10 Best Interesting Facts You May Not Have Known About Mexico City – Pacific Ocean 3

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Puerto de Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Mexico‘s largest port located in the state of Colima at the Pacific coast and handles the Pacific Ocean cargo for Mexico City. Because of its location, Puerto de Manzanillo is a very important pier for Asian importers and exporters besides being a good site for trade with the USA, Canada, South America and other countries of the Pacific Rim.

Established in 1971, the main imports it handles include: general consumer goods like steel products and spare parts; agricultural products such as wheat, oat and fertilizer; and minerals that include sulfur, zinc concentrate and potassium nitrate. The chief exports that go to countries like USA, Canada, South America, Pacific Rim region, Germany, Spain and Russia are beer, cars, cement, sugar, copper, steel, glucose and resin. More than that, Puerto de Manzanillo is home to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), an oil refinery and Terminal Turistica,a cruise terminal that can accommodate at least 2 Panamax cruisers (cruise vessels that sail along the Panama Canal)

An Overview On Mexico City:

A city of superlatives, being the oldest ( circa 1325) and the highest (7,350 ft. above sea level) megapolis in North America, legend says that the Nomadic Aztecs were on the lookout for a land to settle. Based on prophecies, they’re looking for a sign that they should see an eagle sitting on a pear cactus at the area while holding a snake at its beak. And so the settlement of Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 for it was in that valley in Mexico where they saw the eagle being mentioned in the prophecy ( also depicted on their national flag). The Aztecs headed by Moctezuma II landed on an island at Lake Texcoco which has been connected to the shore by calzadas (canals).

Now, here comes the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez who first laid eyes on Tenochtitlan in 1519 and was so captivated by this dazzling city that reminded him of Venice. Moctezuma II believed on the other hand that the white, bearded Cortez might be the serpent-God Quetzalcoatl, thus he welcomed the foreigner with open arms. Little did he know that he would be murdered by the Spanish and eventually Cortez succeeded in demolishing the Aztec city then built a new European-style capital of New Spain (Mexico) using the ruins of Tenochtitlan but followed the grid pattern of the Aztecs. They also drained Lake Texcoco and introduced wheels and horses over canoes for transport at the land-filled lake.

Mexico City flourished during the colonial era but after 300 years, Mexicans revolted against Spain with Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest, leading his fellowmen in a grito (shout) “Death to the gachupinos (wealthy Spaniards), long live the Virgin of Guadalupe. Viva Mexico” on September 10, 1810. The country gained full independence on September 27, 1821 after Spain was defeated in The War of Independence.

Map showing the location of Mexico City.

I’m not sure what I would find in Mexico City when we were at the Puerto de Manzanillo for oil loading from PEMEX in May 2016 via the IVS Leopard Moon, but never in a thousand years did I imagine that I’ll see a place so epic and so grand. This city was actually a bustling destination where arts and culture, history, music, delectable food and friendly locals sum up into one and make this place worth discovering. Maybe it’s either you enjoy learning new places or just want to know where to go on your post pandemic trip, here are best interesting facts you may not have known about this city.

1. It is the oldest city in the Americas.

Founded in 1325 by the Aztecs and was called Mexico-Tenochtitlan after their emperor, a best interesting fact you may not have known that Mexico City is the oldest capital in the American continent. Considered then as the hub of Aztec culture, it was inhabited by at least 300,000 people, larger than any city in that period.

2. Mexico City sits on top of a lake and is actually sinking.

A best interesting fact you may not have known that Mexico City was founded by the Aztecs and they built it on an island in the center of Lake Texcoco. When the Spanish conquistadors came, they knocked it down to the ground and rebuilt it again into a grand colonial Spanish style. And since it’s built on a lake, it is sinking at a rate of 10 inches a year.

3. It has the oldest street in all of the American continent.

Puente de Alvarado

Mexico City‘s Puente de Alvarado, best interesting fact you may not have known, is the oldest street in the whole American continent since 1377. It was constructed by an Aztec emperor and a part of the Mexico-Tacuba highway, once the road that used to connect Tenochtitlan with the western shores of Lake Texcoco.

