Mexico City sits within a shallow bowl at an elevation of 2,400 metres, sprawling far beyond the federal district that was meant to contain its city limits.
As one of the world’s largest cities, Mexico City must be seen to be believed, housing some 25 million people within its enormous scale. Whereas a few decades ago Mexico City holidays would have been a short stopover on the way to one of the country’s developed tourist areas, the city has cleaned up its act with an efficient metro system and easily navigable streets, improving its public spaces and culinary scene in something of a cultural renaissance. Its cosmopolitan streets lined with boutiques and world-class restaurants attract visitors from all around the world, and it’s now an ideal place to spend a few days discovering modern Mexico’s Latin-fuelled exuberance before heading to the coast to relax or the jungle to explore.
Mexico City is also one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere. In 1325 the Aztecs founded Mexico City, then known as Tenochtitlan, growing their empire from here to encompass almost all of central Mexico. Aztec ruins can be seen within the heart of the city at the Zocalo, a central plaza surrounded by colonial-era buildings and principal monuments like the Templo Mayor, standing testament to the pre-Hispanic civilization that once flourished here. As well as its imposing cathedrals, palaces and museums, the city is home to plenty of markets, squares and parks that make holidays to Mexico City an education in Mexican history and culture.
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