After getting dropped off at Palacio de Bellas Artes, Elliott and I wandered around Centro Histórico, the downtown area, on our seventh day in Mexico City. We got breakfast at a cafe across the street and watched a parade featuring local indigenous groups.
Then we walked to the Zócalo, the main square in downtown Mexico City, which was once the center of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán. We spent about 30 minutes inside the Catedral Metropolitana, the oldest and largest cathedral in the Americas, which was built by the rulers of New Spain. The cathedral, which is the most beautiful church both of us have ever seen, features 14 adjoining chapels dedicated to different Saints, with intricate detail on gold filigree. We also spent some time in a church next door and another church down the street.
We had hoped to check out Palacio Nacional, where you can see a series of murals by Diego Rivera, but it didn’t seem to be open, likely because of the parade. From above a small plaza with an open ceiling, we were able to see the Templo Mayor, a temple-pyramid at the heart of Tenochtitlán that was razed after the Spanish siege and rediscovered in the late ’70s when the city was building its subway system, but we were pretty museum-ed out so we decided not to pay to get a closer look and get into the Museo y Zona Arqueológica.
To end our day in downtown Mexico City, we watched Olympic women’s diving on a big screen in the Zócalo with a lively crowd. Unfortunately, neither Mexico nor the U.S. did swimmingly, but it was still fun.