Mexico City Travel Guide
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- 87%Local Culture
- 71%Business Travelers
- 71%Art & Design Lovers
- 71%Budget Travelers
- 69%History Buffs
- 67%Adventure Travelers
Member Reviews (192)
- Mexico CityMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 11Jul 05, 2012
Mexico City is a teaming mega-metropolis of 20+ million people, or about 20% of the entire population in it's sprawling environs. It is the commercial and political power center of Mexico.
There are many major international corporations with subsidiaries headquartered here, and of course, it is the capital of Mexico. It does have a rich heritage and colorful history.
Despite it's many charms, Mexico City isn't the safest city in the world. It is crowded with over 20+ million people, it is smoggy and filled with traffic congestion, then there is the threat of earthquakes, and the mile high altitude and thin air takes some getting used to. Also, you should never hail a taxi on the street, but order one officially through the hotel, as a foreign tourist.
Like any large city, it has its bad elements, and millions of poor in outlaying shanty towns. The city center is pretty safe, but you should use precautions just like you would in New York or Paris.
- Mexico CityJul 05, 2012
People had been living in the Valley of Mexico for many centuries before the arrival of the Aztecs in the thirteenth century and the conquering Spaniards soon after that. The basin had no natural outlet and several lakes formed in the valley, attracting inhabitants to their shores. Not far from present-day Mexico City, more than 100,000 people lived in Teotihuacán, the "Place of the Gods," before it was inexplicably abandoned around A.D. 750. Many other groups moved in and out of the valley. Several lakeside communities, some with 10,000 to 15,000 residents, flourished in the Valley of Mexico during pre-Columbian times.
According to oral history, the Aztecs were a nomadic tribe. Unskilled and barbaric, they were not welcomed by the inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico when they arrived there in the thirteenth century. They were forced to move from one place to another along the western shore of salty Lake Texcoco, and they ate whatever they could find, including mosquito larva, snakes, and other vermin. In time, the Aztecs settled on some swampy islands on the western shores of the lake. According to legend, the Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli led them to this place. They knew they were home after seeing an eagle perched on a cactus devouring a serpent (today, this national emblem is on the Mexican flag). From here, the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán spread over the marshes, swamps, and islands.
In 1428, in an alliance with several valley communities, the Aztecs defeated the dominant city of Azcapotzalco. Until then, the Aztecs, known for their viciousness, had served as mercenaries (hired soldiers) for the Tepanecs, the people of Azcapotzalco. To maintain power after their victory, the Aztecs joined a triple alliance with the valley cities of Texcoco and Tlacopan. The three cities exacted tribute (money and goods in exchange for protection) from surrounding communities, but it was Tenochtitlán that rose to become an
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