A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about buildings

10 Head-turners - Modern architecture in Mexico City

The stunning, the unusual and the weird

Here are 10 of Mexico City's most stunning, unusual or weird-looking modern buildings:

1. Soumaya Museum

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Twisted and Squeezed. Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, had this building constructed to house his art collections. The museum, located in Polanco, was opened to the public on 29th March and is free of charge.

2. Mexican Stock Exchange

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Slim and Glassy. La Bolsa Mexicana is a stunning blue, glass skyscraper towering over the Glorieta de la Palma in the financial district, along Paseo de la Reforma.

3. La Lavadora - The Washing Machine

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Famous and Eye-catching. Its real name is Edificio Calakmul but it is more commonly known as the Washing Machine. No guesses why! It is a highly intelligent office building located in Santa Fe.

4. Fiesta Inn Hotel

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Balancing Oval. An unusual design for a hotel, set in the new financial district of Santa Fe.

5. El Pantalón - The Trousers

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Tall and Elegant. Its real name is Torre Arcos Bosques I and it was the first Intellligent building in Latin America when it was built. Its nickname, The Trousers, aptly describes its design. Located in Bosques de las Lomas.

6. Twin Towers

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Daring and Bold. This is the Second Tower of Arcos Bosques, next to El Pantalón. Twin towers crossed by a horizontal platform in the shape of an "H".

7. Plaza Moliere 222

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Avant-garde and Pyramidal. This highly-distinguishable landmark in Polanco houses a shopping centre and offices.

8. World Trade Center, Mexico City

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Stunning and Revolving. The WTC soars head and shoulders above anything in the area and is most famous for its revolving restaurant (the largest in the world) capping the rectangular-shaped skyscraper and giving impressive views of the city. It's located in Colonia Del Valle and is an important conventions centre.

9. Iglesia de Bosques de las Lomas

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Striking Shape and Colour. With its pyramidal shape and bright colours, this church stands out for more than just one reason in the surrounding area.

10. Plaza de Residencias

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Black Boomerang. This black,gl curved building is sandwiched between the Monumento a Colón and the Monumento a la Revolución, along Paseo de la Reforma.

Posted by margaretm 04:23 Archived in Mexico Tagged buildings mexico city modern Comments (0)

Feeling dwarfed in one of the largest squares in the world

The Zócalo

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The enormous Plaza de la Constitución, commonly known as the Zócalo

If there's one place in Meixco City where you'll feel dwarfed, it's in the Zócalo, the enormous 16th Century colonial plaza, right in the heart of the Centro Histórico. In keeping with the size of this mega-city, it's the third largest public square in the world after Red Square in Moscow and China's Tiananmen Square. It is as wide as several football fields and the massive Mexican flag flying in the middle could cover a house.

When the Spanish Conquistador, Hernán Cortés, and his men arrived in 1519, they destroyed the great Aztec temple which stood here and with the very same stones, built the surrounding buildings which represented the main symbols of power in Nueva España: the church and the government. The enormous Catedral Metropolitana is so big it took the Spanish three centuries to build and is slowly sinking down into the ground, which was once a shallow lake bed. Today the Palacio Nacional is not only where the President has his offices, it also houses some of Diego Rivera's famous murals which can be visited. The other two sides of this square are flanked by colonial buildings with arcades.

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La Catedral was the first cathedral in Nueva España and is the oldest in the Americas. The bell towers hold 18 bells.

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View of the Cathedral through the arches

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El Palacio Nacional, an imposing building used by the Mexican Government

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Old colonial buildings near the Zócalo

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Looking towards the Cathedral

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Early-morning sellers under the arcades around the Zócalo

The Zócalo is used for festivals, cultural events and demonstrations. If you want to experience it when it's packed full, come during the festivities to mark Mexico's Dia de la Independencia, on the evening of 15th September, and join the hundreds of thousands Mexicans who flock here to hear the President ring the bell on the balcony and deliver El Grito, celebrating Mexico's independence from Spain. ¡Viva México!. Mexican flags, fireworks, parades and music liven things up considerably.

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The balcony and bell - Palacio Nacional

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The Zócalo packed with people celebrating 200 years of independence in September 2010

Of course, it's less crowded on normal weekdays but there's always something interesting going on... Aztec dancing, priests in clouds of incense performing cleansing ceremonies, colourful craft products spread out on blankets...

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Aztec dancers

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Cleansing ceremony by priest

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Vendors outside the Cathedral

During the winter holidays, be prepared for a surprise. The biggest ice-skating rink in the world (and probably the warmest one too) is installed in the Zócalo along with other snow and ice activities. These draw crowds who have never touched snow in their lives and who try their hand at snow motorbikes, make snowmen and slide down ice slopes on gliders. It gives the square a rather surreal wintry atmosphere in the warm sunshine.

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The biggest ice-skating rink in the world

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Decorations on the outside of the buildings in the Zócalo

However, nothing beats an early Sunday morning visit when the soft dawn light peeks behind the belltowers of the Cathedral and pushes its way into the square. There's hardly a soul there to disturb the peace and quiet. Just a few policemen and women standing idly in pairs at the corners, sleepily thumbing their cell phones, and huge flocks of pigeons which flap noisily as they get airborne when I approach them on my bicycle. That guarantees you a feeling of being dwarfed.

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Posted by margaretm 05:43 Archived in Mexico Tagged churches buildings mexico city dancers colonial zocalo government aztec Comments (0)

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