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MEXICO CITY

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MEXICO CITY


City of Mexico Crossbred city. Unreachable city... the largest on the planet. Noisy, uneasy, ancient and modern: historical. Suggestive city, with palaces, churches, museums, woods and even a castle. A city that allows itself to be cherished; a city that fascinates, subjugates and is not forgotten, it meddles in the soul, sticks in the memory.

The City of Mexico and the DF (Federal District) The City of Mexico and the DF (Federal District), at 2250 meters above sea level, stir deeply for their pre-Hispanic roots, their colonial brand and their cosmopolitan air, features that outline the face of this vigorous and struggling megalopolis, that make evident the historical roots of an urban giant that ceases not to amaze the world.

Federal District Past, present and future in the capital of Mexico, which before the arrival of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes was the lavish Tenochtitlan, a monumental city with temples, palaces, gardens, schools and markets that was founded in 1325 by the Mexicas, a warrior group coming from the island of Aztlan, from where the name Aztec would later derived.

Sunset of Mexico Here history is blended with legend. The whispers from the past say that Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, commanded the Mexicas to found a city wherever they encountered "an eagle posed on a nopal (a cactus) devouring a serpent trapped on its claws"; so off they went on their search. They came and went through rough roads until they found it at a swampy zone of the Texcoco lake.

And since commandments of a divinity are not argued upon, Tenochtitlan (place of cacti) emerged in an inhospitable area that due to the stubbornness and tenacious persistence of its inhabitants, turned into a splendorous territory, specially during the mandate of Moctezuma, until the greed of the Spanish conquistadors destroyed it in 1521, two years after Cortes first set foot in it.

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  • The struggle between Aztecs and Spaniards was bloody. One of the larger slaughters occurred during the "sad night" of the 30th of June of 1520, when thousands of natives and half of the Iberian army died in a brutal clash. The blood and tears of the elders, women and children may surely have inundated the city.

    Cuauhtemoc, the leader of the indigenous resistance, was defeated the 13th of August of 1521; thereafter, Tenochtitlan was completely levelled. The construction of what is currently the Historic Centre of the DF started a year later over the Aztecan foundations, though in those times it would be baptised as the New Spain.

    School San Idelfonso Churches, palaces and mansions; of baroque, gothic and renaissance styles outlined the countenance of this Mexico which after years of struggles, battles and revolutions, shows the world the richness of its history and the crossbred taste of its urban landscapes, so valuable and peculiar that in 1987 it was declared a Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO.

    Cathedral of Mexico Within the Historic Centre of the Federal District are authentic jewels of architecture, such as the National Palace or the Cathedral, to mention just two of the centenarian monuments surrounding the Plaza of the Constitution, also called the Zocalo, neuralgic point of yesterday's Mexico, today's Mexico and since ever Mexico, that rises over what once was the great temple of Tenochtitlan.

    Its attractions are not reduced to the old centre, they expand, they multiple and trap visitors in the wood and castle of Chapultepec, a place of solace in a noisy city; or moves them at the Basilica of Guadalupe, a superb building housing the thousands of devotees that worship the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron of the country.

    Neoclasica Architecture The days are too short on this city of country dimensions. There are more than enough attractions: The Red Zone, a bohemian corner of aristocratic roots, the Plaza Garibaldi, a bastion of the much famous mariachis, Xochimilco and its floating gardens, San Angel and its assorted craftsmanship fairs taking place on Saturdays; or the ancient Teotihuacan, one of the best preserved archaeological complexes of the nation.

    Mexico is no longer the ancient Tenochtitlan, neither is the New Spain of Cortes. Nowadays, it is a megalopolis with 22 million plus inhabitants, an urban colossus that projects to the future with the same determination that it inherited from its mythical founders, who tamed the swamp and the unnerving earthquakes to build a city in the exact place where an eagle was found devouring a serpent.

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