MexicoCityMartin Sti eber SONY 344 T, Th 1: 30-2: 45 Like an enormous living museum, Mexico City provides an extraordinary showplace for the thousands of years of human cultural achievement that Mexico has attained. It ranks as one of the world's great capitals and is a must for anyone craving to understand Mexico's complex past, its fast-paced present, and its ever challenging future. The size and grandeur of the city are staggering. It is not only the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere, but, by some accounts, has also become the largest city in the world. Before we look at present day Mexico City, let us look into it deep and storied past. La Ciudad de los Palacios Mexico City was founded over 700 years ago by the Aztecs.
Instructed by their god of war, Huitzilopochtli, they journeyed to Lake Tex coco, where they were to look for an eagle eating a snake perched on a cactus growing from a rock or cave surrounded by water. They found this in 1325, and so began the city of Tenochtitlan. Although the land surrounding them was marshy and snake infested, the Aztecs came up with an ingenious way a planting crops. They created, or floating gardens, by bunching twigs together and stacking mud on top. These gardens were placed in shallow lake areas and rooted down by the crops or small trees planted in the middle.
The Aztecs were a very religious people, as well, and built many temples, including the great Templo Mayor. Cannibalism was a key element of their religion, as they believed that it was necessary to feed human hearts to the gods to ensure that the sun would rise everyday. The Aztecs would find these less than willing human hosts in the numerous battles they fought. Due to an increasing population, estimated to be at 250, 000 in the late 1400's, the Aztecs were forced to expand their empire well beyond the cities original boundaries. As the Aztec warriors conquered these other outlying tribes, tribute payments were gained, leading to the cities massive wealth. The Aztecs lived like this for 200 years until Spanish settlers, under Hernan Cortes, came and conquered the Aztecs in 1521.
The Spanish were in awe of the cities tremendous wealth, and, thanks to superior weapons and tactics, easily defeated the Aztecs. Upon victory, the Spanish were quick to raze the entire city. The city was rapidly reconstructed as a Spanish city, and in the 1550's, emerged as the prosperous and elegant capital of Nueva Espana. For nearly 300 years the Spanish flourished in Mexico City. Many buildings and streets were constructed, and it served as cultural and social center of North and South America.
When 1810 came, however, a Mexican Independence movement, started by Miguel Hidalgo, caused Mexican peasants to fight against the Spanish government. After 11 years, the fight was successful, and Mexico declared its independence. Mexico City was the center of many more conflicts in Mexican history. In 1847, the city was captured by U. S. forces under Winfield Scott to end the Mexican-American War.
The price for Mexico was the loss of the land that is now most of the southern U. S. In 1863, the city was captured again, but this time by French forces, upset that Mexico refused to pay its debt to France on time. The French controlled the city for a year until Mexican forces retook it in 1864. Over the next 30 years, Mexico City really began to thrive. Under Porfirio Diaz, more roads and telegraph lines were constructed.
Rail lines into the U. S. and other provinces of Mexico were built, and foreign investment greatly increased, as well. In 1910, Mexico City had grown to a population of 471, 000.
The following 10 years saw all of Mexico in a state of disarray as a revolution was taking place. During the 1920's, many young artists, suck as Diego Rivera, David Alfonso Siqueiros, and Jose Clemente Orozco were commissioned to decorate numerous public buildings with dramatic large scale murals. These were done to try and convey a new sense of Mexico's past and future. Although Mexico City was still experiencing a tremendous growth in its economy, its population was rising faster than anything could keep up with.
Factories and skyscrapers were now prominent in the Mexico City landscape, but so were shantytowns. By 1940, Mexico City would claim 1. 7 million people as residents. Continued growth through the rest of the century would result in some of the worst traffic and pollution problems in the world. Measures have been taken to try and curb these problems, but they are still very rampant within the city. Mexico City has now been estimated at a population of around 18 million, although as a metropolitan area it has been estimated at around 24 million.
