Mexico City's Central Square:
            The Zocalo
Welcome to Mexico's capital.  Mexico City's huge central
square, the Zocalo, is constructed over what used to be the
Aztec Empire's capital, prior to the Spanish conquest.  Above
is the Cathedral, and it is sinking.  The Aztecs built upon
former marshland, and now the Cathedral's interior is a mass
of scaffolding as part of a rescue attempt.  Also in the Zocalo,
archaeologists have uncovered the foundation of the main
Aztec Temple, destroyed by the Spanish.  
This Spanish style courtyard helps form the interior of
Mexico's National Palace, a featured building in the Zocalo.
Diego Rivera, Mexico's greatest muralist, decorated the
National Palace with a series of gigantic murals that cover
the entire history of Mexico, with one event flowing into
This is a section that includes the Spanish defeating the Aztec
Empire and then turning the Indians into slaves who worked
the mines.  Rivera's art was political, always on the side of
the  oppressed.  Uncle Sam comes off very poorly in Rivera's
version of what we Americans call the Mexican War.  
In this mural Rivera presents an idealized version of Mexico
City under benevolent rule of the Aztec Empire, a clear
contrast to the Spanish.  At the mural's top left is the main
Aztec temple, where Rivera makes a small concession to the
Aztec's widespread practice of human sacrifice by showing
blood on the temple stairs.    
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip to Central
America and Mexico by clicking on: