Mexico City, Mexico – Highlights

If it wasn’t clear in my first post, Mexico City has a lot to offer. Here are some of the highlights from our first four days. A highlight that is obviously missing will be the food. My apologies, I was too busy eating to take photos;) Enjoy!

Museo Nacional de Antropologia (Museum of Anthropology)

I think we have declared this to be the best museum we have ever visited. The museum’s collection and method of displaying its archaeological artifacts provided an impressive interpretation of the anthropological history of the area upon which Mexico is founded. An aspect I particularly loved was the life size outdoor exhibits where visitors could walk within the exhibit.

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One of the impressive outdoor exhibits.

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The interior courtyard of the museum surrounded by exhibition halls.

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The single pillar that supports the large concrete “umbrella” in the central courtyard.

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The most famous artifact in the museum’s collection is this original Aztec Sunstone.

Museo del Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor is an incredible active archaeological site in the very centre of Mexico City of one of the main temples of the Aztecs. Construction of the first temple likely  began sometime after 1325. Mexican pyramids were expanded by building on top of the pre-existing one. Templo Mayor went through six more expansions.

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An active archaeological site surrounded by the architecture of the Spanish colonial city that was built from the destruction of this Aztec temple.

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It appears the temple had the means to channel water.

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The archaeological site also has an informative museum where we learned about the use of colour by the Aztecs and were presented with the idea of how some of the objects may have looked like during their contemporary times.

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Wall of stone skulls. Aztecs were big on human sacrifice.

Palacio Nacional

Even though the Palacio Nacional no longer houses viceroys or presidents, it still houses many governmental offices. The main reason for visiting here is to see the famous Diego Rivera murals depicting Mexico’s history and identity.

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The royal chapel.

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The many arches of the interior patios of the palace.

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Looking up at Diego Rivera’s mural “the Conquest” in the main stairwell.

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Looking at the left panel of the main mural.

 

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One of 11 panels Rivera painted on the middle floor. Note how he painted the Spanish.

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My boys in front of another mural:)

 

Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe

The Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, a basilica and a national shrine of Mexico rolled into one. It was apparently built on the site where Our Lady of Guadalupe (Blessed Virgin Mary) appeared to Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. Pilgrimages have been made to this shrine almost uninterrupted since 1531.

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The old basilica.

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Inside the old basilica.

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Old basilica with its gold dome on the left. New basilica with its blue dome on the right.

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Parade of offers to the lady.

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A photo op can be had atop one of these majestic mounts against the incredible background:)

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Steps leading up and down from the shrine.

Xochimilco

Xochimilco is a borough in Mexico City recognised as a World Heritage Site due to its famous canals and chinampas (artificial islands). They are what remains of what was once a vast lake and canal system during the pre-Hispanic period.

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The many boats waiting to take visitors through Xochimilco’s famous canals. 

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A boat peddler selling blankets and ponchos.

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One of the canals with chinampas on either side.

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This one is for sale and if you’re lucky it will come with these three fierce watchdogs;)

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Mariachi bands ply their services in the canals. For 100 pesos you can have a band play you a song.

Frida Kahlo Museum (The Blue House or La Casa Azul)

La Casa Azul was the birthplace and home of the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. It is also where she died and her ashes rest. After the death of her husband Diego Rivera, La Casa Azul became a museum in honour of Frida Kahlo. It houses works of art from Kahlo, Rivera and other artists along with Kahlo’s personal items. Despite the hefty admission fee (200 pesos per person) and the long line to get it in (usually about an hour), it is worth a visit.

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The entrance to La Casa Azul with its famous cobalt blue walls. Frida Kahlo left instructions on how to create this exact shade of blue.

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The line of people waiting to get in against the backdrop of the blue wall.

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A little photo session against the stunning blue wall while we waited in line:)

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Looking up to Kahlo’s studio space from the interior courtyard.

Coyoacan

Coyoacan is another one of Mexico City’s 16 boroughs. It has a charming atmosphere that exudes a peaceful bohemian vibe. It’s well worth a visit and would be a great place to station for an extended stay. There doesn’t seem to be any hotels in Coyoacan but B and B’s and vacation rentals appear to be plentiful.

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Side view of the Parish of San Juan Bautista from one of Coyoacan’s twin plazas. 

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One of Coyoacan’s many small cobblestoned streets.

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A lovely church in one of Coyoacan’s many small plazas.

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Stealing a kiss from Frida Kahlo despite Diego Rivera’s presence;)

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Another one of Coyoacan’s streets.

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One of many schools or museums that one can simply walk in and have a rest in its gardens. This one even offered free coffee as they believed that “if there’s coffee for one there should be coffee for all”:)

Phew as you can see we managed to really get around Mexico City and see alot during our few days there! We even managed a day trip out of the city to see the great pyramids of Teotihuacan. Coming up next!

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