July 25, 2008
Of all of the interesting sites to see in Mexico, Mexico City is perhaps the most interesting of all. Built on an underground lake and constructed on the site of an ancient Aztec cultural center, the city is laden with historical significance. The original name of the city was Tenochtitlan, which was perhaps the largest and most beautiful city in the world at the time. Travelers from the Western world hailed it as being the most beautiful city in the entire world. The city had many waterways that were all interconnected to allow water travel throughout the whole of the city. These waterways extended up to the entrance at the edges of the city, and several different causeways or bridges connected the city to the outside world.With its magnificent architecture and large population, Tenochtitlan was the center of culture for the Aztec population. However, in the 1500′s, the Aztec way of life was to change forever.
The Aztec King, Moctezuma II, believed that, upon Cortes’ arrival, that he must be the Aztec god, Quetzelcoatl. According to Aztec beliefs and legends, this god was to return and would have white skin. Cortes used this belief to his advantage and took the king captive, where he later died in captivity in 1520.
After the city was conquered by the Spaniards, the city was damaged and remained as such until the Mexican War for Independence. After the Mexican Constitution was written in 1824, it specified that the capital city of the new country would be Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan.
When the Mexican President (or dictator, as he is called by some) Porfiro Diaz took control of the country in 1876, he introduced many important things to the city. He ordered schools to be built, roads to be constructed and planned and all of the other necessary infrastructure that the city needed to be put into progress. Although this man did rule with an iron fist and caused harm to be brought to his people, he did do something right in that he began work on the capital. As a result, Mexico City remained technologically advanced throughout the 1800′s and early 1900′s, as well.
By the 1970′s however, Mexico City had lost some of its legendary charm. Old palaces and colonial homes had been demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. One of these roads was the Avenida Insurgentes, which had been laid out and built by 1924. However, in the 1990′s the city’s mayor began a process that is still underway to restore Mexico City to its former glory.
Though some of the historical architecture has been demolished, many works of art and other beautiful historical structures remain for visitors to enjoy. One of these features is the magnificent Xochimilco Floating Gardens, which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Mexico city also features 160 museums, 100 art galleries, making it the leader in the world for its art culture, and 30 concert halls that remain busy with cultural activities and presentations all throughout the year.
Though Mexico City has undergone a tumultuous and war-torn past, the city and its inhabitants have persevered throughout time to preserve the unique culture and history that remains documented today.