Sights of Mexico City

Facts About Mexico City

Country
Mexico
Currency
Peso (MXN)
Language
Spanish
Population
8,851,080 (2010)
Timezone
UTC-6 | Summer: UTC-5

Map of Mexico City Attractions

Top 13 Sights in Mexico City

Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor (which in Spanish means "the great temple") is a set of historically significant places of worship, built in the XIV century. It is now Mexico City. In ancient times, this complex included a main temple surrounded by a set of (more than seventy) small buildings and platforms.

During the invasion of the territory of Mexico by Spain Conquistadors in 1521, most of the Templo Mayor structures were destroyed, fragments of its foundation by chance managed to be found only in 1978, when wire works were carried out there.

Soon, subsequently in two nearby neighborhoods archaeological excavations took place. Archaeologists found some objects that reveal the culture and way of life of the population, lived in the ancient city of the Aztec – Tenochtitlan. Archaeologists ended their works here in 1982. Currently, the museum is organized in this place, and the ruins of the ancient city of cult pyramid are open to free public access.

Bosque de Chapultepec

Photo: Kim F

Chapultepec Forest is a huge urban park located in the central part of Mexico. It is located on the area of nearly 700 hectares. Bosque de Chapultepec is classified as one of the largest parks in the world, along with the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, Central Park in New York and Tokyo Imperial gardens. The park surrounds the eponymous hill, where during the reign of the Aztec imperial residence was located. With the arrival of the Spaniards there was a hunting reserve with a castle Viceroy, where they organized military academy.

Among the most notable places there is Chapultepec rock on which there are a relief image of Montezuma I, the eponymous zoo, imperial castle of Maximilian, and the world's largest collection of possessions Aztec civilization - the National Museum of Anthropology. In total, Bosque de Chapultepec has 9 museums, an amusement park, numerous fountains, lakes, memorable sculptures and winding trails.

In addition, during archaeological research works in the park a lot of historical evidence of human habitation since the time of the toltec that existed in the period from 800 to 1000 years BC were found.  

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is the deserted town, located about 50 km south of Mexico City. This city was built in antiquity; even during the arrival of the Aztec Teotihuacan had already turned into ruins. No one knows for sure who made the plan of monumental buildings in the territory of the city. The Aztecs decided that here was the burial place of their ancient gods (city name, by the way, in translation means «city of the gods») was located.

According to modern scholars, the city erected a thousand years ago. As you see, it is a considerable period. Moreover, extending the city, builders acted in strict accordance with once established plan. But that's what the plan was, remains a mystery.

From the north to the town there is a road. Its length is 3 km and a width is 40 m. This path is called the road of the dead. Edge of the road has a 30-metres rise, resulting in looking into this side created an optical illusion that this is a path of the Gypsies. The Pyramid of the Moon crowns the road with built burial chamber.

In the heart of Teotihuacan there is a place called the Citadel. The inner area here could accommodate up to one hundred thousand people (the entire population of the city at the same time was 200 thousand).

Plaza de la Constitucion

Undoubtedly, the heart of Mexico City can be called Constitution Square, named since the XIX century by the local inhabitants Zocalo. With the name connected the fact that at that time the leadership of the city was going to put on the area of the monument of Independence. However, the plan was not materialized. Only the basement of the monument was established which, incidentally, also eventually dismantled, but the name of Zocalo at that time already lodged in the minds of the population strongly enough.

Zocalo area from west to east in the length is equivalent to almost 240 m and from north to south - 220 m, which gives it the opportunity to be named as one of the largest squares in the world. Nowadays, this feature brings to Constitution Square attention of millions of tourists. It is located on its northern side of the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin. It is one of the most monumental cathedrals, not only in Mexico, but also on the whole colonial America.

From the east to the area the building adjacent to the Presidential Palace, and to the south there are offices of representatives of the city authorities. Every day a large flag of Mexico is raised on the square.

