A huge city where you'll find a rich architectural and cultural heritage waiting to be explored.
Once known as Tenochtitlan, Mexico City was originally established by the Aztecs in 1325, before later being conquered by the Spanish. Today, it has grown to become one of the world's biggest metropolises. Home to some 20 million citizens, the city today offers the opportunity to discover a historic mix of native and European culture, as well as a spectacular artistic scene.
Take a walk down the Paseo de la Reforma, the city's most impressive thoroughfare which links the National Palace and the Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec). The castle stands on top of a hill overlooking Mexico City, and you can take a tour of its splendid state rooms where Emperor Maximilian I once resided. In the castle, you'll also find the National Museum of History, complete with weapons, costumes and many more artefacts that will take you on a journey through hundreds of years of Mexican history.
For a taste of the city's great artistic scene, check out the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts). With four Art Deco storeys containing works by Mexican artists behind a stunning marble façade, this is a fascinating place to explore, and if you visit at night, you may get to see an opera, ballet or classical music show at the palace's theatre. Among the works you'll be able to see is Diego Rivera's “Man at the Crossroads”, which was turned down by the Rockefeller Center in New York after they originally commissioned it, on the grounds of its communist sympathies.
As well as the contemporary culture which abounds throughout Mexico City, you can also step back through the ages and discover the ancient history from around this part of the world. Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) where you can explore reconstructed temples, tombs and sculptures drawn from historic civilisations including the Mayans and the Aztecs. Close to the heart of the city, you will also find the Teotihuacan Ruins – all that remains of a city constructed as far back as 100 BC. On the site, you’ll discover temples and murals as well as the third-largest pyramid in the world.
Situated in the central Valley of Mexico, Mexico City is best explored by taking the efficient and extensive underground metro system. If you want to get around the Historic Center, you can go by foot, or ride a bike thanks to the city's public bike hire programme.