Between Alameda and Zócalo, Mexico City
Opposite the Museum of Mexico City will be seen the 17th c. Baroque church of Jesús Nazareno, with frescos by Orozco (1944) in the dome. It was either here or at the church of Santa Cruz Acatlán that Cortés is said to have met the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II for the first time on November 8th 1519. The body of Cortés, who died at Seville in 1547, now rests in the Jesús Nazareno church. The Hospital La Purísima Concepción adjoining the church, the first of its kind in America, was founded by Cortés in 1524 and was until recently still managed by his descendants.In the Pino Suárez Metro station, to the south, stands a circular Aztec pyramid which was excavated here.
Museum of Mexico City
Going east along the next cross street, Avenida República de Salvador, and crossing Avenida Pino Suárez, the visitor will come to the Museum of Mexico City (Museo de la Ciudad de México). at Pino Suárez 30, in the imposing former Palacio de los Condes de Santiago de Calimaya. This has an interesting collection of documents, photos, furniture and other material on the history of the city from prehistoric times to the present day. Notable items include a model of the Teocalli, the cult centre of ancient Tenochtitlán, and another of the city as it is today. At the corner of the building note the serpent's head stone taken from the wall of the Templo Mayor.
Address: Pino Suárez 30, Col. Centro Histórico, Mexico
Opening hours: 9am-7:30pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constititución) (Feb 5), Mexico - Benito Juárez Birthday (Mar 21), Mexico - Battle of Pueblo Day (May 5), Mexico National Day (Sep 1), Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16), Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20), Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 12), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Colegio de las Vizcainas
Returning to Calle San Jerónimo and going west along this street we come, just before Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas and on Callejon San Ignacio, to the Colegio de las Vizcainas or Colegio de San Ignacio. This is a Baroque structure built by Miguel José de Quiera between 1734 and 1786 as a Basque girls' school. It boasts a very beautiful Churrigueresque chapel which, like the north front, is attributed to Lorenzo Rodríguez. There is a small religious museum which is open to the public at certain times only.
House of Tiles
Opposite the Church of San Francisco is the Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles), originally built in 1596 and decorated by the Conde del Valle de Orizaba 150 years later with blue and white tiles from Puebla. In 1925 José Clemente Orozco painted murals on the walls of the staircase. The building is now a shop and café belonging to the Sanborn chain, where Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa breakfasted together on arrival in Mexico City. This meeting is marked by a photo which hangs on the wall of the café.
One block south of the Convent of San Jerónimo on Isabel La Católica lies Avenida José María de Izazaga in which, near the Isabel la Católica underground station, stands the little church of Nuestra Señora de Monserrat. This former convent now houses the Charro Museum (Museo de la Charrería), with exhibits relating to all aspects of horses and equine sports, including traditional Charro costumes and the saddle used by the revolutionary leader "Pancho" Villa.
The 181 m (594 ft) high, 44 storey Torre Latinoamericana at the corner of Avenida Madero and Lázaro Cárdenas, to the south of the Metro station, is second only in height to the more recently built Hotel de México. The viewing terrace on the 42nd floor affords a magnificent view over the city. The serious earthquake of September 1985 made the tower sway considerably, but thanks to its floating "hydrolastic" foundations it remained undamaged.
Convent of San Jerónimo
From the Metro station Calle San Jerónimo leads west to the former Convent of San Jerónimo on the square of the same name (No. 47). The great poetess and painter Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-95) lived and worked here, and her remains were recently discovered in the church. The museum, with its library, film-shows and excavated finds, which is now housed in the building is named after her.
At the corner of Madero and Isabel la Católica, stands the fine Baroque church of La Profesa (1720), once part of a Jesuit convent. The high altar is by Manuel Tolsá.Farther south, at the corner of Isabel la Católica and Uruguay, is a former Augustinian church which housed the National Library until it was moved to the University City.
Palacio de Iturbide (Banco Nacional de México)
Beyond Casa de los Azulejos, on the right, will be found the Palacio de Iturbide, now owned by the Banco Nacional de México. This excellently restored 18th c. Baroque palace was designed by Francisco Guerrero y Torres in 1780 and until 1823 was the residence of Agustin de Iturbide, later to become the first Emperor of Mexico. The bank arranges exhibitions from time to time in the inner courtyard.
Avenida Francisco I leads south from the Torre Latinoamericana, and on the right-hand side of the street stands first of all the church of San Francisco, with a handsome Churrigueresque doorway of the early 18th c. This is a remnant of a large convent founded by Cortés in 1524 which was destroyed by the Reform government in 1856. The remains of Cortés are said to have lain in this church from 1629 to 1794.
At the west end of Calle Izazaga, on Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas, stands the mid 18th c. church of La Purísima, with a richly-decorated doorway. In the square in front of the church can be seen the Salto de Agua fountain, the original of which, dating from colonial times, was removed over sixty years ago to Tepotzotlán.
Museum of Mexico City
Some blocks (cuadras) east of Museo de la Ciudad de México along Avenida del Salvador stands the Mercado de la Merced, a modern market hall designed by Enrique de la Mora y Palmor. Until recently it was the city's largest food market, but this has now moved to Iztalapa and less market business is done here now.
Convent de La Merced
It is also worth looking in at the 17th c. Convent of La Merced (rebuilt in 1834), at the corner of Uruguay and Jesús María. The fine cloister shows a pleasant mingling of styles, including in particular Mudéjar.
Mercado San Juan
North-west of the square, at the junction of Lopez and Ayuntamiento, lies the Mercado San Juan, one of the city's oldest and largest markets for foodstuffs, flowers, household articles and folk-art.
Museo del Zapato
This highly original museum (Museo del Zapato), recently opened above a large shoe shop at Calle Bolivar No. 27, boasts a collection of more than 7500 items of footwear, old and new.
Along Avenida Uruguay stands the Capilla Manzanares, primarily frequented by market folk, with its beautiful 18th c. Churrigueresque façade.
Map of Mexico City Attractions