The Catedral Metropolitana was old then, and it's still old, but holding up quite well. We see it here behind an enormous flag. This is not an optical illusion. The flag is in the middle of the Zócalo, about halfway between where I'm standing and the Catedral itself.
The Catedral has an impressive look, don't you think? And this is just the side entrance (East). Actually, this is the side entrance to an adjunct of the Catedral called the Sagrario -- sort of a glorified Chapel. Point of interest: one cannot enter the Sagrario wearing shorts.
The first building of the Templo Mayor complex was begun sometime around 1325. Most accounts credit Aztecs with its construction, others say it was built by the Mexica people, one particular tribe of what is often referred to as the Aztec Empire.
If we want to be pretentious, we can call this the "tres épocas" photo, as we see the Templo Mayor (begun in 1325) in the foreground, in front of the Catedral Metropolitana (begun in 1573, and in the far background the top of the Torre Latinoamericana (begun in 1948, completed in 1956).
The Guadalupe legend is similar to several other sightings of the Virgin Mother (Mary) around the world, except that in this one, it was a young man, not a young woman or child, who saw the vision. (Apparently the only other sighting by a man was in Rome, in 1842. See marypages.com/ for a [presumably] complete report.)
On 9 December 1531, Juan Diego saw the vision, which was imprinted on his apron or cloak (the fabric and image together are referred to as the tilma) as a sign to the skeptical bishop that a temple should be built at Tlayacac in Cuauhtitlan, about 20 km. (14 miles) North of Tenochtitlán (today's Mexico City). The temple, officially known as Templo Expiatorio a Cristo Rey was begun in 1531. It is now a Basilica, having been consecrated as such by Pope Pius X in 1904.
Here, in the middle, leaning forward, you see the original Basilica as it looks today. It is leaning because it is sinking into the ground. The area, like most of Mexico City, is a former lake bed. The modern building at the left is the Nueva Basilica, finished in 1976.
As for the actual tilma of Juan Diego, it was on display in the original Basilica (I saw it there in 1965) from 1709 until 1974, having survived a bomb planted in 1921 near the altar, which seriously damaged the church, but not the image of the Virgin, enshrined some distance away from the blast. The tilma is now in a quite modern shrine inside the Nueva Basilica. To view it, as I did along with my tour guide, one steps on a motorized walkway, rather like those in airports, to keep the flow of visitors moving.
No.1: Pendejo -- it's not only a word, it's a way of life!
No.2: If the Pendejos could fly . . . this city would be an airport.
(I think this one's my favorite.)
No.3: (This one takes a bit of translator's license, as "metiche", like "pendejo", is pretty slangy): Of the 100 problems I have . . . one is for [being] pendejo, and 99 are for [being] nosy.
Now, you can feel free to imagine me, at the vendor's stall across the street from the Catedral, falling on the ground after reading these.
The first three lines of this sign (which I will clean up a bit in case there are children or prudes watching) say, "I ask you please, don't throw trash here, you worthless aborigines." (NOTE: having grown up with the word pinche being used all the time in our neighborhood, it seems ludicrous to translate it as "worthless", so if you want authenticity, do a Web search.)
This is the polaroid I took on my second visit to the city, on 23 June 1965, from the top of the Hotel Maria Isabel (now the Sheraton). View is almost directly to the South.
The six are known as the Niños Héroes, and are among Mexico's most revered military heroes. They may not have been "niños" in a literal sense, but all were teenagers, ranging from thirteen to nineteen years old, when they died. This is the newer Monument to their memory, erected in 1952. It replaced an older memorial, on the same site, which was the scene of a remarkable, impromptu visit in 1947, exactly 100 years after the heroes' deaths, by U.S. president Harry S Truman, in which he laid a wreath and stood for a moment of silence in respect and tribute. One Mexican newspaper ran the headline, "FRIENDSHIP BEGAN TODAY". Fifty years later, president Bill Clinton repeated the gesture.