Like an enormous living museum, Mexico City is a remarkable showplace for Mexico's 3,000 years
of human cultural achievement. It ranks as one of the world's great capitals and is a must for
anyone yearning to understand Mexico's complex past and ever challenging future. The size and
grandeur of the city are staggering. It is not only the oldest continuously inhabited city in
the Western Hemisphere, but also carries the burden of being the largest city the world has ever
Few cities on earth can match Mexico City for historic grandeur. Its tumultuous past encompasses every
phase of Mexican history. It is unique as a colorful and compelling mosaic of
Pre-Columbian, European colonial, and modern eras. Mexico City is the exact site upon which the great
Mexica (Aztec) civilization flourished, developing one of the greatest cities of the 16th century and the
site where in 1519 the Old World and New World met face to face in a confrontation that would forever shape
One of the most interesting and diverse cities in the world:
If you are still wondering why anyone would want to visit Mexico City ... Here are some
Mexico City is the capital of Mexico, the financial, political and cultural
center, the world's largest city, one of the world's great cities, the nightlife
capital of Mexico, and definitely much, much more, it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mexico City should be on your "Must Visit" list if you are a fan of world-class museums,
archeological treasures, international cuisine, incredible shopping experiences, stately
mansions, colonial neighborhoods, dazzling nightlife, inviting plazas and gardens or great
Monuments, parks, fountains and great tree lined avenues are everywhere you are likely to visit
within the city. Skyscrapers sit beside splendid examples of colonial architecture, archeological
sites share space with modern day structures and freeways lead to charming neighborhoods of colonial
buildings and peaceful plazas. Museums are around just about every corner and the rich heritage of
México's colonial past is evident almost everywhere. There are many places, within México City, to
escape the fast pace of the city and where you will feel like you are in a different world within a few
Don't let the sheer size of México City scare you, most tourists will most likely confine their
visits to three or four well defined areas of the city and maybe some easy side trips. Depending
on where you stay, many attractions will be just a short distance away and those that are not so
close can be reached fairly easily. Organized tours, taxis, city buses or the modern subway system
(during off peak hours) should be considered over attempting to drive in this city. The traffic here
is legendary, and for very good reason. For side trips to the nearby colonial towns or archeological
sites a rental car is fine, as the highways and toll roads surrounding the
capital offer pleasant driving conditions.
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Attractions and sights of interest in Mexico City:
The current Zocalo, or town square, is built on the same spot where once stood
Montezuma's palace. The Zocalo is the historic center of Mexico City and
Latin America's largest main square at over 13 acres. Here you will find:
The National Palace what is now the seat of the Mexican Government.
The Metropolitan Cathedral . . . Construction began in the late 1500's and continued off and on over the next 300 years.
The Templo Mayor . . . accidentally discovered while digging near the palace in 1978, remains of the Aztec city which the
Spaniards built today's Mexico City on top of were found.
Chapultepec Park is an enormous green area in the middle of all the hustle
and bustle of this fast paced city. This park is the city's largest, covering
over 2000 acres, and it contains enough of the city's attractions, including
three of the most important museums, that a short vacation could easily be devoted
just to the attractions within the park:
Castillo de Chapultepec : Now a museum, this historic spot was once an Aztec palace,
then a Spanish hermitage, a gun powder plant, a military college and home of the
Emperor Maximilian and leaders of Mexico through 1940.
National Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Modern Art and
Rufino Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum.
Chapultepec Zoo : This zoo has been here since the 1500s and continues today
as one of the best stocked zoos in the world with many endangered species on display.
The National Museum of Anthropology, one of the world's great museums which
easily occupy a short vacation by itself.
This 100,000 square foot museum houses artifacts from all over mexico
and is divided into civilizations (Aztec, Mayan, Olmec, etc.) and
subdivided into time periods.
Paseo de la Reforma, the city's main thoroughfare, will give you an immediate idea of why
Mexico City has been referred to as the "Manhattan" of Latin America. This elegant boulevard
is lined with dozens of magnificent monuments including the much-photographed Independence
Monument, which has become the unofficial trademark of México City. Sharing the precious space
along Paseo de la Reforma are modern high-rise office buildings, embassies, luxury hotels, colonial
mansions, more monuments and shaded pedestrian promenades.
Alameda Park, near the zócalo and Palace of Fine Arts, has been around since1541, making it the city's
oldest park. The park has also been an Aztec market and was also the site of burnings, hangings and
executions in the old days. With it's walking paths, numerous fountains and a Moorish kiosk, this park
is full of, old style, traditional charm. There are also a couple of monuments here that are, themselves,
worthy of a visit: The Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) and the Hemiciclo
(half-circle) which honors former President Benito Juárez.
In the southern part of the city the suburbs of San Angel and Coyoacan along with the Floating gardens of
Xochimilco are places you should definitely visit during your stay.
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