Historic Center of Mexico City

The old city center or Historic Center of Mexico City, centered around the Plaza de la Constitución (zocalo), is an area clearly different from the rest of the city.

Its colonial and European architecture and narrow cobbled streets set it apart from the rest of Mexico City. It has a huge amount of shops, street vendors and especially crowds. Without a doubt, this area is one of the most popular areas of Mexico City.

Centro Historico de la ciudad de mexico city

You must know:

The original foundation of Mexico City was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire established around 1325 and destroyed by the Spaniards in 1521. The center of Mexico City has a large number of ancient buildings dating back to 16th century Because of its importance, it was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 1987.

Featured Buildings:

Constitution Square (The Zocalo).

The Zocalo is one of the largest squares in the world. It is flanked by the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace to the east, as well as other historic buildings.

A huge Mexican flag occupies the center, which is lowered and ceremoniously raised again every day at 6 p.m. Here you can find a wide variety of events, including concerts, demonstrations or other more typical social gatherings.

On New Year’s Day, practitioners of the indigenous religions of Mexico gather to bless believers for next year; Mexican independence is celebrated in the square on September 15 and 16.

Centro Historico de la ciudad de mexico city

Metropolitan Cathedral.

The largest cathedral in the American continent. Designed by Claudio de Arcinieaga, construction began in 1573 and lasted more than 300 years. Be sure to check the side chapels where parishioners leave offerings for the various saints.

For a panoramic view of the square, you can take a 40-minute tour of the upper levels and the bell towers of the cathedral. Free pass.

Metropolitan Cathedral.

A side chapel next to the Cathedral was completed in 1769.

National Palace

National Palace. The palace in its current form began to be built in 1693 and served as the Viceroy Palace of New Spain until the Mexican War of Independence, when it became the executive headquarters of the President.

The walls inside the palace contain murals by Diego Rivera that represent the history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times to the Mexican Revolution. You can also visit the Legislative Precinct, a replica of the first Mexican Congress, and tour the house of Benito Juárez.

Templo Mayor

The site of the main Aztec temple of Tenochtitlan, was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors in 1521, who then erected the Cathedral quickly on it.

Centuries later, almost completely forgotten, its real location was discovered by accident in 1978 when electricity workers found a piece of a large stone disk representing the goddess Coyolxauhqui.

This triggers a few exhaustive years of archaeological excavation, resulting in a rather surprising (and extremely significant) discovery that nested under the original Aztec temple had six distinct smaller and older temples.

You can see each layer walking through the excavation site, and after that there is the Museo del Templo Mayor, a four-story museum that shows the many artifacts found on the site.

Monte de Piedad National

This building, which was completed in 1758, was built on the grounds of the house of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma and later the residence of the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés. The building was acquired in 1838 by the National Monte de Piedad, a pawnshop established in 1775 that still works today.

Manuel Gamio Square

Seminar plaza between Moneda and Guatemala streets. It presents an outdoor diorama of the old Tenochtitlan.

Centro Historico de la ciudad de mexico city

Latin American Tower

Construction began in 1948 and was completed in 1956. This was the first skyscraper in Mexico, with 44 floors and 182 meters. There is an observatory on the 42nd floor.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari. Its construction began in 1905, however, due to the Revolutionary War, it was not completed until 1934. Home of the famous Folkloric Ballet of Mexico, which regularly presents shows on Wednesdays and Sundays. The show is highly recommended, with traditional dance styles from all over Mexico.

Manuel Tolsa Square

In this beautiful square you can find the Palace of Mining, the National Museum of Art and the statue of the Spanish king Carlos IV, also known as “The Little Horse”.

Palace of Mining

Formerly the Mining College, this building dating from 1792 has an old library and a chapel. It serves as the venue for the Annual Book Fair of Mexico City.

San Francisco Temple

This church began in the 16th century and was completed in the 19th century. This temple was built on the grounds of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma Zoo.

Temple of Felipe de Jesús

Built in 1897 on the grounds of the old Basque Church of Aranzazu.

Centro Historico de la ciudad de mexico city

Iturbide Palace

One of the oldest buildings in the city, built at the end of the 16th century, was the home of the local nobility and then the residence of Mexican Emperor Agustín de Iturbide. The building belongs today to the Cultural Trust of the National Bank of Mexico.

Bank of Mexico Building

Office of the Central Bank of Mexico built in 1925.

Postal Palace

One of the most beautiful buildings in the country and considered a National Heritage Building. Built in 1906, this European-style building houses the main post office. Most of the materials used to build it were brought from Italy.

House of tiles

This department store and restaurant is located in the former residence of the Counts of the Orizaba Valley. At the end of the 19th century it became the Sanborns store, founded by the Sanborn brothers, American immigrants in Mexico City.

Santo Domingo Square

The second largest square in the Historic Center after the Zocalo. It is surrounded by several important buildings such as the Palace of the Inquisition, the convent of Santo Domingo and the old Customs.

Supreme Court of Justice

This building was completed in 1945 and was designed by the architect Antonio Muñoz García.

Centro Historico de la ciudad de mexico city

Foundation Square

This place supposedly is where the Aztecs found the eagle eating a snake on top of a cactus, the divine sign of the gods to establish and establish the city of Tenochtitlan. It has a sculpture by Juan Olaguibel made in 1970.

Church of Santa Teresa

Originally built in 1678 and renovated in 1845.

Old Palace of the Inquisition,

It was the seat of the Holy Inquisition, the religious authority famous for torturing heretics. Today it houses the Museum of Mexican Medicine.

China Town on Dolores Street.

Recently refurbished, this street became a pedestrian street full of restaurants and Chinese shops.

Grand Hotel of Mexico City, Constitution Square (Zócalo).

Also known as “Mercantile Center”, this building built in 1899 was once a luxury shopping center. It was converted into a hotel in 1966. The lobby of this place appeared in the movie “Frida”.

Plaza of the Three Cultures.

Named this way because in a city square you can see three different time periods of the development of Mexico City mixed: the grounds of the pre-Hispanic Aztec temple of Tlatelolco, the Spanish church of Santiago of the 16th century and a modern skyscraper of the 20th century , now home of the Tlatelolco University Cultural Center (CCUT) for UNAM. The temple, like the Templo Mayor de Tenochtitlán, was built in several layers and is now the site of continuous archaeological exploration; It occupies the largest amount of area, on the north and west side of the square

Centro Historico de la ciudad de mexico city

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