castle had 1.3 million visitors, of whom 1.2 million were Mexicans and 59,539 international tourists.

According to INAH, the increase in visitors last year over 2010 was in part because of  new archaeological sites being opened and museums renovated, along with projects to attract more tourists, including presentations at international expos in Greece, India and China.

Another helpful asset was the new infrastructure created to provide the disabled with easier access to these cultural attractions, as well as works of research, restoration, conservation and dissemination, the institute said.

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Currently INAH supervises 183 archaeological sites open to the public, 117 museums and 17 of the nation's historical monuments.

The inauguration of new archaeological and museum facilities are also planned for this year.

As part of the 2012 Maya World Program, the Cancun Archaeological Museum is being built to house pre-Columbian pieces found at different pre-Columbian sites in Quintana Roo state.

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