I had been planning to go to Mexico City on holiday for a while. I had this feeling that it was really close to the UK, only six hours flight away, but surprisingly it was a twelve hour flight on the way, very long indeed. It was really worth all the travel. Mexico City is amazing and full of cultural sites to visit. It surprised me by how much culture you can find in one place; it is one of the oldest cities in Latin America. I decided to stay in the historic centre, which was a good idea. Luckily most sites were within walking distance. The traffic in Mexico is crazy, anywhere you drive takes forever…
The first place I visited was the main square in central Mexico City. Also know as the Zócalo or Plaza del Zócalo. The formal name is Plaza de La Constitución. It is a massive square, where they hold lots of events during the year. The square has variously served as a forum for mass protests, free concerts, a human chessboard, a regular gallery of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) altars and an ice-skating rink. It’s even been a canvas for photo artist Spencer Tunick, who filled the square with 18,000 nude Mexicans in May 2007. The Cathedral is a beautiful building that you can see from all over the square.
The are few places you can visit here, The ceremonial centre of Aztec Tenochtitlán, known as the Teocalli, lay immediately northeast of the Zócalo. Today the Zócalo is home to the powers that be. On its east side is the Palacio Nacional (the presidential palace), on the north is the Catedral Metropolitana, and on the south are the city government offices. Jewelry shops and extravagant hotels line the arcade known as the Portal de Mercaderes on the plaza’s west side.
The huge Mexican flag flying in the middle of the Zócalo is ceremonially raised at 8am by soldiers of the Mexican army, then lowered at 6pm.
The weather was wonderfully hot here, but didn’t feel overwhelming, as it was quite a dry heat and the evenings were nice and cool. I really had fun on my first day in Mexico. There’s so much you can do here that you cannot fit everything into one blog. I’ll be doing it over several posts.