KSAT in CDMX: 4 must-see things near Zocalo, including Mexico City's most colorful market

KSAT visits Mexico City to learn about, research origins of Dia de los Muertos

MEXICO CITY – Last month, a KSAT crew traveled to Mexico City to research and study the history and origins of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

The crew, which included anchor Isis Romero, digital reporter RJ Marquez and photojournalist Misael Gomez, spent a little more than three days in Mexico City and spoke to experts and residents about the celebration.

Day 1 of the trip took us to one of the most well-known parts of Mexico City. Here’s more on the Historic Center of Mexico City.

1. Templo Mayor 

The first place we visited was the Templo Mayor, which translated to English is the "Greater Temple.” 

It was the primary temple used when the area was known as Tenochtitclan, and designed in a Mesoamerica style.

The Nahuatl people ruled the region during the days of the Aztec Empire.

The temple was dedicated to the god of war, Huitzilopochtil, and the god of rain and agriculture, Tlaloc.

But it was mostly destroyed in 1521 by the Spanish to make way for the Metropolitan Cathedral.

What remains of the temple was excavated in and around the 1980s as archaeologists found multiple layers of the temple underneath the surface.

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Special Section: Day of the Dead

2. Zocalo Square 

We landed in Mexico City a day after the country’s national independence holiday.

This turned out to be a stroke of luck as Zocalo Square, the city’s main square was still adorned with the Mexican flag, colors and symbols.

A giant eagle was also placed in between government buildings.

Every year, a massive crowd gathers at Zocalo as “El Grito” is delivered at midnight on Sept. 16.

The original “Cry of Delores” was delivered in 1810 as a call to the Mexican people to rise up against Spanish rule.

Zocalo has been a gathering location since the Aztecs ruled the area.

Ceremonies and religious events have been held there for centuries.

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3. Metropolitan Cathedral 

The Metropolitan Cathedral a beautiful church located near the Templo Mayor and Zocalo.

It is Latin America’s largest and oldest cathedral, and was built after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.

The cathedral is considered to be an architectural masterpiece with a mixture of three designs: baroque, neoclassic and Renaissance. 

The cathedral was built over two centuries and features four facades and two bell towers.

Inside, there are multiple altars, including the Altar of Forgiveness, which is located at the front of the structure.

One story of how it was named states that those condemned by the Spanish Inquisition were brought to the altar to ask for forgiveness in the next world before their execution.

The cathedral has 16 chapels inside that are dedicated to a saint. 

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4. Mercado Jamaica 

Located only 3.3 miles from Zocalo Square is one of the most colorful markets on earth.

There are more than 1,100 stands with vendors selling flowers and large arrangements inside a massive warehouse. Visitors can smell the flowers from nearby streets

The Mercado Jamaica opened in the late 1950s and features close to 5,000 different types of flowers and ornamental plants, many of which are species native to Mexico. 

The area is on the eastern edge of what was Tenochtitclan.

We went to the market in search of  the Cempasuchil flower, which is a staple of Day of the Dead.

The flower was not there because it was not yet in season, but we found it later during our visit to Xochimilco.

About the Authors

RJ Marquez is the traffic anchor/reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He also fills in as a news anchor and has covered stories from breaking news and Fiesta to Spurs championships and high school sports. RJ started at KSAT in 2010. He is proud to serve our viewers and be a part of the culture and community that makes San Antonio great.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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