Mexico City–Zocalo

This is the entrance to the National Palace, located along one side of the Zocalo. The President lives and works here. Much of the current palace’s building materials are from the original one that belonged to Moctezuma II.

I’m spending a week in Mexico City, doing day tours and saying good bye to a year of living in this country.

The Zocalo is located in downtown and is the original center of the city, as found by the conqueror, Cortes. It’s the main square in central Mexico City and one of the largest city squares in the world.  Prior to the colonial period, it was the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. The formal name is Plaza de la Constitución, but plaza construction might be a better name–the center is under renovation. The site is just one block southwest of the Templo Mayor which, according to Aztec legend and mythology, was considered the center of the universe.

This statue represents the founding of what is now Mexico City. The city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in 1325. The old Mexica city that is now simply referred to as Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico, which it shared with a smaller city-state called Tlatelolco. According to legend, the Mexicas’ principal god, Huitzilopochtli indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting an eagle perched on a nopal cactus with a snake in its beak.

Mexico City, or the City of Mexico (Spanish: Ciudad de México, abbreviated as CDMX), is the capital and most populous city of Mexico. Mexico City is one of the most important financial centers in the Americas. It is located at an altitude of 7,350 ft. Greater Mexico City’s population is 21.2 million people, making it the second-largest metropolitan area of the western hemisphere, behind New York, the tenth-largest agglomeration, and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven (Spanish: Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de la Santísima Virgen María a los cielos) is the largest cathedral in the Americas, and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan, eventually replacing it entirely.
While I enjoyed the tour, this little girl was probably the highlight.
Art exhibit at the plaza

Photos from inside and around the Cathedral.

This is a replica of the shroud of Turin.

The Aztec pyramid, Templo Mayor, is under archeological excavation and it’s possible to enter to see some of the structure. Much of the stone was taken and used for other construction, however.


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I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

One thought on “Mexico City–Zocalo”

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