At the centre is a huge square, the Zocalo, on the north side of which is the huge cathedral. Right next door to that is the Templo Mayor – the remains of one of the main Axtec pyramid temples of the city. Only the very base of the structure remains and as it was extended multiple times simply by piling earth on it and building another stone skin, it shows a kind Russian doll effect with lots of stairs one behind the other.
Entry to the Templo includes an extensive museum showing everything that has been excavated from the site, from shells and obsidian knives to some huge stone sculptures, including the round carved slab showing a dismembered moon goddess, the accidental discovery of which in 1978 lead to the excavation of the temple site.
The surrounding grid pattern streets contain some decorative buildings,
So rather than build the cathedral, my first Mexican model is the church, although I’ve had to substitute tan for the dark red volcanic stone of the walls.
At this point I should come clean and admit that this world heritage site actually has another component, an area called Xochimilco, in the south of the city. But I visited that some days later (today in fact) so you’ll have to wait to hear about that…