Government plans to move industries outside of the city, as well as implementing a population control policy have helped slow down growth, but masses of people still flock to the city and call it home. Mexico City dominates the whole country's economy. The Federal District of Mexico City produces a significant portion of the total GDP of the country. The city is the center of manufacturing, and contains about 45 percent of the nation's industrial production. Manufactures include textiles, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronic items, steel, and transportation equipment. In addition, foodstuffs and light consumer goods are produced.
The city is also important in Mexico's banking and finance industries. Another interesting fact is that street vendors, while illegal, actually account for one-third of Mexico's economy, with a million vendors estimated to be working in Mexico City. The Lay Of The Land Mexico City is an exciting combination of pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern art and architecture. It covers an area of 1, 480 sq km. It is the central, urban core of the Federal District, which was created around the capital city by the 1824 constitution. The city is also divided into 16 boroughs called, which are further divided into colonies or neighborhoods.
The colonies of Centro Hist'o rico, Zona Rosa, Polanco, Roma, Conde sa and Lomas de Chapultepec are all fairly close each other. These are the principal areas in the central part of the city that are most popular with tourists. The Historic Center, in the heart of the downtown area, surrounds the Z', the second largest plaza in the world, surpassed only by Red Square in Moscow. A rather austere and daunting public space, the Z' is the scene of major public ceremonies and military displays.
Overlooking the Z' to the north is the Catedral Metropolitan a. It is the largest cathedral in North America, and houses the largest organ in the world. The Palacio Nacional is located on the east side of the Z'. It once housed the offices of the president, and contains some of Diego Rivera's best known murals.
Chapultepec Park contains 2, 100 acres of woods, lakes, hiking trails, playgrounds, amusement parks, a zoo and excellent museums. Museums include Mexico's Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of Anthropology. In total, the city actually has around 160 museums, over 100 art galleries, and some 30 concert halls. At the southern edge of the city sits the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Three-dimensional murals by Diego Rivera decorate the rectory on the main campus slightly farther to the east. On the western part of the campus is the 100, 000-seat Mexico 68 Olympic Stadium, site of the 1968 Olympic Games. The city's main thoroughfare, the elegant Paseo de la Reforma, is lined with dozens of magnificent monuments including statues of former Mexican president Benito Juarez, and the celebrated Independence Monument, which has become the unofficial trade mark of M' City. The boulevard passes some of Mexico City's finest shops, embassies, and offices.
The city also contains many excavation sites. Archaeological excavations have exposed the lower levels of the Aztec pyramids and temples in both the Templo Mayor, just behind the Z', and the Plaza of the Three Cultures. The excavations are important not only as archaeological sites but also as symbols of Mexico's rich past. In the decaying inner city colonia of Gustavo A. Madero sits the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This is Mexico's most religious shrine, and it became a symbol for Mexican forces fighting to gain independence from Spain.
The shrine attracts more religious pilgrims than any other site in the country. The colonies of San Angel and Coy oac " an, situated near each other, offer setting which are as close as you can probably get to the colonial neighborhoods of Old Mexico. Narrow streets, shaded plazas, brightly painted colonial style homes, bookstores, and bars lend a soothing atmosphere to any that arrive. Several museums and markets are also prevalent in the area. The colonia of Xochimilco, south of the downtown area, still contains, or the floating gardens of the ancient Aztec. Here tourists can find boats, or, that travel throughout the canals.
These will likely be approached by other boats filled with mariachi bands, photographers, and various other vendors. City Of Inequality Every day, hundreds of people flock to Mexico City in search of a better life - many getting no further than the burgeoning shanty-towns that ring the outskirts. These stand in harsh contrast to the stylish, modern offices and apartment blocks of Polanco and Chapultepec. The major condition dividing the city's population is wealth. The capital is a city of sharp social contrasts. It plays host to the poverty of many of its inhabitants, but also to the luxury and refinement of others.
