a history of mexico ...
Another photo-heavy travel post ahead ...
The Zócalo in Mexico City (officially the Plaza de la Constitución) is huge - one of the largest town squares in the world - and has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times. (And while we were there, thousands of folks had gathered to protest the US's War on Drugs and the effect it's having on Mexico.) The Palacio Nacional, which houses the office of the President, among other things, is also on the Zócalo. And a monumental mural in the center staircase by Diego Rivera is one of it's star attractions.
Married to Frida Kahlo, he was many things: a patriot, a Communist who paved the way for Leon Trotsky to seek exile in Mexico City, and an artist seemingly influenced by time in Paris when stuff was happening in the modern art world. Coming out on the post-impressionist side of it all with simple shapes and bright colors that dominated most of his most iconic work. The mural in the staircase details Rivera's interpretation of Mexico's history (and where he thought she was headed).
The Palace is massive and takes up an entire side of the Zócalo. This is the Grand Courtyard, one of 14. (Sorta' reminds me of the Doge's Palace in Venice from this vantage point.)
And like the ginormous mural in the staircase, also outside.
An interior shot ...
Reminders that it's still an active government building are ever-present. Security with machine guns flanking the arches. Cameras everywhere. Photos weren't allowed in most of the rooms, but they were lovely. And somewhat French-inspired (and chandeliers that reminded me of the ones at Versailles.)
After touring the small part of the Palace open to the Public, we exited into another courtyard in the back. There's a lot of activity there, along with a busy, more modern office complex. And where the Palace felt a little dark, it was bright and sunny here.
Folks guessed the temple was underneath the Cathedral, but in the 70's workers digging for the electric company discovered a huge disc depicting the Aztec moon goddess - off to the side of the church. Said moon goddess was the sister of one of the gods the temple had been dedicated to, so this tipped them off that they'd guessed wrong on the temple's location. There's a pretty convoluted story that goes with it about the brother (the god of war) that kills the sister (the moon goddess), because she killed their mother and how that affected the sunset and sunrise.
Most of the artifacts excavated from the site were sacrificial in nature, but others were simply ornamental. This is one of the eagle warriors excavated from the site. The Eagle Warriors were a priviledged class and, you guessed it, dressed like eagles.
The museum on the site was dramatically laid out. We climbed up through galleries (like climbing up temple steps), before getting to the top floor and the dramatic views of some of the most significant pieces laid out below.
After exploring the ruins in the sun, during the hottest part of a 90 degree day, we were beat, somewhat sunburned, and craving a cold drink. Leaving the temple, we picked up more water (the 7-Eleven next door proved very handy) and crashed in the hotel for a couple of hours. Later that night we went out for dinner, walked to the performing arts center - Bellas Artes - to see the statues outside, and ended the night with Churros. Again.
More to come ...