Plaza of the Three Cultures

Experience an unexpected blending of prehispanic, Viceregal and modern cultures, all encompassed on a single plaza. Once the site of an important ceremonial center and bustling marketplace, Tlatelolco was conquered by its rival indigenous neighbors in 1473, only to be destroyed with the arrival of the Conquistadores.  This is where Cuauhtemoc was captured by the Spanish in 1521 – thus the site of the fall of the Aztec empire.

We will visit the a baroque 17th century Church, the courtyard of a school built by early Franciscan friars for elite Indians, and walk through  several layers of prehispanic pyramids currently enveloped by modern high-rise offices and apartments. We can take a stroll to David Alfaro Siqueiros’s nearby mural depicting the fall of the last Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc or visit two stunning museums: the Tlatelolco on-site museum, which includes recently excavated burials and artifacts, and Rodolfo Stavenhagen’s private collection which has an outstanding display of pieces culled from around Mesoamerica.

Ironically, the Plaza of the Three Cultures was also the site of devastating student protests in 1968 (there is a third museum dedicated to this social uprising on site) and the tragic 1985 earthquake which claimed the lives of thousands.

A visit to the archaeological zone, nearby church and the two anthropology museums will take approximately 3 hours.