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.
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.
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.
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.
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.