Just about any landscape in Mexico will include a church, often as its most striking feature. But Mexico City city-scapes will often include four or five - or even more.
Invaded at the height of the European Counter-Reformation, the evangelization of the Americas was always among the most controversial and deepest parts of the Spanish conquest. It's proven to be among the longest lasting. For good or ill, today's inhabitants of Mexico City live in not just the shadow of a historical conquest but in many of the most striking and original aspects of that culture's art, architecture, and building.
Nearly every church in the city is a treasure trove of art. Painting, sculpture, design, carving - even what are today called installations - make up a deep part of the psyche and the look and feel of Mexico City culture. And the buildings themselves, perhaps only most obviously, display techniques, styles, and forms that reflect every aspect of Spain's own complicated relationship with history, occupation, and even colonialism.
"Mexican Baroque" is a catch all term for the Baroque that arrived here, divided, split and rejoined and formed new styles while celebrating their predecessors. Churrigueresque shares space on the same pages of historians who will insist that it's the "Ultra Baroque." Hardly a church exists in Mexico City that will be called a pure reflection of one style or another. Ecelectic is just the first in a long list of words to describe influences from the Moores to the French to the neo-Classicists and the anti-neo-Classicists.
One of the most ancient villages in the north of the city, Zacatenco dates from 1200 BCE.
A history of ranching as rugged as its tall trees and mountainous landscape.
One of the most rugged old towns of Cuajimalpa, this one's worth a visit just for the views.
One of the Center City's most beautiful of Baroque chapels is almost at the southern edge of the…
A neighborhood church isn't just featured on the Metro station logo, but the center of the neighborhood too.
One of Iztapalapa's original villages is the heir to a fascinating and deep history.
A magnificent little chapel dedicated to Saint Martin, it's often enough painted bright pink.
The legendary Shrine of the Lord of Mercies is more than a mountain church. It's been an inspiration…
One of the final architectural works of Nicolás Mariscal, Fatima still stands out.
One of the most radical of 20th-century churches, Santa Monica is sometimes simply jaw-dropping.
One of the most beloved and oldest of the colonial era churches in the greater Mixcoac area, San…
One of the original villages of Benito Juárez is almost lost, but for a tiny chapel.
One of the oldest of chapels in Benito Juárez, the Xochimanca harks back to a very old original…
One of the city center's most illustrious former convents is still a sight to see.
One of the oldest churches in all Mexico City, a delicately painted interior is just the beginning.
Just a few steps outside the south exits of the Mercado de Sonora...
Barrio La Asunción is centered around the San Matias Church and Monastery, among the oldest in the city.
All that's left of the old monastery that named the neighborhood that's as "Mexico City" as any.
High in the hills near Ajusco, one Tlalpan town still keeps a reputation for independence and shelter.
A remarkable temple was once the center of Colonial Tlalpan.
Far older than it looks, it's an original village right on the best part of the bikeway.
One of the oldest parts of Álvaro Obregón, it's a crooked neighborhood, with a church as charming as…
Tlatelolco's original school still teaches a lesson even hundreds of years later.
Among the oldest colonial buildings in the city, this one stands out for sheer austerity.
One more ages-old church in the farthest reaches of Tlatelolco...
Among the oldest of the traditionally popular towns on the slopes of the Xitla volcano.
One of Pedro de Arrieta's most lasting contributions to the look and feel of the City.
One of the 18th Century's best examples of the new Neo-Classicism, a church holds its own in La…
Two palms stand out above a frenetic and busy street to mark one of the area's oldest churches.
Narvarte's northernmost of churches seems to long for a history just out of reach.
A surprisingly posh corner of Tlalpan is actually one of the original villages.
One of the most lavishly decorated of Villa de Cortés churches, this one's interior is breathtaking.
A storied chapel on a plaza of the same name, don't miss the long story behind this one.
In the shadows of the Plaza San Lucas, a dramatic history is redeemed in symmetry.
The predecessor to San Pablo el Nuevo, today it's part of the Hospital Juárez Centro.
One of the City Center's favorite and most forlorn of 17th-Century Baroque Chapels, this one is worth the…
One of Pedregal's most striking modernist churches, this one reaches a "peak."
Like a gaunt recollection of past conflict, a hard-fought for parish stands out in its own period's harshest…