The site where Mexico City stands today has been inhabited for over 20,000 years making it the longest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere. The Aztecs arrived in the mid-1340s and built their settlement in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Known as Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital grew rapidly and by 1500 it was one of the largest and most advanced cities in the world. Despite its size and splendour, however, the arrival of the Spanish in 1519 saw the Aztec empire overthrown and the destruction of Tenochtitlan. The natives didn’t actually win back their independence until the 1820’s.
During their reign, however, the conquistadores quickly built their own replacement capital and today, once again, Mexico City is the largest city on the planet with over twenty million inhabitants. As well as being the capital, however, it is the seat of the national government and home to most of the country’s leading museums, theatres, universities and newspapers and magazines.
The twentieth century saw rapid population growth in the city (two thirds of the population are aged under 30) and as a result unemployment and overpopulation have become an issue as have the problems which usually accompany them including crime and pollution. Nevertheless, this is not all that the city is about and you will see this as soon as you arrive.
The exceptionally young population ensures that Mexico City is undeniably one of the liveliest in Latin America – and that’s saying something. Thousands of clubs, pubs and restaurants as well as a vibrant performing arts scene make it a really fun city to visit. Add to this the host of attractions that are a result of over twenty thousand years of history and you will soon see that the good very quickly outweighs the bad when it comes to the appeal of the Mexican capital.