Wealthy residential sections are characterized by housing and suburban retail centers that rival the most luxurious in the world. A person can travel for miles in the affluent western and southern parts of the city without awareness of being in an underdeveloped nation. These neighborhoods are often in sharp disparity to the poorer sections, where housing is substandard, access to basic services such as water, electricity, drainage, and paved streets is limited, and the standard of living is well below the poverty level. Housing is crowded into one room units or 3 to 4 rooms with 6 or more people living together. Street children in these areas are extensive.
Over seven million of the 18 million poor in Mexico City live in these conditions. These less affluent neighborhoods are found in the center of the city and to the north and east. People moved to the city faster than new jobs were created. Many of these new residents were unskilled workers. They were unable to find employment in the city, contributing to problems of unemployment and underemployment. With no legitimate way of earning money, the poor have had to take drastic measures.
Unfortunately, this growing level of poverty has lead to some of the worst crime the world has seen. Over 3, 000 kidnappings were reported in 2003, ranking as the second-highest city in the world. The elite have resorted to hiring bodyguards and buying armored cars to help alleviate this problem. However, the problem still exists. Everyday Life Even with all the crime occurring in the city, it is possible to live a happy and prosperous life in Mexico City.
Mexico City has run the gamut in it economy. While starting as a mining, trade, and agricultural based economy, it slowly moved to an industrial society. In the past twenty years, industry has moved out of the city, leaving service and commerce to emerge as leaders. As stated before, however, the majority of the cities residents live below poverty, and many have resorted to crime, and hundreds of thousands have become street merchants. Education has become increasingly popular in daily life.
One-third of Mexico's institutions of higher learning are located in the capital, including its largest and most prestigious universities. Most people who are educated in the capital remain there because universities provide the primary source of employment for cultural leaders in Mexico. Many of the university campuses are highly political, and student groups often engage in ideological battles or become actively involved in national political issues. The city also contains a strong publishing industry, meaning one of the freest publishing climates in Latin America. Religion plays an important factor in the life of Mexicans, as well. Ninety-two percent of the population claims membership in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church plays an influential social and cultural role in the city. More residents are members of church-affiliated organizations than of any other type. Led by one of Mexico's cardinals, the diocese of Mexico City is the most important in the country. It frequently publishes statements criticizing political and societal problems and emphasizing the need to reduce economic poverty. Mexicans and tourists alike get around on an extensive collection of well organized and cheap public and private transportation services. The subway system is the third largest in the world, transporting more than 4 million people daily.
As the line does not reach all of Mexico City, a wide-ranging bus system has been implemented, as well. Though this is the most economical and efficient means of travel, it is sometimes the least comfortable means of traveling. Taxis are by far the most common form of transportation available in Mexico City. One must ensure the driver resets the meter or else agree upon a fare before you enter the cab.
For recreational activities, Mexico City cannot be beat. Many of Mexico City's recreational facilities revolve around family activities. Families use Chapultepec Park intensively, especially on Sundays. The locals enjoy taking strolls throughout the parks and picnicking with family, along with visiting the numerous museums and murals throughout the entire city.
The theatres are also enjoyed, as Mexico City is home to the great Palace of Fine Arts, housing the national opera, national theatre, and the National Symphony Orchestra. Popular sports in Mexico City include soccer, ja i alai, and bullfighting. Mexico City is also home to the Monumental Plaza Mexico, one of the world's largest bullfighting arenas. Nightlife in M' City is amazingly diverse containing every form of entertainment imaginable. There are small salsa clubs and crowded discos, as well as live concerts featuring the world's most popular stars. Ballet, theatre, folkloric shows, opera and philharmonic orchestras are also common.
Boxing and wrestling events are held on most weekend nights. At Garibaldi Plaza the numerous Mariachi bands often play into the wee hours of the morning. Mexico City is very old, the worlds largest city, the financial, political and cultural center of M', the nightlife capital of Mexico, one of the worlds great cities, one of the world's most difficult cities to drive in, filled with exciting things to see and do, and an energetic metropolis as well as an incredible place to visit. This is truly one of the most interesting and diverse cities in the world.
Bibliography web 761569238/Mexico City. html web City web City web city%401.