Zócalo, Mexico City, Mexico - Mexico Regional Landmarks

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Zócalo, or Plaza de la Constitución is the historic centre of Mexico City. The word Zócalo, which in Aztec means pedestal or base, was adopted in 1843 when a tall monument to independence was constructed. Although the pedestal does not exist any more, the name remained, being aplied to the main plazas of most of Mexican cities. The plaza, considered the largest in the Western Hemisphere was first paved in the 1520s by Cortés with stones from the ruins of the Aztec Empire's palaces and temples, using Indian slave labor. The present zócalo was the site of the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlán, which was once the capital of the Aztec Empire, including 78 buildings.

The Zócalo houses some of the most remarkable landmarks of Mexico City. Located on the east side of it, there is the Palacio Nacional; on the north, the Cathedral; and on the south side there are the buildings of the Departamento del Distrito Federal (Federal District Department). The large Mexican flag rippling in the middle of the Zócalo is raised in the early morning and lowered late afternoon by the Mexican army. The Zócalo is the heart of the city, used for protest marchs, demonstrations, government rallies, and festive events, and is the center point for the celebrations of the Independence Day on September 16.

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Image supplied by Isabel Carranza