The Plaza de la Constitución is better known, across Mexico, as the Zócalo. It’s the central plaza of the City and often referred to as the central plaza of the entire country. As such, it is the frequent site of many of the important events in the city. In the photo above it looks pretty empty but it’s often very crowded. Throughout the year, it hosts events, fairs, carnivals, concerts, parades, and more.
The plaza is, in fact, the center of ancient Tenochtitlan. When the Spanish took the city, they retained this plaza as the political and religious center of the country – and of course, of the city too.
The Zócalo is bordered on the north by the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City. To the east is the National Palace, seat of the Federal Government. To the south is the Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento, seat of the city government, and it’s twin. To the west you will find private buildings, among them the Mercaderes building and the original Monte de Piedad. Along this side you’ll find a few restaurants and terraces with spectacular views of the center city.
After many efforts to revitalize the Historic Center, the Zócalo has beecome the culmination point of much of contemporary Mexican culture, politics, and expression. Photographer Spencer Tunick photographed 18,000 people here. A public skating rink has been set up here every winter since 2007. And the list goes on and on.
Concerts have been by artists like Café Tacuba who drew 100,000 fans. Shakira more than doubled that number only a short time later. No matter when you visit, there will always be something going on at the Zócalo, where much of the history of the country and the city has been and will continue to be written.