Distrito Federal Tourist Attractions
Mexico City, the political, historical and cultural capital of the country, was founded in 1325 by the Mexicans and has been a gathering site for many cultures since then. Its Megalopolis status locates it as one of the most dynamic and large cities on the planet. It is one of the most diverse cultural conglomerates, legendary and modern, which fascinates and seduces all of its visitors. Its historical layers drape the city in Prehispanic buildings, colonial works of art and contemporary architecture.
NATIONAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND HISTORY MUSEUM
This great museum, considered one of the best in its category worldwide, exhibits the full extent of the arts and history of Mexico’s Prehispanic cultures, including Teotihuacan, Maya, Mexica, Olmeca, and Northern and Eastern cultures.
This venue, located at Bosque de Chapultepec, was inaugurated in 1964. The first floor shows archeology halls that exhibit collections from extinct cultures. On the upper floor, ethnography halls display the traits of existing indigenous cultures.
This museum has 44 thousand square meters of buildings and 37 square meters of outdoors, including a central patio, access plaza and some theme gardens. AS an ornamental element and icon of the museum the Tlaloc god sculpture proudly stands alongside the main avenue, Paseo de la Reforma. Throughout the museum there are scale models, maps and paintings illustrating and reconstructing architectural masterpieces, such as Quetzalcoatl Pyramid and the Palenque Tomb, plus the emblematic Aztec Calendar.
It also exhibits the artistry of famous painters from the 60’s, such as Rufino Tamayo, Leonora Carrington and Nicolas Moreno in their works inspired by Mesoamerican cultures.
This emblematic zoo is one of the dearest symbols of the great Mexican metropolis. Its collection dates back to the era of President Porfirio Diaz and has since been enriched with new specimens. Its current construction began in 1923 and exhibits more than 200 species. It shows more than 2,000 individuals under controlled reproduction. Some of its missions are recreation, education, research and species preservation.
Outstanding among its resident are a great number of endemic species and from diverse parts of the world, some in danger of extinction, such as the Giant Panda from China, the Gorilla from Africa and the Bear from America, among others.
This stadium is considered to be one of the most important sports buildings in the world. It began to be constructed in 1962 and was inaugurated on May 29, 1966 by the renowned Mexican architect, Pedro Ramirez Vazquez. It was the venue of the Olympic Games in 1968 and the World Soccer Cups of 1970 and 1986. It can hold up to 105 spectators and is home to the popular Aguilas del America team.
In the center of Plaza de la Republica, next to Paseo de la Reforma, President Porfirio Diaz ordered the construction of the Law Courts he never concluded due to the civil war that overthrew his government. The steel structure was all that was left when in 1933, the new leaders decided to turn it into a monument to the Revolution, designed by Architect Carlos Obregon. This monument now holds the mortal remains of some of famous leaders and heroes of the Revolution.
‘BELLAS ARTES’ PALACE
This monumental building is thought of as the “Cathedral of Mexico’s Art”, as well as an artistic monument by itself. It offers multiple activities, including the main seasons of the most important fine arts companies in institutions, such as the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Dancing company, the National Opera company, the National Theater company and the National Folk Ballet.
It safeguards spectacular works from the leaders of Mexican Muralism: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Montenegro, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano and Jorge González Camarena. In 1987, UNESCO declared it World Heritage Artistic Monument.
Templo Mayor and its ceremonial center was the greatest architectural structure in the city of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, located on the original islet of its foundation. It was a double temple, a pyramid with two stairways and an annex esplanade on each frontal corner of its base. On its top are the temples dedicated to Tlaloc, god of rain (north) and Huitzilopochtli, goddess of war (south). It is currently an archeological site and a museum dedicated to Mexico’s Prehispanic heritage.
This great archeological and research enterprise has revealed significant discoveries on the Aztec civilization through seven layers dating from before the 15th century, when it was destroyed by Spanish conquerors.
The Museum of Templo Mayor was inaugurated on October 12, 1987 under the archeological project of Professor Eduardo Matos Montezuma, who continued being in charge of this effort until 2002. This museum has eight halls exhibiting thousands of objects from the rescued collection. Displayed within its vestibule is a truly impressive monumental scale model that virtually reconstructs the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan.
These eight halls show exhibits on rituals and sacrifice, tribute and commerce, Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui, Tlaloc, flora and fauna, agriculture and historical archeology.
The heart of religious passion for Mexicans, the Cathedral is also an architectural legacy of impressive beauty and significance. Located in front of the Zocalo and Palacio Nacional, it is one of the most visited religious sites in the world.
Its construction dates back to 1572, when it was designed and planned by Claudio de Arciniega and Juan Miguel de Agüero and as with all the great cathedrals in the world, it took three centuries to conclude. Its construction was finished in 1810, although it is continuously under restoration.
The Cathedral has five naves; the central is of greatest height with barrel vaults and processional falls. The side naves form seven chapels on each side; the oldest have cross coverings, the same as the capitulary hall and sacristy. The polygonal apse safeguards the altarpiece of the Kings. The chorus is located between the axis of the main nave and the organs run along the walls. The original organ was assembled in 1695; an original from Spain and the second was built y Jose de Nasare, in Mexico, in 1735. The eastern chapels contain rich altarpieces and extraordinary works of art from creoles, mestizo and indigenous artists.