Mexico: The Fusion of Two Ages
January 1, 1970
by María José Landa
COLONIAL PERIOD ARCHITECTURE
Mexico City has always been a landmark when talking about rich places in history and culture. In the very center of it, the majesty and baroque style of the Metropolitan Cathedral stands firmly opening its doors to the Christian community.
Along with it, the rest of the buildings that surround the Main Square of the capital, Zócalo, share the same social and historical value. As they have in their roots the legacy of one of the most powerful of the ancient Latin American cultures: The Aztecs. Nowadays, we can see, all around the Main Square, different types of performances, which include dances and ancient religious rites, that give us a closer idea of what aztec traditions looked like more than 500 years ago.
Among the buildings that surround the Zócalo, we can found the National Palace, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, along with the hospitality of buildings such as The Best Western Hotel Majestic and The Great Hotel of Mexico City, which are excellent options for you to stay and get the most out of your visit to the metropolis.
Nearby, tons of museums bring to life the central part of the capital as they attract thousands of tourists every year and also safeguard the amazing heritage of the metropolis. The Great Temple Museum, Saint Ildefonso Museum and Photography Archives Museum are just a few examples of them.
MODERN PERIOD ARCHITECTURE
Traveling through time and just a few blocks from there, another checkpoint rises impressively with a mixture of characteristics from different architectural styles: the Palace of Fine Arts. A cultural center, which offers everybody the pleasure to see temporal expositions as well as concerts from Mexico’s City Philharmonic Orchestra and shows from the Mexican National Dance Company.
The buildings, parks and streets change very quickly as we approach to one of the main avenues of the city, Paseo de la Reforma. A wide artery of the capital’s heart, which in various occasions has been catalogued as the “modernity itself”.
Full of sculptures, hotels, restaurants, malls and parks; Paseo de la Reforma is one of the most important parts of the city, economically and historically talking as it was the main entrance to the one and only: Chapultepec Castle.
It rises above the city in a hill that was considered sacred by the ancient Aztecs and centuries later was built in order to house the regent of the second Empire in Mexico’s history, Maximilian I of Mexico and he’s spouse, the Princess Charlotte of Belgium.
The castle is surrounded by Chapultepec Forest, a huge park divided into different sections where you can do a lot of activities (and believe me, a lot!) such as: riding on a bike, visiting the zoo, going for a walk around the lake, go skating, visiting museums such as Anthropology Museum, Modern Art Museum and Snail Museum (and it doesn’t have any snail). You can also rest on a boat, go see the Dance of the Flyers and buy lots of souvenirs at any single part of Chapultepec.
USEFUL TIPS WHEN VISITING THE METROPOLIS
In my opinion, Mexico City is such a beautiful place full of different things to do and places to visit, but it also represents a lot of people and cars (everywhere) , so I can recommend you some things to do and take into account in order to have the best experience while visiting the central part of the city. As well as 10 different places that you can visit and 10 restaurants where you will have the chance to taste the traditional mexican dishes and flavors.
- Check the opening hour and try to arrive early at any place you want to visit. In this city, it’s just a matter of minutes to find it possible or not to get a fast entrance to a certain place.
- Avoid using car or public transport (unless it is the “Metrobus” system) at the rush-hour-traffic (8 am, 2 pm and 6 pm) if you are visiting any place on weekdays (Monday to Friday).
- If you plan to travel by subway I can recommend you to plan the number of trips you’ll make during the whole day in order to buy them in one single occasion.
- Most of the times the small food trucks are cheaper and tastier than huge and expensive restaurants.
- If you’re planning to visit Mexico City during summer carry at every time a cap/hat and use tons of sun block. If you’re planning your visit during winter season (specially in January) it is recommended to bring a big jacket. Definitely, the best months to plan your visit are March-May as you’ll have the chance to be witness of the Jacaranda flowering season.
- One of the better ways to explore Paseo de la Refoma is renting a bike. On Sundays, the inner lanes of this Avenue are closed for cars and open to bikes, joggers, and skaters.
- There are a lot of smartphone applications (such as ‘MoveIt’ which can be useful) when using different types of public transport to get to a certain place.
- The best way to buy souvenirs is with street vendors. The prices are so much lower than in any museum. One good option is the Ciudadela Market.
- In Mexico (I mean, all over the country) it is preferable to drink bottled water rather than drinking it directly from a water tap. You can prevent serious stomachaches.
- When trying new food, always ask the waiter if it is too spicy or seasoned. Whenever possible ask them to bring the sauce in a separate bowl.
- There are a lot of places, which offer free entrance on Sundays, so check your options and plan your routes and schedules.
- One great alternative to get to know better this part of the capital is buying a Turibus ticket. It’s a tour service with a wide range of routes and destinations where you will also have a guide that can answer to any of your questions about the city.
TOP 10 NEARBY PLACES TO…
- Metropolitan Cathedral
- The Angel of Independence
- Reforma 222 Mall
- Chapultepec Castle
- Latin American Tower Lookout
- Palace of Fine Arts
- Anthropology Museum
- Modern Art Museum
- National Auditorium
- Chapultepec Forest
HAVE A DELICIOUS MEAL
- “San Juan” Market
- The Cardinal
- Coox Hanal
- “The Tile Samborns”
- The Sunflowers
- Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill
- The Conqueror Terrace
- Blue Historic
- The Muslim Churreria
- Tacuba Cafe