Mexico City is not only the modern capital of a dynamic nation, but also one of the world’s greatest, largest and most cosmpolitan cities. All life is found here: a vibrant social and ethnic mix leads its daily existence surrounded by some of the most imposing historical and contemporary architecture to be found anywhere on earth. Furthermore the city is a centre of avant-garde culture, and hosts a great number of large-scale cultural events every year.
According to legend, Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded in the fourteenth century by the Aztecs, who turned the city into the capital of the most important pre-Hispanic empire in the Americas. After its conquest by the Spanish in 1521, it became the capital of the territory of Nueva Espana, and subsequently the capital of the independent United Mexican States.
Known to Mexicans as Distrito Federal, and to its inhabitants as "D.F.", Mexico City is an urban centre to rival any other in terms of the scope and variety of its attractions. It has more than 100 museums, amongst which is the magnificent Museo de Antropologia, which stands as the very best of its type in the world. The city’s cathedral is a magnificent example of colonial architecture, while the many squares that punctuate the crowded thoroughfares are rightly renowned for their style and elegance. The most important of these is the Zocalo, which is the focal point of downtown D.F. On the outskirts of the city are the world-famous ruins of the ancient city of Teotihuacan, one of the great centres of pre-Hispanic civilisation in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But aside from its tourist attractions, Mexico City is a place that moves to the beat of a lively social scene. Whether you choose to follow in the footsteps of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and while away the afternoon in a cafe in the homely suburb of Coyoacan, or sample local cuisine in one of the many restaurants that line the streets of lively Colonia Condesa, Mexico City has something for everyone. Those in search of retail outlets will enjoy wandering through the exclusive shops and boutiques in Polanco, while others will be captivated by the colourful street life of the historic city centre .
Of course, it is only fitting that such a city should enjoy a similar footballing status. Its main stadium, the enormous Estadio Azteca, is a veritable cathedral of the global game. It has hosted two FIFA World Cup Finals, and has legendary status both at home and abroad as one of the world’s great sporting venues. From the dazzling skills of Pele in 1970 to the mesmerising footwork of Diego Maradona in 1986, the Azteca has provided a fitting stage for the game’s greatest talents.
The Estadio Azteca, or, to give it its nickname, El Coloso de Santa Ursula, is the home of CF America, one of Mexico’s most popular club teams. America’s great rivals, Pumas, play at the impressive Estadio Olimpico Universitario, whlile fellow capital side Cruz Azul welcome visiting teams to their more intimate, but no less atmospheric, Estadio Azul.