Photo: Trajineras

In the Xochimilco section of the city, trajineras, brightly painted gondolas, let passengers explore the canals of the region.

Photograph by Russell Gordon/Aurora Photos

The famed “many Mexicos” of this rich and diverse country are reflected in this teeming, chaotic, noisy, and colorful capital. The historic region, studded by lakes, is now a city of superlatives, rippling with many millions of lights by night, peppered with neighborhoods steeped in tradition such as Xochimilco and gleaming financial districts like Santa Fe, as well as the inevitable shanty towns that fringe its ever-expanding outskirts. Trendy art deco zones with cafés and boutiques compete with leafy bohemian neighborhoods such as Frida Kahlo’s Coyoacán and Polanco, a diverse area of the city that is now the magnet for upscale shopping and dining. Amid food stalls and street vendors vociferously hawking their wares, the heart of the Great Tenochtitlan resonates still with the violent and magnificent history of the conquest of the Americas, with the exposed ruins of the Aztec Templo Mayor elbow to elbow with the great Metropolitan Cathedral, the first on the continent, sun bleached and tilted picturesquely by quakes.

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