Mexico City: Historic Center
Since this is my first time in Mexico City so I have to check out all the touristsy places. There're lots to see and so I can only be selective to fit in as much as I can in 2-1/2 days. A must-see destination: Centro Historico, the historic downtown area. It's got everything, from 14th century Aztec ruins, Spanish colonial churches and mansions to European monuments. Located at the Zocalo, the world's 3 largest square is the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral), the largest Cathedral in Latin America and its construction lasted in a span of 3 centuries, starting in the 16h century. Like many buildings in Mexico City, it's gradually sinking. The interior is exquisite, very "golden".
Next to the Cathedral on the east side of Zocalo is Palacio Nacional (National Palace), where the President go to work. I was there early enough to beat the crowd to check out the amazing murals by Diego Rivera (the artist who's also known for being Frida Kahlo's husband) depicting the history of Mexico. The murals are breathtaking, there're lots of interesting details and it made me want to read up on it.
Located in between the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral is Templo Mayor (The Great Temple). It's the ruin of an Aztec Temple that was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores in 16th century. The debris of the Temple were then used to build cathedrals. The ruins were only discovered in 1978 when electric company workers dig up some stone sculptures. It's really amazing to see the Aztec ruins surviving in the midst of the city. The statues/pottery stuffs found in the ruins were collected in a museum that's located next to the ruin.
I walk around the old town to check out other old historic colonial buildings. There's Casa de los Azulejos (House of tiles). Built in the 16 Century, it's now a chain department store + restaurant inside. The brunch at that restaurant (at a beautiful courtyard) supposedly to be good, but the waiting line is too long and I had little time to spare...what a pity.
So I end up having brunch at the old colonial Hotel Majestic's 10th floor restaurant that has a patio with a great view of the Zocalo (where I snapped the first pix). They only have buffet for Sunday, the food is just so-so. The magarita was strong though, I was a little drunk afterward (I've had two).
A night shot of the Palacio de Bellas Artes (The fine art Palace), an opera house that was constructed starting from the 1900. There're murals and art shows inside. I was actually quite disappointed at the interior...too much marble and it doesn't come off as grand as it should be.
At last in the midst of so many old historic buildings is Torre Lationamericana (Latin American Tower), Mexico City's first skyscrapper. It was once the tallest building in Latin America. A significant symbol of the modernization of Mexico. Apparently you can go on top of the building and its got an amazing view of the city.
More picture of Historic Center on my flicker here.
Joan | April 26, 2007 02:30 AM
Yeah I absolutely love the city, I like how it has both stunning old and new buildings right next to each other. I already want to go back because I seem to miss lots of things. ^^;;
The murals were done in 1929-1935.
Joan | May 1, 2007 11:03 AM
The city is so beautiful!
The mural looks modern(not that I know anything). How old are they?
seat | April 29, 2007 12:15 AM
Yeah Teen I think I remember all of them except for one. But there's this one really good place that I didn't get the chance to go and you should, it's called Contramar. Almost everyone I know who've been to Mexico City said that's their favorite place. It's on Durango Street in the Roma neighbourhood (which is sorta like "Soho"). I hope you have a good them there in summer.
Joan | April 28, 2007 11:42 AM
thanks for the great pics. this is like a preview for my upcoming trip down there this summer.
i can't wait!
do you think you can remember the names of any of the good places you ate at?