Mexico, an introduction

Mexico is one of those places that is so rich you cannot grasp it on your first visit. The Maya-Aztec culture, the colonial history, the famous Mexican Revolution… With its architectural heritage, vibrant cultural life- museums, exhibitions, a sophisticated art history- its cinema, it has become a pioneer and the cultural capital for the rest of Latin American countries. Considering this richness a travel to Mexico will ask for a long period of time; so if you have only ten days to two weeks...

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The Zócalo Square, Mexico City

The first morning I opened my eyes in Mexico, I found myself gazing at this gigantic square from the terrace of the hotel where I was having my breakfast. I wondered if it is among the largest squares in the world. This square which looks like a big rectangle, or a soccer field has been a ritual site since the beginning of the Aztec period in the 14th century. The Great Temple next to the square is the place the Aztec believed to be the center of the world. I am at the old town which is...

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To Fit an Entire Civilization inside a Painting: The National Palace

The National Palace which extends along one side of the large Zócalo Square in the center of Mexico City houses the murals of Diego Rivera. These murals portray Mexican history, starting from the ancient civilizations, the Spanish invasion, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez and his Mexican wife La Malinche, the Mexican Revolution, the revolutionists, and the pictures of Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo, all mixed together. When you go through the main gate and climb the stairs, you will see a...

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The Museum of Anthropology

The distinguishing characteristic of human beings is their capacity to think about themselves called “self-reflexivity”…Mexico is one of the most interesting countries with its ancient cultures, its history of colonization and the transformation it underwent after the revolution. One needs to come back here several times and focus on another aspect of this elaborate history. On my first day in Mexico, I am walking into a wonderful and three-dimensional encyclopedic world available here. The...

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Coyoacán and the Blue House

You can reach this quiet and nice neighbourhood by metro from the historical center; you will enjoy walking on its streets lined up with two floor colourful houses, cafés and bookstores and pay a visit to one of the most touristic attractions in town: The Blue House, Calle de Londrés 247. The house in which Frida Kahlo was born and died: she lived in this house with its walls painted blue, together with her family and later with her husband, the famous painter Diego Rivera. The front yard of...

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San Miguel de Allende

The Mexican people engraved in these cities the names of the heroes who played a major role in the war of independence they won against the Spanish. The places we will visit first as we travel from Mexico City to Northern Mexico: Dolores Hidalgo, the small city where Father Miguel Hidalgo uttered the famous ‘cry for independence’ on September 16, 1810. The army mobilised by this small insurrection later travelled to San Miguel, which was the first city to achieve independence. The word...

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Guanajuato

Imagine an underworld with roads extending underneath the roads. This is the place where the silver mines are; today active mining still continues in this area. It has the reputation of the most beautiful colonial city of Mexico. Indeed the old town is very well-maintained and beautiful part of the city; it is colorful, animated, historical, with an infrastructure that will satisfy all tourists. The house in which Diego Rivera was born and lived in until the age of 8 is in this city: it is...

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Zacatecas

This city located in the northern region of Mexico and founded in the second half of the 16th century during the Spanish colonization period (Mexico was then named ‘New Spain’) thrived thanks to its silver mines and the other metals found in the area. But its real reputation goes back to the War of Zacatecas which took place during the Mexican Revolution. There is an equestrian statue of the General Pancho Villa hailing us enthusiastically at the square where the revolutionary troops won the...

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Guadalajara

A night full of surprises: tonight in the squares of the old town I watched African dances, a theater play which narrated Mexico’s history of independence, and the colorful fireworks which served as a grand finale for it all, though I was thinking I would just have an evening walk. As opposed to other colonial cities’ air of small town quaintness, Guadalajara feels like a big city with its crowd, traffic, and noise. But its old town is nevertheless rich enough to lure you outside this chaos:...

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Pátzcuaro

I spent the most peaceful and magic time here, perhaps because of the mountains and lakes surrounding the city, or because of the walls that enclose the city, and the city’s welcoming small town atmosphere. Maybe by the time I arrived here, I had already made my way into the story, having spent many weeks in Mexico and treading the cobblestones of many towns: my curiosity for an unknown place already turned into a feeling of home, having internalized the places I visited. Just like every...

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Morelia Cathedral

The churches painted in the colours of Mexico are a reason to visit the country on their own. The empty temples which surpassed the common purpose of the churches in European cities and became places to visit instead of places of worship are the places where people pray day and night. If we suspend the criticism of the history of Christian missionarism during the colonial period and evaluate these churches only in terms of their aesthetic and architectural values, one characteristic you would...

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Walking in Zócalo, Mexico City

During one of your days in Mexico City throw yourself to the streets of the old town around the Zócalo Square. Here are some places to stop by. The Palace of Fine Arts stands at the historical centre of Mexico City, a beautiful art nouveau style palace built in the beginning of 1900s; still serves as a centre of arts & culture. Inside you can see the wall paintings, the most famous ones, Orozco’s ‘Catharsis’, Diego Rivera’s ‘Man, controller of the universe’, originally ordered by the...

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