Intro to the Mexico-Tenochtitlan
In the mental image of Mexico City residents, a well-known legend tells of a Nahua people from a mythical Aztlan who had to leave their place of the origin to set out for a promised land. Their migration occurred after the god of war, Huitzilopóchtli, ordered them to make a pilgrimage until they found an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal cactus. Such a landmark would mark the ideal place to found the city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, on a small island in the first third of our own 14th century.
The newly founded city of the Aztecs began with a weakened and subordinate people. Over many years the city was consolidate and grew into the most opulent and populous city in all of Mesoamerica. Order, wealth, cleanliness, and power were the determining pillars that sustained their civilization until 1521, when it fell to the Spanish and their allies.
The characteristic balance and abundance astonished the newcomers and were reason enough to compel them to build the noble, distinguished, loyal and imperial City of Mexico in this same place. Today, seven centuries after its founding, the heart of the same city founded by mythical pilgrims and re-imagined by foreigners occupies the same space. Seven centuries are easily enough stated, but those 700 years translate into countless events, expansions, and transformations, each leaving indelible traces upon what we know today as Mexico City.
It’s in the spirit of these indelible memories that today, in 2021, we mark a year of commemorations. This Guide to Mexico-Tenochtitlan is presented, the main purpose of which is to draw novel cartographies which invite visitors to tour the city in the shadow of that majestic ancient city.
Visitors’ paths and routes invite guests to take in the monuments, markets, museums, temples, ruins, restaurants, natural areas, squares, parks, palaces and neighborhoods. They each preserve some trace of the past and invite you to live a part of it.
Memories of the past are more latent than ever in the resistance offered by the Pueblos Originarios, in their architecture, customs, images, and clothing. They’re in the food, the languages spoken, and in the ideas of those who at some point have lived in this city. All that remains is to encourage those who read this guide to become true explorers, eager to get to know the city through the routes proposed here and beneath a new lens. A firm invitation to travel, with the certainty of facing moments, stories, and experiences that palpitate and live in the identities and heritage of the neighborhoods of this unforgettable city.