Mexico City Downtown
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Among the interesting places you can visit in the Centro Historico (Downtown) of Mexico City are:
Alameda Central (The Central Alameda Park).This beautiful park is
located between the Juarez and Hidalgo avenues and on Angela Peralta street. This is the
oldest promenade in Mexico City. It owes its name to the Alamo trees planted there. It
dates from the XVI century. Next to it on Hidalgo Avenue, is the church of the Santa
Veracruz, built in 1526, and considered one of the most important Baroque-style buildings
of the City.
Antiguo Colegio de San Ildelfonso (The old School of San Ildefonso). Founded by Jesuits in the
XVI century, the "Antiguo Colegio de San Ildelfonso"; was transformed
into the National High School in 1807.
Antiguo edificio de la Aduana (The old Customs Office). Located on the Brasil, Venezuela and Cuba streets. This building was built in the XVIII century. It has a facade of tezontle with balconies of quarry stone. At the stairway you can see a mural painted by Siqueiros named "Patricios y Patricidas".
Casa de los Condesa de Santa Maria de Valparaiso (House of the Count of Santa Maria de Valparaiso).
Catedral Metropolitana (The Metropolitan Cathedral). Located beside the Main Square. It was constructed over the remains of a small construction, first built in 1524 and demolished in 1626. Finished in 1813, it became the first cathedral in La Nueva España and the oldest one in the Americas. It has a Baroque-style facade with an outstanding ironwork and 64-meter Neoclassical-style towers holding 18 bells. In the interior of the Cathedral, you can see the Latin Cross with three aisles and a barrel vault, 5 large altars and 14 chapels of different styles. Its main altars are the Altar Mayor, Altar de los Reyes and Altar del Perdon. The Churrigueresque-style Sagrario Metropolitano, built in the XVIII century, is found in the east side of the Cathedral. On the west side is "La Plazoleta del Marquez".
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace). The "Palacio de Bellas Artes", is located on the east side of the Alameda Park. Its construction began in 1904 and was finished in 1932. It has an art nouveau style and its facade is made of marble from Carrara. In its interior, there is a crystal curtain carved with the images of the Iztlaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes. There are also some frescos of Orozco, Siqueiros, Rivera, Tamayo and Montenegro. In front of this building is the Bank of Mexico, which is an exact copy of the Palazzo Strossi of Florence, Italy. Next to it is the Latin America Tower, which was for many years the highest building of the City, with its 47 floors.
Palacio de Iturbide. The first emperor of Mexico, Agustin de Iturbide, resided in this palace in 1822. The rich limestone facade displays two statues supporting its balcony. The building now houses the National Bank of Mexico.
Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina. This XVIII century baroque
style building, was constructed by Pedro de Arrieta to house the Holy Inquisition
Headquarters, later it served the National School of Medicine. Today,
Palacio de Mineria. This neo-classic building was built between 1797 and 1810 under the supervision of architect Manuel Tosa. The theater room and chapel are decorated with XIX century paintings of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Palacio del Marquez de Valle de Orizaba or Casa de los Azulejos (Del Marquez del Valle de Orizaba Palace or House of Tiles). "La casa de los Azulejos", is located on the 5 de Mayo alley, between 5 de Mayo and Madero street. This palace was constructed in the XVI century and is covered with Puebla-style tiles. The facade is made of gray quarry stone and the ironwork of the balcony is said to be made in China. Inside there are some murals made by Clemente Orozco.
Palacio Nacional (The National Palace).
Located in front of the Plaza de la Constitucion. This Palace is the
headquarters of the Federal Executive Power, and was constructed in 1529 in the former
Palace of Moctezuma.
Plaza de la Constitucion(The Main Square). "La Plaza de la Constitucion", is the main square of the country and is located in the downtown area of the city. It is also called "El Zocalo". Its extension is about four hectares, one of the largest in the world.
Plaza de las Tres Culturas.
Plaza de Santo Domingo (The Santo Domingo Square). The "Plaza de Santo Domingo", is located near the Zocalo. It is considered the second most important plaza of the country because of its dimensions and the historical buildings surrounding it. It has several sculptures, one of them honoring Josefa Ortiz De Dominguez. Nearby, is the church of Santo Domingo, constructed with red tezontle and a facade of quarry stone, considered one of the most representative Baroque-style buildings of Mexico. Another interesting construction is the Neoclassical-style Chapel of "La Expiacion", located on Dominguez and Valle streets. On the west side of the Plaza are the Portals of Santo Domingo, which are part of a colonial house built in the XVII century.
Plaza Manuel Tolsa y Estatua de Carlos IV. The "Plaza Manuel Tolsa y Estatua de Carlos IV", better known as "El Caballito" (The Little Horse), and the statue of King Carlos IV, is one of the most prominent pieces by Manuel Tolsa. It is located on Tacubaya street at the intersection of Xicotencatl and Marconi street.
Sagrario Metropolitano (The Metropolitan Sagrario). The "Sagrario Metropolitano", was constructed in the mid-eighteenth century by Spanish Lorenzo Rodriguez. A beautiful neo-classic altar by Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque and a magnificent anonymous painting of Saint Christopher dwell inside.
Secretaria de Educacion Publica (Ministry of Education). Between 1923 and 1928, Diego Rivera painted murals on the patio walls that surround this building. The murals occupy over 16,146 square feet and are based on themes suggested by Jose Vasconcelos, the Minister of Education at the time.
Suprema Corte de Justicia (The Supreme Court of Justice). This building is located southeast of the Zocalo on Pino Suarez street. It was built in 1940 and in its interior there are some murals painted by Jose Clemente Orozco. On El Salvador, Mesones, Pino Suarez and 20 de Noviembre streets is the "Hospital De Jesus", founded by Hernan Cortez, whose remains lie in the church next to the hospital where there is also a mural of Clemente Orozco representing the apocalypse.
Templo de la Profesa. The Temple of "San Jose el Real", better known as "La Profesa", was constructed during the XVIII century. It now houses a major painting gallery.
Templo Mayor. This archaeological site was discovered in the downtown area of the city, on Seminario, Argentina, Justo Sierra and Guatemala streets. Before the conquest it was the spiritual and political center of the Mexicas. In 1521, the city with its ceremonial center was destroyed by the Spaniards, as well as the 50-meter high pyramid with two temples over its top, one dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and the other to Tlaloc. After the discovery of the great monolith of La Coyolxauhqui, excavations which allowed to see the different stages of construction were begun. So far it has been possible to recover the ruins of the great Teocalli, remains of the Red Temple and the Recinto de los Caballeros Aguila, a Chac-Mool figure, and some little niches and pyramids. Nearby, you can visit the church of Santa Teresa la Antigua; on Licenciado Verdad and Moneda streets are the Colonial-style Casas Del Mayorazgo de Guerrero, built in the XVIII century, also called the Houses of the Sun and the Moon. Inside the Houses there are some murals painted by Rufino Tamayo which are considered as historical monuments.
Templo y Hospital de San Felipe de Jesus. The Temple and Hospital were built according to a posthumous wish of Hernan Cortes. "Apocalipsis", one of Jose Clemente Orosco's most famous paintings, was done between 1942 and 1944, and is located in the Chair Dome.
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