Mexico, Mexico City – Building Around Zocalo
As we also mentioned, there are couple of buildings around the square that shouldn’t be missed. One of them is Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México. It is the largest cathedral in Americas. It combines three architectonic styles – Renaissance, Baroque, and neo-Classicism. The cathedral faces south. It is 110 meters long and 54 meters wide. It consists of two tower, the main temple, three main portals, and five naves.
Catedral Metropolitana is considered an important part of Mexican cultural identity. The place it stands on was chosen by no coincidence. In the days of Tenochtitlan, the predecessor of Mexico City this place was part of a religious district.
The cathedral hold 25 bels. 18 are in the eastern tower, 7 in the western tower. The largest bell weights 13 tons and is called Santa Maria de Guadalupe. The interior of temple hides 16 chapels, each dedicated to different saint (e.g. St Peter’s chapel, St Joseph’s, or St Isidor’s). You will find there also five main altars. For instance, Kings’ Altar is made of cedar and was designed by Jeronime Balbas. This piece of art is 13 wide and 25 meters high. A crypt is located right underneath the altar and is guarded by large doors.
Another historic landmark is Palacio Nacional. Just as the cathedral it is hard to miss this building. It is more then 200 meters long. Stone of the so called Montezuma’s houses was used to build it. The houses were actually a complex of five interconnected palaces. Inside there was marbles and painted stukas. Bedrooms were decorated by tapestries of painted cotton, feathers, or rabbit fur.
The last of the three buildings we mentioned before is Portal de Mercaderes. The name describes commercial buildings lining the west side of Zocalo. Trade dominates this area for five centuries. Today you find there mostly shops selling jewelries, or two luxury hotels. One is Hotel Majestic is a 18th century building that was renovated at the beginning of the 20th. Hotel Majestic was founded here in 1937. Should you be prone to pay high price for a room there, a magnificent view over the square would be granted.
As you probably sense already, Zocalo and around it, is a great place for a pleasant afternoon. Perhaps you will enjoy it even more with some live music in the background, or some artistic performance.
Text: Maxim Kucer
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