Welcome to Mexico's Heart
· See the Zócalo, the biggest plaza in Mexico
· Walk over Moctezuma II’s footsteps in the Palacio Nacional
· Visit the huge Catedral Metropolitana
· Step down to the Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor
The centre of Mexico City is an area full of important places. Go with your guide on a private journey across it to experience the journey of Mexico from the Aztecs to the modern-day.
The Central Space
It is common, when walking around the Zócalo, to experience a sense of awe. The square has been at the center of Mexican history and culture since Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan and, with independence, the square has come into its own. With a huge flag above you, your guide will talk about the square’s history – an open space for the Aztecs even before Hernan Cortes chose to pave it – and how it is a focal point for Mexicans today. It is a tale which has seen conquerors, from Hernan Cortes to Winfield Scott, and political machinations behind the walls of its surrounding buildings. You will then go inside one of these: the Palacio Nacional. Based on the site of one of the Aztec Emperor’s palaces, it holds both iconic murals and some curious historic artefacts. The place where the Mexican President celebrates the annual Dolores de Grito ceremony, waving the flag and shouting Viva Mexico!, it holds the bell from independence hero, and Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo’s own church.
Temples of the City
To the north of the Zócalo lies the Cathedral Metropolitana. The largest cathedral in the Americas, it boasts a multitude of architectural styles which your guide will be happy to point out as you go around what was once named the “sinking cathedral”. Built using stones from the Aztec Great Temple, or Templo Mayor, the cathedral is not far from the ruins of that sacred site for the Aztecs. Walking through its ruins, your guide will tell you how the monumental building arose in layers over time, as well as the grisly details of the Aztec’s religion. The site marks where the Aztecs, in the period of their history when they were a nomadic tribe without a home, felt a divine command from the god Huitzilopochtli to be fulfilled when they saw an eagle eat a snake on a cactus. It was gradually built over a shrine marking the spot and many human sacrifices were performed at the top.