The high-altitude Valley of Mexico, at the center of Mexico, has been an important economic and cultural hub since 1519 when Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City, reigned as the most populous city in the world. Today, in addition to indigenous peoples from different regions of Mexico, ex-pats from around the globe - including about a half-million Americans - are part of Greater Mexico City's 19 million inhabitants.
Layers of culture and history mesh in the mercados and museums, of which Mexico City has more than any other city in the world. The nation's capital is divided into 16 boroughs, or delegaciones, which encompass hundreds of neighborhoods, or colonias. The Zona Rosa, next to the revitalized Centro Historico, has been fashionable since colonial times and became popular with tourists after Mexico City hosted the Olympics in 1968.
Mexico City and the surrounding areas are also home to a number of ancient, historically significant sites that will awaken the archaeologist or historian in anyone. A tour of Teotihuacan Pyramids and Shrine of Guadalupe illuminates treasured Aztec sites and the most visited religious site in Latin America. Take a day trip to Taxco and Cuernavaca, two towns known respectively as 'The City of Eternal Spring' and the silver capital of the world, or famous places like Xochimilco and the National University of Mexico.
Arts, culture, and major attractions abound in Mexico City as well. A Mexico City Sightseeing Tour takes you to a number of landmarks, while concerts and shows are performed regularly at the Auditorio Nacional and Teatro Metropólitan. Another must-see on any Mexico City trip is an evening of traditional music and dance with the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, a group that that incorporates Aztec ritual movements with traditional dances from other cultures and regions of Mexico, all accompanied by mariachis, marimbas, and song.