Tag Archives: Mexico City

A Greek goddess in a French Avenue is one of Mexico’s most cherished image.

Photo I shot at Mexico City.

Reality can and will surpass fiction.

One would think of the Virgin of Guadalupe or the so-called Aztec Calendar, but reality can and will surpass fiction — a Greek goddess in a French Avenue is indeed one of the most cherished and easily identified symbol of the Mexican people. This statue ironically represents the surrealism of Mexico.

The statue was put at the top of a tall column to celebrate in 1910 the 100 aniversary of the Independence of Mexico. Built by then President Porfirio Diaz — considered to be one of the longest serving dictators not only in Mexican history but in all of Latin America. The column crowned with its golden statue is located at the most iconic streets of all of Mexico, Paseo de la Reforma.

Paseo de la Reforma was built by Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, which under the French Empire’s auspice and patronage he ruled the Second Mexican Empire. It is somewhat of a copy of Champs Elysee and it is said to be a gift the Emperor gave to his wife, Carlotta. The avenue had (and still has) wide streets, rotundas, small gardens, statues, trees — all of which you would find in modern-day cities but back in mid-19th century Mexico City.

The irony goes further, as the name of this avenue was forcibly put by left-winged liberal president Benito Juarez, who not only killed Emperor Maximilian but toppled the Second Mexican Empire and sieged the Catholic Church through his Laws of Reform. The word Reform became linked to his liberal anti-Catholic ideals. So, as a coup de grace, the famous avenue was named Paseo de la Reforma or Reform Avenue.

On top of that, the original statue was destroyed during the 1957 earthquake. Earthquakes are very common in Mexico City, and a new one was built and the tall column reinforced. So far, it has survived the 1985 and 2017 earthquakes.

Finally, the Greek goddess of Victory is known today as an angel, because of its wings. So we have a Greek goddess who became an angel, at a French avenue with an anti-French name, built by a dictator to honor independence — and this is the symbol of Mexico City and one of the most recognized in all of Mexico. I guess the irony of Mexican history speaks itself.


If you would like to read and know more about the intricate history of Mexico you may enjoy reading my novel, Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.


Outside the Museum of Anthropology

Street photography I shot with my J7 mobile phone, outside the National Museum of Anthropology and History. 

The Museum is not only a great visit because of the treasures it houses — literal treasured pieces, monuments like the Aztec Calendar stone, unique statues, glyphs listing kings, and gold craftsmanship — but for its location.

It is a huge and ancient forest designed by Nezahualcoyotl.

At the heart of an upscale area of Mexico City, the National Museum of Anthropology and History rises amongst a forest of trees. On one side of the museum, you have the Chapultepec Forest (or Bosque de Chapultepec). The equivalent of Mexico City’s Central Park, it is a huge and ancient forest — designed by King Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco for his Aztec Mexica cousin King Motecuhzoma I — which recieves tourists and locals from all walks of life. You can find Mexican families flocking with their improvised picnic a la mexicana, or you can stumble upon elegant couples who march with haste towards some classical music concert. If you like being surrounded with people — and most of all seeing all kinds of them — this is a great spot.

Dotted with posh bars.

On the other side of the museum you have the Polanco district (or colonia Polanco), where you can find not only embassies, high-class hotels, or offices, but also a lot of cafe places, and international cuisine restaurants from around the world. Nightlife may be even more interesting in Polanco, since it is dotted with posh bars and exclusive restaurants.

Our version of the White House but more sumptuous (unfortunately).

The location of the museum is quite interesting not only because of its peaceful trees in the heart of Mexico City’s chaos, but because of its proximity to power. You see, quite near, just blocks away, you have the official Presidential house — sort of our version of the White House but more sumptuous (unfortunately for the Mexican people). We call it Los Pinos, or The Pinetrees (for real). And between Los Pinos complex and the Museum we have the National Auditorium, which is like our Madison Square Garden — all things concerts happen there (as well as quinceañera limos hanging cruising around Reforma Avenue).

