Mexico has 31 states and one federal district; Mexico City, also known as Distrito Federal. Did you know that the people who were born in Mexico City are also known as Chilangos, because they eat more chiles than other Mexicans? And, do you have any idea why Mexicans call foreigners Gringos? It’s because of the green suits the Americans used to wear when they invaded Mexico, followed by the pronunciation of the Mexicans when trying to say “Green, go home!”. Get the picture?
I’d love to tell you more about this great Latin American country, so today I’ll share some things I’ve learned about Mexico City.
Located in historic downtown Mexico City, this plaza is known for its mariachi music. You can find them playing at any hour of the day while they are trying to get paid by the visitors for a gig. Did you know that mariachi means marriage? It’s due to the French people who came to Mexico and wanted to get married while the Mexicans understood they just wanted some music.
The Three Cultures Square
The Three Cultures Square is located close to the plaza Garibaldi and consists out of the Aztec Archaeological site, the Santiago church from the 17th century and… an office.
The church standing on the Three Cultures Square, Iglesia Santiago, was the first church of Mexico City. Tlatelolco is another name for the square of the three cultures, which represents three periods of Mexican history; the Indian, the Spanish and the present Mexican culture. However, everything that is made of white marble should represents Italy, as that’s where this material comes from.
Another fact out of the history from the Three Cultures Square:
On September 19, 1985 at least 10.000 people died due to the earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1. The building behind all the apartments of the 3 cultures square dropped 5 floors. Placido Domingo’s mom (who’s son was a famous Mexican opera singer) died during this earthquake and the city still talks about this.
Ever wondered which squares are the biggest in the world? According to an old Mexican man I met the Red Square in Russia is 1st, followed by the Xinghai square in China as 2nd and the 3rd biggest would be Zocalo in Mexico. I’m not quite sure if my friend did his homework, because I see different answers when I Google ‘the 3 biggest city squares’, but he must be very proud of the Zocalo.
OUR LADY OF Guadalupe
On the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City, where according to the Mexicans ‘nuestra señora de Guadalupe’ has appeared to saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, plenty of churches and chapels have been built and it is now a very important Catholic pilgrimage site. The area, also known as ‘La Villa’, runs a long list of historic buildings such as ‘la Capilla del Pocito’, ‘el convento de las capucinas’ and ‘la antigua iglesia de Guadalupe’.
‘La nueva basilica de Guadalupe’ or as said in English the “new” basilica of Guadalupe should be able to host 10.000 persons on the inside of the building according to a local I meet (while I doubt if that is true). He tells me that it was designed by the 93 year old architect Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, who also designed the Museum of Anthropology and the Estadio Azteca. The architect’s most impressive piece of work is by far the Estadio Azteca which has room for 120.000 persons, but I think the new basilica looks pretty fly too. The new basilica of Guadalupe was built between 1957 and 1959 and on the left of the new basilica you can find the old basilica which dates from the 17th century.
Walking on you knees to the new Basilica is a form to try and get a miracle from Guadelupe; the mother of all Mexicans. They all wish for ‘salud, dinero y amor’, which means health, money and love.
If you walk to the back of the Tepyac hill (where the lady of Guadalupe appeared) you will find the ‘Capilla del Pocito’, which is a chapel built on a well with miraculous water (which actually caused many diseases).
Something I found quite extraordinary was that on the inside of the new basilica a line escalator was placed. This was necessary to keep all the people in motion who want to photograph the original textile piece of art with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But hey, it does work and let’s everyone get a chance to take a photo.
Have you ever been to Mexico City?
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