Xochimilco is one of the 16 delegaciones or boroughs within Mexican Federal District. The borough is centered on the formerly independent city of Xochimilco, which was established on what was the southern shore of Lake Xochimilco in the pre-Hispanic period. Today, the borough consists of the eighteen “barrios” or neighborhoods of this city along with fourteen “pueblos” or villages that surround it, covering an area of 125 km2. While the borough is somewhat in the geographic center of the Federal District, it is considered to be “south” and has an identity separate from the historic center of Mexico City. This is due to its historic separation from that city during most of its history. Xochimilco is best known for its canals, which are left from what was an extensive lake and canal system that connected most of the settlements of the Valley of Mexico. These canals, along with artificial islands called chinampas, attract tourists and other city residents to ride on colorful gondola-like boats called “trajineras” around the 170 km of canals. This canal and chinampa system, as a vestige of the area’s pre-Hispanic past, has made Xochimilco a World Heritage Site. In 1950, Paramahansa Yogananda in his celebrated classic Autobiography of a Yogi wrote that if there is a scenic beauty contest, Xochimilco will get the First Prize. However, severe environmental degradation of the canals and chinampas has brought that status into question.
Things to do in Xochimilco
Coyoacán refers to one of the 16 boroughs (delegaciones) of the Federal District of Mexico City as well as the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes,” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco which was dominated by the Tepanec people. Against Aztec domination, these people welcomed Hernán Cortés and the Spanish, who used the area as a headquarters during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and made it the first capital of New Spain between 1521 and 1523. The village, later municipality, of Coyoacan remained completely independent of Mexico City through the colonial period into the 19th century. In 1857, the area was incorporated into the Federal District when this district was expanded. In 1928, the borough was created when the Federal District was divided into sixteen boroughs. The urban sprawl of Mexico City reached the borough in the mid 20th century, turning farms, former lakes and forests into developed areas, but many of the former villages have kept their original layouts, plazas and narrow streets and have conserved structures built from the 16th to the early 20th centuries. This has made the borough of Coyoacan, especially its historic center, a popular place to visit on weekends.
The Zócalo is the common name of the main square in central Mexico City. Prior to the colonial period, it was the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. The plaza used to be known simply as the "Main Square" or "Arms Square," and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square). This name does not come from any of the Mexican constitutions that have governed the country but rather from the Cádiz Constitution which was signed in Spain in the year 1812. However, it is almost always called the Zócalo today. Plans were made to erect a column as a monument to Independence, but only the base, or zócalo (meaning "plinth") was built. The plinth was buried long ago but the name has lived on. Many other Mexican towns and cities, such as Oaxaca and Guadalajara, have adopted the word zócalo to refer to their main plazas, but not all.
Condesa or La Condesa is an area in the Cuauhtémoc Borough of Mexico City, south of the Zona Rosa and 4 to 5 km west of the Zócalo, the city's main square. It is immediately west of Colonia Roma, together with which it is designated as a "Barrio Mágico Turístico" ("Magic Neighborhood for Tourists"). Together they are often referred to as Condesa–Roma, one of the most architecturally significant and bastion of the creative communities of the city.
The National Museum of Anthropology (Spanish: Museo Nacional de Antropología, MNA) is a national museum of Mexico. It is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Mahatma Gandhi Street within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian heritage, such as the Stone of the Sun (or the Aztec calendar stone) and the Aztec Xochipilli statue.
Places to stay in Xochimilco