For travelers on a budget, nothing beats a free tourist attraction! Located right on the Zocalo, Mexico City's Palacio Nacional is home to a series of murals by Diego Rivera that were painted between 1929 and 1951. In the main staircase there is a triptych called Mexico a Traves de los Siglos (Mexico Through the Ages) that crams pretty much the entire history of Mexico into one huge mural spanning three walls. There are also a series of murals showcasing all of the products that Mexico exports around the world, such as chocolate, beans, tomatoes and tobacco. The murals are beautiful, but it can almost be too much to take in at once. Good thing you can visit again and again, for free! Hours are 9 am to 5 pm daily, but we found the palacio closed when there was a large civic demonstration happening outside. Take all the photos you want, but don't use a flash.
The government palace was built by Hernán Cortes, the conqueror of México, on the site of Moctezuma's residence. The Palacio Nacional dates back to 1693. This building houses today the president offices, National archives and Federal treasury.
The palace houses a small museum dedicated to Benito Juárez and the Mexican Congress. It also has some of the famous murals of Diego Rivera.
The balcony in the second photo is where the president of México go out every year and ring a bell and scream "Viva México" to conmmemorate and celebrate the aniversary of Mexican independence on sept. 15.
Is open 9:00- 5:00 M- Sat. Entrance is free.
Zócalo is the city center of Mexico City, full of dancers, people and vendors. It is also known as the Plaza de la Constitución;
Walk along its streets and ride the Trolley bus that departs next to Bellas Artes.
Recently it has been used by many artists to host their concerts, such as Cafe Tacuba, Maná, Alejandro Sanz, Shakira and so on.
While there, visit the Templo Mayor, Palacio Nacional or the Cathedral which offers a tour to its belfry and have a great view of downtown.
this is the city centre, where wandering tourists and sweet locals mix, what a combination. i did a good search before i went down to mexico city, and zocalo was a great choice.
i enjoyed much walking around the national palace, the old alleys, the cathedral, the stalls, and street salesmen. during the day, zocalo it's a very vibrant area with lots of hustle and bustle and the vibe is so good and refreshing for the spirit. i loved it.
however, this area tends to get quiet in the evening as shops close early and there are not so many bars or clubs nearby. but also on my first night in the town, there was a big band performing in the zocalo square, and it was fun. i guess public events take place here
in short, it's a very good choice to stay at, safe, lively, within easy access to shopping, restaurants and other neibhouring popular areas
When we reached the Zocalo, the main square which is also known as the Plaza de la Constitucion, I stopped in my tracks to take it all in. The Zocalo, marked by a giant flag flying proudly from its center and framed by massive colonial structures in varying architectural styles in all sides, made me feel so small. In an online news magazine, I saw a picture of the Zocalo filled with protestors taken just weeks before. This is not unusual, as the Zocalo is the venue for many protests, traditional rituals and ceremonies, national festivities and concerts bringing together people from all walks of life but who march to the same drumbeat.
On this day, however, it was the picture of peace. The sun-drenched square was covered in tents under which a grand booksale was being held. Tourists mingling with locals as they browsed through the selections, all penned in the local language. The baroque and neoclassical façade of the Catedral Metropolitana looms overhead, a stark reminder of its honor as the first and largest Catholic church in the Americas.
Plaza de la Constitución.
This enormous paved square, occupies the site of the ceremonial center of México-Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire.
Since the time of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, the area was surrounded by palaces, temples and other structures.
El Zócalo is the main square - its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución - and forms the heart of the city since the Aztec rule.
Today is the largest public square in the Western Hemisphere, and the third one in the world (after the Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing and the Red Square in Moscow).
The word "zócalo" means base or plinth (in Spanish). The name of the square stuck after the attempt to erect a Monument to Independence, wich never was concluded.
Crowded streets filled of shops, restaurants, cantinas, street vendors and more contribute to become this zone into a unique place.
El Zócalo is used for government/political rallies, protest marches, sit-ins, concerts and other festive events too all round year.
Be here any day at either 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM for the ceremony of the raising and lowering of the Mexican flag in the centre of the square.
The best view is from the roof of Catedral Metropolitana.
When you visit Mexico City take a look at El Zócalo.
Plaza de la Constitución, also known as Zócalo, is the heart of Mexico City and arguably of all of Mexico. It is delineated by some of Mexico City's most important Catholic and republican monuments. These include la Catedral Metropolitana, Sagrario Metropolitano, and El Palacio Nacional with Diego Rivera's famous murals, as well as the ruins of Templo Mayor, a 13th century pyramid from the days of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan predating Mexico City. A huge Mexican flag flies in the centre of the Plaza. During the day, the Plaza is filled with life and movement, and has a market selling Mexican artefacts.
Smaller than the adjacent Catedral Metropolitana but equally impressive, this 18th century church is a breathtaking example of Mexican architecture. The beauty and intricacy of the two façades are also reflective of the beauty of the interior. Sadly, the eastern side of the church is visibly sinking into the ground. If you look head on (see picture), you may be able to see that the walls are not straight. Many of Mexico's old buildings are suffering the same fate as the entire city centre was built on soft soil, where the shallow lake once was.
Zocalo is one fo the most important places of the city.
You will be able to see the cathedral (wich its amazing), National Palace - where you can enjoy, inside of a fantastic murals, Templo Mayor (some ruins in the city) and some other old buildings.
Also you can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner or a drink at the top of any of the hotels around the Zocalo, all of them have a the top floor a restaurant where you can enojoy a nice view and just relax a bit.
Many cities in Mexico have their own "El Zocalo" - the main plaza -but none of them come close to the one in Mexico City in scale or grandeur and historical importance. The square is rightly known as the Plaza de la Constitucion but nobody calls it that - instead it is known by the Aztec word 'zocalo' -which is only fitting as this was the very heart of the Aztec city the Spanish found here when they arrived in 1519. Within just a few short years the great buildings, temples and palaces they found here were in ruins, their stones used to pave the square and build the churches and government offices of the conquerors.
Today the grand edifices of that conquest serve an independent nation - the Catedral Metropolitana and the Palacio Nacional both facing the square where a huge flag of the Republic is raised and lowered with pomp (and difficulty on a windy day) each day. Years of excavation after an accidental discovery have revealed the Aztec's Templo Mayor and the forecourt of the temple complex sounds again with Aztec drums as dancers in the feathered head-dresses of their ancestors dance for the tourists.
The Palacio Nacional, dates from the late 17th century, but it is the 20th century murals depicting 400 years of Mexican history, the masterwork of Mexico's most famous artist, Diego Rivera, that people come to see here. The palace is huge and whilst much of it is reserved for official use it does house a small museum dedicated to Benito Juarez and the Mexican Congress.
The Catedral Metropolitana was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin when building commenced in 1573; this is the oldest cathedral in all the Americas. Built on the soft clay of the drained lake that once filled much of the valley here, continued draining the city's water needs has caused major problems with subsidence - an ongoing and expensive concern for this historic building. The interior has some particularly beautiful decoration, side chapels and altarpieces.
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