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Mexico City

Country
Mexico
State
Mexico
City
Mexico City
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico), capital of the country and seat of the central government, lies at an altitude of over 2200 m (7300 ft) in the Valley of Mexico or Valley of Anáhuac, a high valley surrounded by mighty mountain ranges. Owing to
the city's high altitude it has an equable climate which suits visitors from more northerly regions, and its situation is breathtaking, seeming to lie at the foot of two magnificent snow-covered volcanoes rising to over 5000 m (16,000 ft), Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. The city preserves countless reminders of its past of more than 650 years, though pre-Columbian art and architecture exist almost solely in isolated fragments and museum reproductions, since the conquistadors built the nucleus of their new town on the ruins of the old Aztec metropolis of Tenochtitlán which they had destroyed. Against this, however, there are many churches and palaces of the colonial period, mainly in the Baroque style; and modern Mexican architecture is represented by numbers of fine buildings, particularly those of the 1950s and 1960s.

The city area extends for more than 40km/25mi from north to south and for an average of 25km/15mi from east to west. The Federal District (Distrito Federal; see entry), which is headed by a Regente directly responsible to the President, was created to establish the capital as a separate administrative unit but is no longer adequate to contain the city's northward growth, so that its new industrial suburbs extend into the neighbouring state of México.



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How to Reach

By Air

The main airport serving the Mexico City is the Benito Juarez International Airport. It is located on the eastern part of the city and connects Mexico City with major cities of the world. Some of the popular airlines are Aerolineas Argentinas, US Airways, American Airlines, Avianca, British Airways, Air Canada, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Copa, Aeromexico, Air France and others. In addition to this airport there is Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport.

By Bus

There are both state and private run buses running down the streets of the Mexico City. The buses run by the City Government are known as RTP while the private run buses are known as "Microbuses" or "Peseros".

Apart from these there are many taxi, car rental services and light rail services that the locals and the tourists avail for their daily transportation. Mexico City Travel provides relevant information on all these.

By Metro

Metro is the best and the most reliable means of transportation in the city. Though commonly popular among the masses as metro, its official name is "Sistema de Transporte Colectivo". It is one of the most used underground systems of the world. Commuters prefer because of is speedy services and cheap tickets.

Key places to visit
Chapultepec Park, National Museum of Anthropology, Parque Zoologico, National Palace, Templo Mayor


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Places to Visit

Chapultepec Park

he Bosque de Chapultepec (Nahuatl, "hill of the grasshoppers") is Mexico City's principal park and, with an area of 4sq.km/2.5sq.mi, its largest. It was once a stronghold of the Toltecs, and the Toltec ruler, Huémec, is said to have hanged himself here in 1177 after fleeing from Tula. In 1200 the Aztecs (Mexica) settled on the hill after their long wanderings but were driven away again twenty years later by neighbouring tribes. Legend has it that the park was originally laid out in the first half of the 15th c. by Netzahualcóyotl, the poet king of Texcoco. As the power of Tenochtitlán increased the hill became a summer residence of the Aztec rulers, and water from the springs here was conveyed to the temple precinct in the capital by means of an aqueduct, remains of which can still be seen in Avenida Chapultepec between its junctions with Calles Praga and Warsovia. Portraits of the Aztec rulers were carved from the rock on the slopes of the hill, and remnants of these can still be seen on the eastern slope.

National Museum of Anthropology

The National Museum of Anthropology, one of the most important of its kind in the world, is to be found in the northern section of Chapultepec Park. At the entrance stands a huge monolithic figure hitherto identified as the rain god Tláloc but in fact, according to the latest theories, more probably his sister, the water-goddess Chalchiuhtlicue (Náhuatl, "she of the jade-rock"). This colossal unfinished figure, weighing 167 tonnes, was found near San Miguel Coatlinchán and transported to its present site with the greatest difficulty.

The Museum was designed by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and built in 1963-64. A strikingly successful example of contemporary architecture and of notably harmonious effect, it is one of the world's finest museums, with its old Indian art treasures magnificently displayed.

A notable feature is the Central Patio, part of which is roofed over by a kind of gigantic stone umbrella, sculpted by José Chávez Morado and borne on a column 11 m (36 ft) high. From the top a continuous curtain of water falls into the basin below, symbolising the eternal cycle of life.

Parque Zoologico

Between the lake and Calzada Molino on its west bank lie the Zoo (Parque Zoológico), one of the only zoos outside China in which giant pandas have successfully been bred, and the excellent Botanic Garden (Jardín Botánico). In the newer part of the park is the Auditorio Nacional, a huge hall with accommodation for 15,000 spectators, which is used for cultural events, sporting contests and so on.

National Palace

The whole of the east side of the main square (Zócalo) is occupied by the National Palace (Palacio Nacional), with a façade over 200 m (650 ft) long. Built of reddish tezontle stone, it is the official residence of the President and houses various government offices. Originally built by Cortés on the razed site of Moctezuma II's "New Palace", it was the seat of the Spanish viceroys during the colonial period and thereafter that of the President of the Republic. Much altered and enlarged over the years and partly destroyed during the 1692 uprising, it is one of the oldest and finest buildings in the city. The third storey was added in the 1920s, under the rule of President Calles
Above the large central doorway, surmounted by the Mexican coat-of-arms, hangs the Freedom Bell, rung by Miguel Hidalgo at Dolores on September 15th 1810 at the start of the War of Independence. Every year on September 15th the bell is rung by the President at 11 p.m. and the "Grito de Dolores" is repeated from the balcony.

Templo Mayor

Behind the Cathedral, at the corner of Calles Argentina and Guatemala, lie remains of the Temple Precinct of Tenochtitlán which were discovered some years ago and left in situ. In February 1978 workers building the Metro found a carved stone, a round disc 3.25m (nearly 11ft) in diameter and weighing 8500kg (8.5tons), finely sculpted with a relief of the beheaded and dismembered goddess Coyolxauhqui.

This find stimulated other excavations. Until then it had been assumed that the Gran Teocalli, the principal pyramid of Tenochtitlán, lay buried under the Zócalo, but these latest excavations showed the religious and political centre of the Aztec kingdom to have been here, further to the north-east. This temple pyramid had been the dominant building of the holy precinct; on the top, pointing south, stood the temple to Huitzlipochtli, god of war, and to the north that of Tláloc, the god of rain. Together these symbolised the chief Aztec deities of war and death, life and water.

Right Time to Visit

February - May

Temperature

April - May -> 27(°C) - Summer
December - January -> 5(°C) - Spring


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