Mexico City isn’t famous for no reason. However, when you take some time to look at what this city offers, you’ll be surprised to know several remarkable facts about it. This article is for you whether you’re planning to visit Mexico City or are interested in knowing more about it.
Like most people, we also find Mexico City interesting. As such, we’ve discovered these 17 amazing facts about this city that you may also find interesting. While some information is just straight-up facts, most are mind-blowing. After reading, you’ll learn more about the city and likely grow more interested in it!
If you’re already planning to visit the city, these facts may help you prepare or at least know some things to expect upon arrival!
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Mexico City is North America’s Biggest City
Mexico City is North America’s biggest city in several aspects. For instance, it’s the most populated city on the continent. Furthermore, it has one of the largest areas. Over 9 million people are living here in a 573-square-mile area. Also, it has one of the highest densities of population in the world.
Mexico City Houses One-Fifth of the Country’s Population
Mexico City is so big and populated that it’s home to one-fifth or 20% of the country’s entire population. As such, this city is considered one of the cities with the highest capital ratio to the national population.
Mexico City Follows the Central Standard Time Zone
Mexico has four time zones, the same as the contiguous United States. However, in Mexico City and most of Chihuahua, including the country’s capital, Central Standard Time is observed.
Mexico City Was Named After an Aztec Tribe
The Mexica tribe is said to have come from the mystical region of Aztlan and gave the city its name. Their city, Tenochtitlan, was founded by these Mexicas, also known as the Aztecs. The area where this city once sat is now Mexico City.
Mexico City Houses The Highest Number of Museums Worldwide
Mexico City is home to more than 180 museums, making it the city with the highest number of museums worldwide. A particular statistical report even mentioned that this city has more than a thousand museum-like establishments.
To know the best ones, read our article about the Museums in Mexico City.
Mexico City Has the Largest Number of Operating Taxis
Approximately 140,000 taxis operate in Mexico City. Thus, it ranks among the largest taxi fleets in the world. Additionally, taxis are inexpensive in Mexico City. So keep an eye out for all the white and pink sites you will find in Mexico.
Mexico City Sits on a Man-made Island Amidst a Lake
It was common for cities to be built along river banks in the olden days. Mexico City was different, however. It was founded on a man-made island in the center of Texcoco Lake.
In Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs dumped soil into Lake Texcoco to create a man-made island.
The Mexican Valley used to have five lakes in ancient times. Tenochtitlan was built on Lake Texcoco, the largest of the Aztec lakes. Causeways and canals connect the city to other lakes and islands.
Mexico City Continues to Sink
Among Mexico City’s most shocking and interesting facts is that it sinks every year. Mexico City sinks by 40 cm yearly, which may seem surprising and caused by subsidence.
Mexico City stands amidst a lake, as we mentioned earlier. As time passed, the city grew, and buildings were built larger and heavier. As such, the groundwater was used extensively for industrial and household purposes.
As a result, the lake bed dried out, and clay sheets cracked. Mexico City has been sinking rapidly because of this, and scientists believe this cannot be reversed.
Mexico City Was Formerly Known as the City of Palaces
The Spaniards built Mexico City’s palaces after becoming the new nobles of New Spain. As a result of accumulating tons of wealth in Central America during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they built luxury homes and massive churches. These structures stand tall today, justifying the name “the Palace City” given to it.
Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park is one of the largest in the world.
Chapultepec Park is among the most extensive city parks in the Western Hemisphere and Latin America. The park covers 1695 acres, almost twice as much as New York City’s Central Park.
Besides this one, you’ll find other parks scattered throughout the city. Check out our Guide to Mexico City’s Most Beautiful Parks to learn more.
Mexico City Has the Only Place with a Standing Aztec Canal System
Mexico City no longer has any canals or causeways mentioned above. One of the main reasons Mexico City is sinking is that the lake over which it was built was drained over time. Only at the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco a fragment of the canal system still exists.
Mexico City Sits Upon An Ancient Aztec City’s Ruins
In 1521 CE, the Spanish razed Tenochtitlan to the ground. Then, they built a new city from the ruins, which we now know as Mexico City.
Aztec ceremonial centers were built where today’s Zocalo and historical centers are located. It was called Tenochtitlan by the Aztecs.
This ceremonial center included 45 buildings, such as shrines and temples. Unfortunately, apart from some cathedral ruins, nothing remains of the Templo Mayor.
Tenochtitlan’s ancient structures provided the building materials for colonial structures built from stones and rubble.
Mexico City Served As New Spain’s Capital for 300 Years
The Aztecs were conquered by Henan Cortes in 1521, giving rise to New Spain. Spanish colonization encompassed Mexico, the Southwestern United States, Central America, Guam, and the Philippines. Cortes built the new capital city of Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan. From 1521 to 1821, the city served as New Spain’s capital.
Mexico City Is the Oldest Occupied City in the Americas
This city began its journey in 1325 by the name Tenochtitlan. During that time, the city served as the Aztec Empire’s capital. After the Spanish took it over in 1519, it became known as Mexico City. Mexico City is the only city in the Americas that has continuously been occupied for centuries.
Mexico City Has One of the Biggest Public Squares in the World
The primary public square of Mexico City, El Zocalo, is among the biggest ones in the world. This public square serves as a venue for all events and happenings even today, as it has been since the Aztecs. Moreover, this place is the heart of Mexico City, forming a significant part of its historic center.
Mexico City Sits Beside an Active Volcano
The city sits beside one of the country’s most active volcanoes, the Popocatépetl or the El Popo. It’s an active volcano that recently erupted in 2020. This volcano sits around 43 miles or 70 kilometers away from the city.
Mexico City Has a Monument Covered in Actual Gold
If you’re searching for famous landmarks in the city, you’ll likely encounter pictures of The Angel of Independence. This monument is the most popular and renowned landmark in the city. While it’s made of bronze, it’s covered in 24-karat gold.
In general, there’s so much to learn about Mexico City, and once you take the time to discover them, you’ll enjoy the city from a different perspective. With this in mind, we hope these exciting facts will not only help you learn more about Mexico City. Instead, we also hope it will make you more interested in learning more by visiting it!
Are you interested in trying authentic Mexican food once you visit the city? If so, you’ll find food tours the best experience. Please read our guide article about the Food Tour in Mexico City to learn more.