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Mexico City's esplanades are an important way to better understand the complex and diverse geography of the metropolis. In general, here, we're talking about the local governments, and the surrounding plazas, of the 16 alcaldías of the modern City.

Esplanade, in Latin explānāre, means simply to level or flatten. So this "explainer" is to present these 16 main plazas. In truth, many small towns within the metropolis will display these same characteristics. The Roman tradition of building cities consists of with three initial parts: public square, administrative building, and temple. These three elements are evident everywhere in contemporary Mexico City.

The city's 16 alcaldías date only from 1970, when they were called delegaciones. Today, each of these administrative divisions is headquartered in a public building surrounded by a flat, often fascinating esplanade.

Each of these territories are part of a much longer history. But importantly, today the civic plazas are themselves surrounded by places of interest: cultural and community centers, public monuments, and theaters. And just about every important event in the civic calendar year is commemorated at these sites. They're all listed below.

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