4. A city of 9 archeological sites and 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Mexico City‘s Centro Historico, one of the city’s 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

If you’re into history and culture, a best interesting fact you may not have known that Mexico City has 9 archeological sites and 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hidden under this chic capital is a series of temples, palaces and uncanny artifacts from the Aztec empire like the spectacular Templo Mayor (Great Temple), discovered beneath the Metropolitan Cathedral. Centro Historico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is Mexico City‘s historic center wherein majority of the buildings were built during the Spanish colonial period.

Part of the ruins of Aztec‘s Templo Mayor (Great Temple) excavated under the Metropolitan Cathedral.

5. It is the 8th richest city in the world.

With an estimated GDP of US$608 billion, a best interesting fact you may not have known that Mexico City ranks no. 8 as the richest city in the world. After Tokyo, New York City, Los Angeles, London, Chicago and Paris, thanks largely to its manufacturing (car exports) and petroleum products, they bring a very strong economy to the city. In fact Carlos Slim, Mexico‘s richest man and the 6th richest person in the world has a total net worth equal to 5% of the country’s total GDP.

6. Underneath Pino Suarez station of the city’s subway has an Aztec ruin.

The Pyramid of the wind god Ehecatl under Pino Suarez station.

A best interesting fact you may not have known that builders discovered an Aztec ruin by accident when they were excavating for a portion of Mexico City‘s underground train system. Said ruins contain a ceremonial Mexica center located at Pino Suarez station and is believed to be the Pyramid of the Aztec wind god, Ehecatl.

7. Guadalupe Basilica (Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe) is the 2nd most visited Catholic Church in the world after the Vatican.

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

With at least 14 million visitors a year, a best interesting fact you may not have known that Villa Guadalupe is the 2nd most explored Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, next to Vatican. Built on the exact location where Juan Diego saw 2 visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary who asked him to build a Church. It was also at Guadalupe Basilica that Mexico and the USA signed a treaty to end the Mexican war.

Jardin del Tepeyec, hill where the Virgin appeared to Juan Diego.

8. Coyoacan neighborhood, a historical area of Mexico City is famous for its cobbled-stone streets and historical buildings.

Fuente de los Coyotes in the Coyoacan area of Mexico City.

Mexico City‘s oldest area, a best interesting fact you may not have known is Coyoacan, where Hernan Cortez started his phenomenal success and swift invasion over the Aztec empire. Meaning “a place of coyotes” in Nahuatl dialect, Coyoacan is recognized as a “Barrio Magico” because of its stunning architecture and relaxed old village charm. It reveals 16th century Churches, monasteries and villas like Museo del Carmen which has a collection of mummified Carmelite nuns.

9. Home to North America’s largest park, Bosque de Chaputelpec.

Chaputelpec Park with Chaputelpec Castle at the background.

Bosque de Chaputelpec is two times larger than New York City‘s Central Park, a best interesting fact you may not have known and is the oldest urban park as well in North America. This 1,700-acre plus greenery is home to museums, gardens, a large lake and a zoo which is considered as Mexico City‘s most important “lungs” with its trees that give oxygen to the Valley of Mexico. Also found in this park is Chaputelpec Castle, the only castle to house royalty in North America, the young Austrian prince of the Habsburg line, Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota I who became Emperor and Empress of Mexico in 1864 until their execution in 1867.

10. Where the tacos reign supreme.

Mexico City‘s “tacos al pastor..

And of course, I couldn’t say more of the best interesting facts you may not have known about this grand city without mentioning tacos which plays a big part in Mexican lifestyle. Meaning “half or in the middle” in Nahuatl for the way it is formed, tacos was born as the bedrock of Olmec staple, which the “tortilla” was believed to have been used as a “spoon” by Moctezuma to hold the food mixture of beans and chili. But the most important tacos that you have to try when you’re in Mexico City is the tacos al pastor (tacos in shepherd style) which is an adaptation of the Lebanese shawarma to Mexican palette except that it is made of pork fillings, coriander and pineapple slices.

From world-class museums to a powerful food scene, there is so much to discover here in Mexico City that will surely take you a lifetime to unravel. I had an incredible time here, the culture I had learned was absolutely unforgettable and I was lucky and privileged about the fact that I was able to see this place for free. The sea beckons and the world belongs to the daring voyager, I hope that you will read my next article for more adventures in a different part of the globe, you see new shores are always waiting just around the corner.

Reference: Wikipedia