Metropolitan Cathedral

In the central part of the Mexican capital, over a huge area there are two majestic towers of Metropolitan Cathedral. Once it was the largest building. Originally, there was a small church here. It was built in 1520 during the time of arrival of the first conquistadors. However, the needs of the former capital of New Spain grew very quickly, and therefore already in the 70s of the same XVI century by King Philip II were decided to expand the church, rather than construction of the cathedral instead.

The main temple of Mexico is the monumental and impressive. This five-naval cathedral has a form of a Latin cross in plan. Its facades are executed in different style. Here, many element of Moorish architecture (style "Mudejar"), are strongly intertwined with the elements and features peculiar to the culture of the Spanish Renaissance ("erreresko" and "plateresque"). But the main facade is decorated in the Baroque style.

Due to the fact that the foundation of the temple was built at the bottom of a dry lake, it appeared to be highly unstable ground. During its existence, the base curved, and the Cathedral gave noticeable even to the naked eye (almost 3 m) differential settlement. At present, the foundation was reconstructed and strengthened.

Central University City Campus

Central University City Campus is a very striking example of modernist culture of the XX century. Campus is located in the area of Kayoakan. That is in the southern part of Mexico City. The construction of the Central Campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico was completed in 1954. In the construction works such prominent architects as Domingo Garcia Ramos, Enrique del Moral, Armando Franco Rovira, and others took part.

The structure of Central University City Campus includes a cultural center, 40 institutes and faculties, Olympic University Stadium, Tower of administration, Ecological Reserve, an observatory, a central library, and several museums. In fact, the campus was transformed into a separate district of Mexico City with its own council, the canons and the police. Law enforcement agencies carrying out the service halls of the University are prohibited to enter the University without the consent of the local administrative apparatus.

Since 2007, the main building of the university has been listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Palacio de Bellas Artes is the name of the opera in Mexico City, built in Carrara marble. The building itself is characterized by unprecedented scale pretentiousness decoration, executed in the style of Art Deco and Beaux Arts. Today, the Palace of Fine Arts is one of the world cultural monuments of UNESCO.

The construction of the theater lasted from 1904 to 1934. With the erection of a building a considerable number of dramatic situations were connected. Many people sometimes even think that the Palace of Fine Arts will never be opened.

The architect responsible for the creation of the project of the future temple of art on the place of the old building of the National Theater of Mexico, was an Italian named Adam Boar. During his work he faced with such a problem as the instability of the foundation. Due to the fact that in Mexico there are many swampy and viscous lands, solid construction did not want to acquire stability. When the Revolution started, Boar had to move to Europe as quickly as possible. However, many drawings left after the architect. Therefore, the Palacio de Bellas Artes was finally built. Totally, it took over 30 years to finish all the building works.

National Museum of Anthropology

Photo: Mark Hogan

National Museum of Anthropology is a very important state museum in Mexico. Among its exhibits it has a unique collection of anthropological and archaeological findings of pre-Columbian era, produced in the country. National Museum of Anthropology is located in a metropolitan park of Chapultepec. The Museum of Anthropology was founded in 1964. Its discovery was initiated by the Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Matios.

The most famous exhibits, which attract the attention of historians of the world are, of course, Sun Stone (Sun Stone), called the Aztec calendar; treasures of the Mayan culture of Palenque and Chichen Itza; a huge head Olmec stone found in the jungles of Veracruz and Tabasco. In addition to the above, in the museum there are guest exhibitions presented to the visitors objects that define other great cultures of the world. Among the themes of the exhibitions have already been such countries as Greece, Persia, China, Spain, and Egypt.

Museo Casa Luis Barragan

Mexico City is truly a real treasure trove of bright and extraordinary architecture. And the house of Luis Barragan in this regard is no exception. This structure is a house and at the same times the studio. It was created by a brilliant architect of his time Luis Barragan.

So, the idea to build himself a house on the outskirts of Mexico City, a small city in dead end streets, visited the head of the famous in Mexico and abroad architect, Pritzker laureate, Luis Barragan in 1947. The idea was brought to life very quickly, as early as in 1948.

