The main city square of Mexico City, Zócalo, or Plaza de la Constitución, was once the centre of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan. The beating heart of the city, it’s the perfect location from which to begin a sightseeing tour of the capital. Zócalo offers an abundance of architecture, museums, shops, restaurants and cultural events to satisfy every explorer.
Zócalo Square is the ideal place to begin exploration of Mexico City’s architectural treasures. One of Zócalo’s major landmarks is Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. The largest cathedral in the Americas, it is situated where the former Aztec sacred precinct once stood. With an impressive exterior façade, this Baroque masterpiece features an abundance of treasures, both inside and out. The interior is lavishly decorated and majestic, with the Altar of the Kings, Dome of the Sacristy and the cathedral chapels as must-see highlights. To the right of the main structure sits the Tabernacle, with an intricately designed façade and Chiluca white stone interior, a complete contrast to the main cathedral. To the east of Zócalo, National Palace stretches for 200 metres along the perimeter. Once a palace for Mexican rulers, it is now a government building, home to the National Archives and Federal Treasury. History lovers should venture north-east, to the museum of Templo Mayor. The museum displays ancient treasures and archaeological discoveries found on the main site 10 kilometres away. Shoppers will enjoy browsing the department stores surrounding Zócalo, and hungry travellers will find an abundance of traditional Mexican and International restaurants.
Visitors can walk to Zócalo from several of the city’s main attractions in a matter of minutes. National Palace, Museum of Templo Mayor and the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral are located on the outer perimeters of the plaza. Visitors wishing to travel by metro can disembark at Zócalo station in the heart of the square. Alternatively, buses run along República de Brasil or Avenida 20 de Noviembre. Taxis and Uber are also available throughout the city.
The ancient city of Tenochtitlan which once stood on the plaza had a sacred precinct which was the very heart of the city. This street or precinct led to the seven pyramids of Templo Mayor, north-east of the city. During the 17th century, the plaza became a vast market and trading post. A cluster of shops on the south-west corner would sell exotic goods brought in by galleons from Europe and Asia. Today, Zócalo is a meeting point for both locals and tourists. Surrounded by ancient history, architecture and fascinating museums, it’s one place no visitor will want to miss.