Excursions from Mexico City
Pyramids of Teotihuacan and Basilica of the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe
Teotihuacan, which means “the place where the gods are born” – is located 50 km northeast of Mexico City and is considered one of the largest cities of ancient Mexico. The archaeological zone is recognized by UNESCO as a “patrimony of mankind”. It is still unknown when the first people began to settle here, and why the city was abandoned, but its architectural monuments are amazing. The city was the economic, political and religious capital of all Mesoamerica for 8 centuries, had a huge impact on other Indian cultures. The first settlement in Teotihuacan dates back to 150 BC, and the city was abandoned around 750-800 AD. During its heyday (400 AD), the area of the city was 40 square kilometers, and the population reached more than 200 thousand people.
The grandiose structures stagger the imagination – the Pyramid of the Sun (66 m high) and the Moon Pyramid (43 m high). Also here you can see the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the 5-kilometer Road of the Dead (40 m wide), the Quetzal-Papalotl Palace and the Palace of the Jaguars, the ancient Temple of the Feathered Shells, the Quetzal Butterfly Palace, the Plaza de la Luna and the Tepantitla residential complex, decorated frescoes.
In the center of the archaeological zone is a museum with an exhibition of many archaeological items and a model of Teotihuacan.
It is difficult to resist the temptation to visit the souvenir market, located near the entrance to the archaeological zone, where you can buy many cute and memorable things, including hand-made copies of figurines and other items found inside the pyramids.
On the way back from Teotihuacan to Mexico City, it is interesting to stop by the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico. This is the main center of believers throughout the country, which houses a unique relic, the main Catholic shrine of all Latin America – a cloak on which the miraculous image of the Holy Virgin Mary of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted. The basilica was built in 1533 specifically for the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and in the years 1695-1709 it was rebuilt by the architect Pedro Arietta. People come here to pray, ask for help, support in a difficult life situation or thank the patron saint. Most of the pilgrims come here in the first two weeks of December, as December 12 is Saint Guadeloupe’s Day, the main holiday of Mexican Catholics.
Mexico City City Tour and National Anthropological Museum
The center of the city is the Zocalo Square, the second largest in the world, the main decoration of which is the largest Catholic Cathedral in Latin America and the National Palace. This square is the heart of Mexico City. And not only Mexico City, but also the ancient capital of the empire of the legendary ruler Moctezuma Tenochtitlan. According to a well-known ancient legend, the Indians built Tenochtitlan on an island in the middle of the lake, which God himself indicated to them, sending a sign in the form of an eagle grabbing a snake wrapped around a cactus in its beak. The ruins of the main temple “Templo Mayor”. The National Cathedral is the most beautiful temple in the city, the oldest Christian cathedral in America. At the end of the 17th – beginning of the 19th centuries, it was completed by the best city architects, who successfully combined the classical style and baroque to give the cathedral a new harmonious look.
The excursion program includes a visit to the National Palace, on the walls of which you can see a magnificent panorama of frescoes by the famous muralist Diego Rivera. Almost the entire history of the country, its culture and people is depicted brightly and colorfully here. The building was built in 1792 on the site of the palace of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma. Today it houses the residence of the President and the Parliament. Every year on September 15, on the day of the celebration of the Independence of Mexico, the president comes out onto the balcony of the palace and proclaims “Viva Mexico!” “Viva la Independencia” (“Long live Mexico! Long live Independence!”).
The National Anthropological Museum is one of the best museums in the world, a real treasure trove of Mexican culture and history. It contains a unique collection of artifacts from the pre-Columbian era found in Mexico. Here you can see objects of worship and everyday life of the Maya, Aztecs, Olmecs, Toltecs, Zapotecs, Mixtecs and others. It is here that the famous “Stone of the Sun” is now located – a basalt monolith weighing 24 tons, which depicts the Aztec calendar, as well as the impressive headdress of the ruler of Tenochtitlan, Montezuma.