Saturday, April 4, 2015

Zocalo - 3000 Years of History

Days are long on this trip because there is so much to see and do.   We took a break yesterday and didn't go out until the afternoon but we came home late last night.  Again we took the Metrobus and transferred to the Metro (underground).  Both rides were 5 pesos and the transfer was no charge.  It seemed there were less people until we arrived to the Zocalo (main plaza).   We arrived in time to see the military guard bring down the flag in the center of the plaza.  Wonderful ceremony and thousands circled around the square.

We did a walk around after that just looking at the buildings, the presidential palace, shops, and most of all, the people.   Many are tourists from out of town but lots of locals too.

First stop was the cathedral.  Dating back to the 16th century it is truly a sight to see.   The interior sides are filled with smaller altars or niches (vicarias).   They are covered in gold, statues, relics of saints and important Mexican heroes as well as paintings.   To think so much has been preserved and maintained over the years of invasions by the French, Spanish, Americans, Mexican Independence and the Revolution.

The newer side of the cathedral.

Some of the many vicarias and their paintings.

Two urns in this vicaria hold the remains of Iturbide and the heart of Bustamante.  Both Mexican Independence heroes. 

The giant pipe organ room that sits in the middle of the cathedral is three stories high.

After the cathedral we headed across the street to the presidential palace which has stood in this square and in this building since the XVI century when Hernan Cortez commissioned his son to begin the construction.

Crossing the street from the presidential palace is the actual main square where the ruins of the Templo Mayor is located.   Built by the Aztecs and dates back almost 3000 years.  It was then known as Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. 

Getting tired here, we stopped for a rest and then walked the 10 blocks to Bellas Artes, the theater or palace as it is referred to.  You could study the history of this building and its construction.  We were fortunate enough to see a play here years ago.  As we walked down Madero/ Juarez we could see it in the distance.  Throngs of families enjoying the weather, clear skies and little to no pollution.  So many people of all walks of life sharing the same spot.  I can't describe the numbers of people.  Everyone is kind and polite, willing to take your picture or share a moment.

I had to throw this picture in.  As we went back towards Bellas Artes we passed the Sears department store.  It's not offices, but an actual 12 story department store.   Amazing the size of things.  I guess when we go to China this will look demure. 

Mugging for the camera! (Looking a bit thinner)

I couldn't imagine leaving downtown Mexico City without having a stroll through Chinatown.  This located behind Bellas Artes.  We found a few restaurants still open as it was getting late and we had a chow mein and white rice dish.  It was zhong wen!
I think because of the way we dress, act and our accent in Spanish, people spot where we're from right away!  Even a gringo can have a regional accent in Spanish!


  1. The first time we were in mainland Mexico, we had the opportunity to go to Mexico City and we turned it down because I had been brainwashed by the fearmongers who said it was too dangerous. How wrong they were! We've been there twice since, and totally enjoyed ourselves.

    1. We've been walking around town at night with no issues. Even some seedy areas downtown have patrols and foot police. Subway, Metrobus, buses, have cameras and people are using their cellphones and tablets. Everyone seems so carefree here. And friendly!

  2. You are indeed having a splendid week. When I was there I stayed just 4 blocks off the Zocalo. There was a protest in the square, something about corn. Anyway the police asked my friend and I to please return to our hotel as we were both very white and blonde and they wanted us to stay safe. Loved the Cathedral. Did you see the Diego Rivera murals in the Presidential Palace? Superb. Never saw the Sears store, interesting. I love the energy of that city. Who is that thin man?