Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Gem in Mexico

Mexico City is another very convenient destination for Americans who are seeking knowledge and adventure and don't want to be tripping over too many of their compatriots along the way. I know that many folks fear violence in Mexico but most of that is in the border towns and Mexico City is not especially dangerous for a city of over 20,000,000 people so long as one takes sensible precautions. I love the place. My wife and I have been to Mexico about 20 times over the past several decades and each area offers its own special qualities and interests. Mexico City has more sites of interest than anywhere else in the country.

The giant central square of the city, called the Zocalo, is a day or two undertaking in itself. It is usually filled with vendors especially around holidays, the large Cathedral sits at one end as is customary in Colonial design, the beautiful National Palace beckons covered with Diego Rivera's murals of the history of the country, and the architecture of the buildings is interesting all around the square. Not far off the square is an Aztec dig and museum that are beautifully done and well worth an afternoon's visit. The Art Museum and many restaurants are nearby as well. If you come at holiday time, you will see the square filled with people, vendors, dancing Indians and every which thing.

What does one do after that visit? Head out to Chapultepec Park where the spectacular Anthropology Museum sits. It happens to be my favorite museum in the world. The displays are dramatic and tasteful and the artifacts cover much of the pre-Colonial times in Mexico. It is a wonderful treat. There are other nearby museums but this one is not to be missed. Mexico has a flair for developing attractive and informative museums generally.

Another compulsory visit in the city is the Church of Guadalupe where Indians come in from the hills and perform dance ceremonies to worship and ask favors. It is the holiest site in the country. Some years back a new church was built to acccomodate the traffic and it is a very interesting building.

Then I would go to the amazing site of Teotihuacan not far outside the city where pyramids rivaling Egypt stand at the two ends of an ancient and mysterious city. There are buildings where the paint from two millenia can still be discerned. The Pyramid of the Sun, the largest at the site, can be climbed and the view is dramatic. This is a most interesting pre-Colombian site. These are among the many offerings this city offers the traveler in search of adventure.

Chichen Itza, El Castillo, Mexico

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