Mexico City is the capital and largest city of Mexico and the most-populous city in North America.
It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico.
As of December 2020, the population of Mexico City is about 9,000,000 people.
The city covers a total area of 1,485 square kilometers (573 square miles).
The average altitude is 2,240 metres (7,350 feet) above sea level.
The city is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that reach elevations of over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet).
The city now known as Mexico City was founded as Mexico Tenochtitlan in 1324 and a century later became the dominant city-state of the Aztec Triple Alliance, formed in 1430 and composed of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan.
The city was built on an island in the middle of the major lake system, they had political power over holdings on the mainland, a standard pattern of scattered rather than compact settlement and rule.
At its height, Tenochtitlan had enormous temples and palaces, a huge ceremonial center, residences of political, religious, military, and merchants. Its population was estimated at least 100,000 and perhaps as high as 200,000 in 1519 when the Spaniards first saw it.
Mexico City was the political, administrative, and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire.
After independence from Spain was achieved, the federal district was created in 1824.
As Mexico City grew, it became one large urban area.
Today, Mexico City is the political, economic and social hub of Mexico and the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo) in Downtown Mexico City. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan, eventually replacing it entirely. Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega planned the construction, drawing inspiration from Gothic cathedrals in Spain.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, basilica, and National shrine of Mexico which houses the cloak containing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The 1709 shrine was built in the North of Mexico City near the hill of Tepeyac, where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. The basilica structure which now contains Diego’s cloak was completed in 1974. One of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism, the basilica and tilma (cloak) are visited by several million people every year, especially around 12 December, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast day.
The Zócalo or Plaza del Zócalo is the common name of the main square in central Mexico City. It has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times, having been the site of Mexican ceremonies, the swearing-in of viceroys, royal proclamations, military parades, Independence ceremonies, and modern religious events such as the festivals of Holy Week and Corpus Christi. It has received foreign heads of state and is the main venue for both national celebrations and national protests. The Zócalo and surrounding blocks have played a central role in the city’s planning and geography for almost 700 years. The site is just one block southwest of the Templo Mayor, which, according to Aztec legend and mythology, was considered the center of the universe.
Chapultepec Castle is located on top of Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City’s Chapultepec park. The name Chapultepec is the Nahuatl word chapoltepēc which means “at the grasshopper’s hill”. The castle has such unparalleled views and terraces that historian James F. Elton wrote that they can’t “be surpassed in beauty in any part of the world”. It is located at the entrance to Chapultepec Park at a height of 2,325 meters (7,630 feet) above sea level.
The Angel of Independence, most commonly known by the shortened name El Ángel and officially known as Monumento a la Independencia, is a victory column on a roundabout on the major thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma in downtown Mexico City. El Ángel was built in 1910 during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico’s War of Independence. In later years it was made into a mausoleum for the most important heroes of that war. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City, and it has become a focal point for both celebration and protest.
The National Museum of Anthropology is a national museum of Mexico. It is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico. The museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage, such as the Stone of the Sun and the Aztec Xochipilli statue. Assessments of the museum vary, with one considering it “a national treasure and a symbol of identity. The museum is the synthesis of an ideological, scientific, and political feat.”
The Palacio de Bellas Artes is a prominent cultural center in Mexico City. It has hosted some of the most notable events in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature and has held important
exhibitions of painting, sculpture and photography. Consequently, the Palacio de Bellas Artes has been called the “Cathedral of Art in Mexico”. The building is located on the western side of the
historic center of Mexico City next to the Alameda Central park.
The Museo Soumaya is a private museum in Mexico City and a non-profit cultural institution with two museum buildings in Mexico City – Plaza Carso and Plaza Loreto. It has over 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art including sculptures from Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art and an extensive repertoire of works by European old masters and masters of modern western art such as Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dalí, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Tintoretto. It is called one of the most complete collections of its kind.
The Frida Kahlo Museum also known as the Blue House for the structure’s cobalt-blue walls, is a historic house museum and art museum dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. It is located in the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacán in Mexico City. The building was Kahlo’s birthplace, the home where she grew up, lived with her husband Diego Rivera for a number of years, and where she later died in a room on the upper floor. In 1957, Diego Rivera donated the home and its contents in order to turn it into a museum in Frida’s honor.
Chapultepec, more commonly called the “Bosque de Chapultepec” in Mexico City, is one of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere, measuring in total just over 686 hectares (1,695 acres). Centered on a rock formation called Chapultepec Hill, one of the park’s main functions is an ecological space in Greater Mexico City. It is considered the first and most important of Mexico
City’s “lungs”, with trees that replenish oxygen to the Valley of Mexico. The park area has been inhabited and considered a landmark since the Pre-Columbian era, when it became a retreat for Aztec rulers. In the colonial period, Chapultepec Castle was built here, eventually becoming the official residence of Mexican heads of state. It would remain so until 1940, when it was moved to another part of the park called Los Pinos.
The city was traditionally known as La Ciudad de los Palacios (“the City of the Palaces”), a nickname attributed to Baron Alexander von Humboldt when visiting the city in the 19th century, who, sending a letter back to Europe, said Mexico City could rival any major city in Europe.
Once considered plebeian fare, by the 19th century tacos had become a standard of Mexico City’s cuisine.
Snow falls in the city very rarely, although somewhat more often in nearby mountain tops.