From early childhood, traveling and interest in various splendid sights of our wonderful world was my genuine and, occasionally, all-consuming passion. However, before visiting a particular place, I always spare no effort for adequate preparation and thoroughly explore all essential information, especially about local culture and traditions. In this regard, in the summer, my choice had fallen on Mexico City, which was conditioned by the excellent opportunity to learn about the abundance of different attractions in this fascinating and versatile city. Thus, in this paper, I will describe my journey to Mexico City and some of the most unforgettable sites worth visiting.
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Before telling about the visited places, I think I should give a short description of Mexico to provide some understanding of it and show the reasonableness of my choice. Firstly, after about 700-year history, which is reflected in the city’s architecture and life, Mexico becomes one of the most considerable and wealthiest human metropolises globally, with a population comprising almost 22 million (“Mexico City,” n.d.).
Moreover, Mexico City possesses over 300 museums, nearly half of which are officially-recognized (“20 Facts,” 2017). The city also has the largest urban park in Latin America, named the Chapultepec Forest which is twice as vast as New York’s Central Park. Finally, the town is rife with art galleries, concert halls, theatres, historic places, including Aztec pyramids, trade squares, magnificent festivals, and other entertainments that contribute to vivid cultural activity during the whole year.
The Seen Sights
The primary place worth visiting is Zocalo, officially called Plaza de Constitution, which is the heart of Mexico City. This largest and most beautiful square in the country, with pyramids and palaces, which was once the Aztecs’ ceremonial center, serves as a place for military parades, political demonstrations, and other social gatherings. It is worth noting that directly opposite the Zocalo, Catedral Metropolitana, the most beautiful temple building and the oldest Christian temple in America, is situated.
It was completed by the best city architects, who successfully combined the neoclassical, baroque, and Renaissance styles that give the cathedral an unrivaled harmonious look. Inside, I was overwhelmingly impressed with the richness of various interior forms, especially the pictorial performance of surface ornament belonging to the colonial epoch.
Besides, to the right of the Cathedral, I found the Mexico City President’s Palace, known as Palacio Nacional. The gorgeous palace contains Diego Rivera’s frescoes that depict Mexico’s history from the pre-Columbian age to the Mexican Revolution. Remarkably, the entrance to the Presidential Palace and even tours in English are free. Finally, on the northwest side of the square, you can see the remains of ancient Tenochtitlan, the pre-Hispanic Aztec capital. This place has the main Aztec temple, Templo Mayor, which was the center of their religious life. Here, I discovered interesting era artifacts, such as urns or obsidian knives, and ceremonial platforms and pyramids principally devoted to the gods of rain and war.
After the central square, I visited the beautiful and large park named Alameda Central, where tourists can rest from the hustle and bustle under the shade of trees, enjoying calm music and the fountains’ sounds. In the park’s eastern part, I came across the enormous Palace of Fine Arts, or El Palacio de Bellas Artes, an opera house built of marble and distinguished by the exceptional splendor of art deco. The most famous Mexican artists, such as Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Alfaro Siqueiros, worked on its wall decoration. Currently, the palace holds concerts and exhibitions of contemporary art, including Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, the performance of which I managed to see subsequently.
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Another prominent sight where I gained much pleasure and memorable impressions is Xochimilco, located 18 km south of the city center, meaning “where the flowers grow” in the Aztec language. The richest flower market and admiring islets with gardens and orchards artfully arranged in the middle of the water serve as the confirmation of this name. In 1987, the floating city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is the sole surviving example of traditional land use in the Mexico City Basin in the pre-Hispanic period (“Khan, 2016). Here, I had the opportunity to ride colorful boats, called trajineras, along chinampas, and ancient Aztec canals, and listened to music performed by mariachi and marimba ensembles.
In addition, I visited some museums and galleries, including the National History Museum, Museo Mural Diego Rivera, and Museo Nacional de Antropologia, to reveal the historical heritage of the city more profoundly. In particular, the National Museum of Anthropology amazed me the most, possessing a unique collection of archaeological and anthropological exhibits from the pre-Columbian era. The most stunning man-made creations exhibited here are the gigantic Stone of the Sun, a basalt monolith weighing 24 tons, and a giant figure of the Aztec rain god Tlaloc weighing almost 200 tons. Besides, I liked their cafeteria which hosted musical performances using prehistoric musical instruments.
In conclusion, I should admit that all the national wealth and heritage I visited and saw is merely a minor part Mexico City possess. Nevertheless, these all squares, palaces, museums, and galleries provided me with incomprehensible delight and memories. Every day spent was full of exciting activities and trips. Furthermore, the given visit has broadened my mind about the different cultures and helped me realize the importance of promoting diversity development among people and their interaction.
Khan, G. (2016). Top 10 things to do in Mexico City. National Geographic. Web.
Mexico City, Mexico metro area population 1950-2020. (n.d.). Macrotrends. Web.
20 facts you never imagined of Mexico City. (2017). My Guide. Web.