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5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

Mexico City (Ciudad de México), capital of the country, lies at an altitude of more than 2,200 meters in the Anáhuac Valley, surrounded by mighty mountain ranges. The city’s location is breathtaking; two magnificent snow-covered volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, tower above it at heights of more than 5,000 meters. The city preserves countless reminders of its past, though pre-Columbian art and architecture exist only in isolated fragments and museum reproductions since the Spanish Conquistadors built their new city on the ruins of the old Aztec metropolis of Tenochtitlán. A number of the splendid Baroque churches and palaces built during this early colonial period survive.

While Mexico City is big, both in terms of population and area, most of the city’s best tourist attractions and popular things to do are in the historic city center (Centro Histórico de la Ciudad), a 15-square-kilometer UNESCO World Heritage Site containing more than 1,400 important buildings from the 16th to 19th centuries. For travelers, this is one of the best places to visit in Mexico as examples of the city’s Aztec origins and its Spanish colonization can all be enjoyed on foot.

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

1 Zócalo: The Birthplace of the Constitution

The beating heart of Mexico City is Zócalo – the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square) – where the country’s first constitution was proclaimed in 1813. Measuring some 240 meters in each direction, it’s one of the world’s largest squares and was laid out almost immediately after the conquest of the former Aztec city of Tenochtitlán on which it stands. In the early colonial period, the square served a variety of purposes, including as a bullfighting arena and market, while today, it’s used for festivals, parades, and demonstrations. Dominated by three of the city’s most visited tourist attractions – the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor with its Aztec relics – Zócalo is the perfect place to begin exploring this historic city.

Hot Tip: A short stroll away from Zócalo, you can view three floors of murals by the famous artist Diego Rivera at the Secretaría de Educación Pública (education ministry). Entry is free.

2. The National Museum of Anthropology

One of the most important of its kind in the world, the National Museum of Anthropology lies in Chapultepec Park and is hard to miss due to the huge monolithic figure marking its entrance. Built in 1964, this strikingly successful example of contemporary architecture is famous for its magnificent displays of old Indian art treasures, most notably in the Central Patio, part of which is roofed by a gigantic stone shelter supported by an 11-meter-tall column with waterfalls symbolizing the eternal cycle of life. As spectacular as the building itself is its vast collection, which includes archaeological finds from extinct Indian cultures along with details of the lifestyles of contemporary Indian inhabitants of Mexico. Other highlights include the National Library of Anthropology, founded by Lucas Alaman in 1831 and developed by Emperor Maximilian, which boasts more than 300,000 rare volumes.

Address: Av Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, 11560 Ciudad de México

3 Templo Mayor and the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlán

Despite the widespread destruction after the defeat of the Aztecs, a number of their important historic sites have been unearthed and put on display in recent years. The most important site is Templo Mayor, home to remains of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlán, including the first relic discovered in 1978, a finely sculpted round disc more than three meters in diameter and weighing eight-and-a-half tons. Further excavations – including the summit platform of an earlier pyramid with well-preserved temple walls, along with the skulls of sacrificial victims – indicate the temple site had been built over by the Aztecs and their predecessors 11 times. A highlight of a visit is a walkway past the precinct of the aristocratic “winged warriors,” where remains of residences decorated with multi-colored reliefs have been unearthed, along with evidence of the original paintwork. Hot Tip: The vast majority of relics and artifacts uncovered are housed in two museums: the Museum of the Templo Mayor built on the temple site, and the nearby National Museum of Anthropology, widely regarded as the most important museum in Mexico.

Address: Seminario 8, Centro Histórico, 06060 Ciudad de México

Official site: www.templomayor.inah.gob.mx/index.php/english

 

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

4 The Palace of Fine Arts

One of Mexico City’s most important cultural landmarks, the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) is an architectural gem. Towering over the adjacent park, this massive marble building – designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari with Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences – was completed in 1934 and is so heavy that it has sunk more than four meters, despite attempts to lighten it by removing part of its huge dome. The palace serves as an opera house and concert hall hosting a variety of traditional and international dance and operatic productions. But many visitors also come here to view the impressive murals adorning its interior by famous artists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente. On the 4th floor is the Museo Nacional de Arquitectura with rotating exhibits on contemporary architecture. Hot Tip: If you’re able to see a performance here, you’ll also be rewarded with a chance to enjoy the theater’s stunning interior décor, including its spectacular glass-mosaic curtain, made by Tiffany’s of New York, depicting the Valley of Mexico and its two mighty volcanoes.

Address: Juárez, Centro Histórico, 06050 Ciudad de México

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

 

5 Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Dominating Zócalo square, the massive Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María) is one of the oldest and largest churches in the western hemisphere. Built atop part of the old Aztec temple precinct, construction of this massive basalt and grey sandstone structure began in 1525 and extended over 250 years. In spite of the two Neoclassical towers and certain other features, the façade creates a predominantly Baroque impression with its massive twisted columns. Standout features are the bell-towers added in 1793 and the statues of Faith, Hope, and Charity on the clock tower, dating from 1813. The cathedral’s interior also shows a mingling of styles, with particular highlights being the richly carved Altar of the Kings (Altar de los Reyes) from 1739, with its superb devotional painting of the Assumption (Asunción de María) to which the cathedral is dedicated. Also of interest are a chapel containing the remains of Mexican Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, and the crypt with its tombs of many of the city’s archbishops, among them Juan de Zumárraga, the great teacher of the Indians and the first incumbent of the see.

Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

 

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/mexico-city-mex-df-mexc.htm

5 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

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