When it comes to cultural tourism, few cities in the world can give you as much to learn as Mexico City. There are plenty of things to see and a lot of things to learn in the Country’s capital and you would probably need a couple of months to see them all. Because of that it is a good idea to prepare yourself by looking for the most important sites before you get there. Unfortunately even the best travel books do not have everything that you could see in a city like DF. Here are some of the top sites for those looking to immerse themselves in the cultural experiences of this travel destination.
Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for people looking to study or visit archaeological sites. Mexico City has more than just a few things to admire without having to leave the city. The Museo de Antropologia (Anthropology Museum) has the most comprehensive collection of artifacts from the country and it is one of the most important museums in the world. Visiting it will give you a chance to understand the ancient cultures in the country and some of Central and South America.
If museums are not your thing you can visit different archaeological sites right in the city. Templo Mayor is right at the city center, and it is the most visited archaeological site in the metropolitan area. Other spots like Tlatelolco are not visited as often by tourists, but it should still be on your things to do list. Tlatelolco relatively close to the Bellas Artes building but it is a better idea to go to the Garibaldi station to get there. To the south of the city you will find the Cuicuilco site which features a main round shaped pyramid several smaller structures and a small museum that tells you the history of one of the oldest civilizations in the city.Credit: W Fonseca
Besides the Museo de Antropologia you will be able to find others of great importance in Mexico City. The Casa Azul or Frida Kahlo Museum is the home of the famous Mexican artist which is now a museum where you can admire some of her works and things which she used while she lived there. Casa Azul is a bit harder to get to, and the closest metro station is the Coyoacan station. Casa Diego Rivera also gives you an insight into the lives of the most famous artist couple in the history of Mexico.
Bellas Artes also has plenty of works of arts and murals, and though most people think of it as a place where you will see the Opera or the symphonic orchestra, it is also 2 museums in one. The Architecture Museum on the 4th floor of the Bellas Artes building and it is worth visiting.
You can also head to the Castillo de Chapultepec, which is in one of greenest areas in Mexico City (Bosque de Chapultepec). The Castle is full of history and its museum tells you all of it from the Presidents that used it as a residence to the military history during the Mexican-American war. The castle also gives you a great view of the west side of the city. Other museums to visit include the Modern Art Museum which is close to the Castillo de Chapultepec, Museum at Templo Mayor, Museo de Arte de la Ciudad de Mexico and the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico.
Those that admire religious buildings will love what they see in Mexico City. Some of the churches in the city date back to the 1500's. Such is the case of the Church of Santiago in Tlatelolco which the builders used the stones of the Aztec city right next to it to complete. The Mexico City Cathedral is probably the most visited in the city due to where it is right in the city center. The Cathedral was originally built in 1570 but it was not finished until 1813. The size of the Cathedral and its beauty make it one of the most famous churches in Latin America. The Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe was the first one built in honor of the patron saint of Mexico which is the Virgin of Guadalupe. The fact that the church is there to honor of the patron saint of the entire country is a good reason to visit this church in the north of Mexico City.Credit: W Fonseca
A lot of the museums and the more prominent buildings in Mexico City are those that have experienced some sort of historical event. The churches mentioned earlier of course have a lot of history in them, but there is so much more.
The Centro Historico and Zocalo has seen many presidents and historic events take place there. Before the Spaniards arrived in Mexico this was the main site of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Eventually the site became a place for the rich Spaniards who extracted precious metals from the area and transformed it into a town of colonial architecture.
The Plaza de las Tres Culturas has seen its share bloodshed; so many people have died here that some think the place is cursed. One of the last battles in the area between the Aztecs and the conquistadors took place at what now is the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, and so did the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre. Even the 1985 earthquake saw one of the main buildings in the area come down killing hundreds of residents of the area when it collapsed.
People who speak or understand Spanish have a great advantage when studying the history of Mexico City; all that you need is a mobile phone and to pay attention to your surroundings. You will find several spots that indicate that a historic event took place there and you can read a little about it at the site or you can dial the number on the post where more information is available.
The city has made a great effort to show its culture and history and you can see it on the streets, museums and even at a lot of the metro train stations. Next time that you visit this great city, keep your eyes open; the city tells you a lot about itself if you pay attention to it.