A Travellerspoint blog

Inside Mexico City

sunny 24 °C

It's Tuesday and as Mexico City re-opened its doors to tourists we had a lot of catching up to do. The city's sights are scattered and we had to ditch our original plans and be selective. We started with the enormous National Palace which was built by the Spanish on the same site and using the same materials as the Aztec emperor, Montezuma's, grand palace...
This is just one of the fourteen inner courtyards...
The palace and its museum could be a whole week's worth of sightseeing, fortunately for us only a small proportion is open to the public. However, we soon learned that Mexico City is all about Rivera Diego. His murals and paintings are plastered everywhere. This is one of many depicting pre-colonial life...
And this is the huge mural on the main staircase of the palace...
This nearly 5,000 square foot mural depicts the history of Mexico from 1521 to 1930 and took Rivera six years to complete. While the artist depicts Mexico as a Marxist utopia in the early 20th century he somehow manages to put America's wealthiest capitalists like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and J.P.Morgan into the frame, alongside his own wife, Freda Kahlo... Art historians please explain.
This is one of the historic streets near the Palace which are are filled with people scratching a living by selling all manner of knick-knacks, or setting up mini kitchens offering inexpensive tortillas...
There are many disfigured and disabled beggars, but almost every street has at least one church with an elaborate dome or decorated bell tower and some of the gilded interiors must be worth a fortune. This is just one of the many altar screens in the Metropolitan Cathedral...
The Metropolitan Cathedral is sinking, along with the rest of the city at an alarming 3 feet a year. (That is not a typo). Mexico City is nearly seven thousand five hundred feet above sea level, but it was built on a lake bed of soft clay. As the growing city sucks water out of the ground for its daily needs, the ground continually shrinks beneath it. At the current rate, (which is actually accelerating), the city will be 300 feet lower by the end of the century, and many of these buildings and grand arches may collapse...
Mexico City's aging subway system may also be in trouble. The trains have pneumatic rubber tyres so the ride is quiet and smooth, but there are few escalators and miles of grotty underground walkways linking connecting lines. We sometimes felt we were walking to our next destination, not just changing trains. The good news – each ride of any duration is just 33 cents Cdn. The trains are frequent and, despite warnings, not overly crowded, but it took us a long time to navigate the city. Next stop – the Palace of Bellas Artes where we again ran into Senor Diego's murals. However, as it is Tuesday and we paid a modest entry fee, we got to see the art-nouvea foyer without a thousand people clamouring for free tickets...
Now it's Wednesday and we have left Mexico City for San Miguel de Allende. Next time we visit Mexico City we will return mid-week to see the rest of the place.

Posted by Hawkson 15:03 Archived in Mexico

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Wonderful information as always. Alarming how quickly the city is settling. Great that you were able to see some of the sights you wanted to see.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Astounding colours in that mural seeing that it was completed almost 90 years ago.
Look forward to your San Miguel de Allende post--one of the very rare foreign places I have actually been to.

by R and B

Frida Kahlo was an amazing and interesting woman. She suffered back pain most of her life according to a documentary of her life.
Stunning buildings - makes the city look very rich.

by Janet

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