The Colors of Mexico City

Mexico City is one of my favorite cities because it is so photogenic and bursting with color.  There is so much more to see than I could capture in one day.

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The Palacio Nationale (National Palace) is former palace of the Spanish Crown but most of this building now houses government offices. There are areas open to the public but people come here mainly to see the murals.

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After the Mexican Revolution, a nationalist artistic movement called Muralism was born in Mexico City.  Its most famous painters were José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquéiros and Diego Rivera.  These avant-garde artists used art as a means to comment on the political and social challenges faced by a post-revolutionary Mexico.  Several of Rivera’s most beautiful and colorful murals are here including his most complex, the History of Mexico, which includes the image of his wife, the now more famous painter, Frida Kahlo.

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The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary

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The Aztecs ruled the city until the 16th century when the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortéz, landed with his army and small pox to virtually wipe out the indigenous people and take their land. Although Cortéz was struck by the city’s beauty and size, that did not stop the Spanish from demolishing it to remove all traces of its history and rebuild it in their own image.

Later, Emperor Maximilian continued the tradition and later President, Porfirio Díaz, had a plan to create a metropolis to rival the great European cities (that were not Spanish!). This late-19th century modernization of the city included the demolition of many Spanish Colonial-style buildings in favor of a Mexican-French fusion promoted by the President and ultimately referred to as Porfirian architecture.

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Part of a UNESCO heritage site, the Templo Mayor (below) was one of the Aztec’s most important temples. Destroyed and built over by the Spaniards in 1521, it was largely forgotten until the 20th century when several scholars made small but important discoveries. The discovery in the 1970’s of a ten foot disc with the image of the moon goddess, Cyolxauhqui, eventually induced the government to start taking the excavation of the area seriously.

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El Mayor is a rooftop restaurant with great views of the site. To get to the restaurant go to Republica de Argentina 15 at the corner of Justo Sierra and enter through the bookshop where you will see an elevator to the roof.

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