This construction is a shining example of architecture of the XX century. It is performed in a modern minimalist style and modernism. The entire area allotted for the garden and the house, a total of 2,000 square meters. Inside the house there are 10 rooms, among which there is even a separate dressing room after walking on a horse. The garden is full of many labyrinths made up of green spaces.

Today the house of Barragan is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site and converted into a museum.

National Palace

Photo: Jami Dwyer

Memorable and unusually beautiful building of the National Palace is geographically placed on the east side of the Zocalo. Earlier in this place there was the Aztec emperor Montezuma's palace, later it was transformed into a dwelling conquistador Cortes, and only by 1562 there began the construction of the National Palace, such as it exists nowadays.

The palace is built in a typical Spanish Baroque architecture. The history of National Palace is associated with a mass of different events. In particular, it was twice attacked by the rebels (in 1624 and 1692), and from the receipt of Mexico's status as an independent state (in 1821) the presidential residence was organized there.

Today the palace (in particular, rooms, which were used at one times of President Juarez) is generally used for tourist acquaintance. In the other part of it there are offices of the Ministry of Finance and the President of Mexico. The part of the Palace is covered with frescoes, executed by the famous artist Diego Rivera. This place is always overcrowded.

El Angel de la Independencia

Angel of Independence (or El Angel de la Independencia) is the main monument in the country, located on the avenue called Paseo de la Reforma. The monument commemorates the victory of Mexico's struggle for independence.

Externally, the pedestal is made in the form of high quadrangular steel columns in marble and gilt trim 24-carat gold figure of the Greek goddess Nike at its peak. In every corner of this column there placed sculptures in bronze, each of which represents respectively War, Peace, Justice and the Law. In the central zone of the pedestal proudly flaunts the inscription «La Nación a los Héroes de la Independencia» (the national hero of independence).

In addition to the above on the monument there is also placed bronze statue of a lion and the child, as well as marble images of participants fighting for the freedom of the state. The height of the pedestal is 36 m. Once inside this structure and breaking the ladder in as many as 200 steps, you will find yourself on the viewing platform, which offers just indescribably beautiful view of the city.

Angel of Independence was established in 1910 in the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of war for the sovereignty of Mexico.

Museo Frida Kahlo

From a young age, Frida was seriously ill for very long time. First she was diagnosed with polio, then the consequences of the accident difficult. Therefore, basically, she had to spend all her time in the walls of her own room. It is connected with the fact that among her works there are many self-portraits in the interior of their own homes, because the artist was practically deprived of access to other objects for further study and reflection.

The museum of the famous Mexican artist for sure keeps all the elements of the environment in which her life was spent: decorations and brush, scattered on the table, as well as decor made by Frida Kahlo. In particular, bright ceramic products, widely used in interior and, of course, the studio, where made by Frida`s spouse, an outstanding artist Diego Rivera. Frida Kahlo's ashes placed in a museum, in an urn-like shape of her face.

 

Xochimilco

Approximately eighteen kilometers to the south of Mexico City there is a district called Xochimilco. It is famous for its Aztec TV. A special attention of tourists attracts one island, named the Island of the dolls. Believe me, in spite of such seemingly romantic name, this place can only threaten their visitors.

It all started with the fact that in the fifties of the XX century, a Mexican named Julián Santana Barrera unknown for certain reasons, abandoned the family and moved to live on this island. This place has always been associated with many unpleasant legends, and therefore the local population tried to get its side. Barrera also lived there for almost half a century, cultivating land and devoting most of his time making creepy installations of old mutilated dolls.

At first, Julian Santana himself sought out these discarded dolls, then residents of nearby places, hearing of his strange fascination refers to the old man unusable children's toys in exchange for vegetables that he grew.

In 2001, at age 80 Julián Santana Barrera died and his family has created a route in these places for curious tourists.