Tortas are like burgers, but bigger and with way more ingredients.

Curiously enough, at the immediate surroundings of the museum we can find a lot of snack vendors, selling esquites (corn in a cup), tortas (like burgers but bigger and with way more ingredients), raspas (sno-balls), chicharrones (pork skin), and more. If you’re lucky you may see native dancers — you can’t miss them with all their feathery display.


Lecheria, Mexico – The Crossroads of Irony.

Photo I shot at the Mexico City metro area.

A kind of no-man’s land.

An area commonly known as Lecheria, it is a crossroads of paths where highways, public transportation and train routes intersect. A kind of no-man’s land, since it is trapped in the local borders of the Tultitlan and Cuautitlan Izcalli municipalities — where crime, people traficking, illegal migration, and road accients thrive. The blurry jurisdiction in the area has created fertile soil for organized crime and urban decay.

The irony lies in this train tracks.

The irony lies in this train tracks, where most Central American illegals hover before going to the United States, since it is used for most of the import-export flow between Mexico and the US. These old tracks has been used for more than a century to communicate the Mexican capital with the far northern part of the country — and hence, America.

A hub for people who work or study.

Lecheria has its name because there used to be many establishments in the area selling milk many decades ago, way before the urban sprawl reached it. Today, the commuting train has one of its stations here, making it a hub for people who work or study daily in Mexico City proper.

It is a micro cosmos of Mexico in general.

The stark contrasts of Lecheria are too easy to spot. There are decaying factories, warehouses, and improvised wooden slums next to upscale malls, luxurious hotels, a museum, and several restaurants and movie theaters. The mountains — part of the Guadalupe Mountain Range — on one side simple unfinished houses, while on the other towers of coveted departments rise tall. It is a micro cosmos of Mexico in general.


8 ancient ruins in Mexico City you should visit

Mexico is worldwide known for its ancient cities that once stood tall and magnificent. Built by masterful native architects and artists today lie in ruins – awaiting for our eyes to see their grandeur of times past.

Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world but Mexico City has wonders worth of sightseeing and marvel upon. Here’s a list I’ve compiled of ancient ruins if you’re ever at the Mexican capital and wish to delve into the experience of indigenous cities.

If you don’t mind walking, a bit of sun, and wandering amongst millenia-old buildings then this is for you!


Location: Northeastern Mexico City metro area.
Walking: *****
Native food: Yes
Touristy: Yes
Built not by Aztecs but by a multicultural population of Huuastec and Otomi people, it became the most powerful city of its time, much more than Mayan cities. Two major pyramid-temples and dozens of smaller ones await you. Plus, the exquisite palaces that still stand are a delight. It is a huge place, after all it is the actual downtown of one of the most massive cities in the world.

Location: Southern Mexico City’s Pedregal area.
Walking: **
Native food: No.
Touristy: Yes.
There is a spirited debate concerning its antiquity, some say 8000 years old but mainstream scholars have it at 3000 years old. Famous for its round pyramid, one of the oldest structure in the Americas. No texts survive so we don’t have any info on Cuicuilco’s history. Nowadays surrounded by shopping malls, expect traffic.


Location: northern Mexico City, in Tlalnepantla municipality.
Walking: **
Native food: No.
Touristy: Partly.
Founded by Xolotl the Great, it was once the capital of the Chichimec Domain. Part of it is enclosed by government, but the other part you can literally walk into it. Main structures are the towering pyramids and a palace complex. Mainly local tourists know of this place.


Santa Cecilia Acatitla
Location: Northern Mexico City, Tlalnepantla municipality.
Walking: *
Native food: No.
Touristy: No.
Firsthand, it is hard to reach it, located in a maze of streets but nothing Waze or Google Maps can’t handle (I’ve been to places that aren’t in the satellites yet!). Once you get there the reward is the ONLY native pyramid temple intact. Lots of photo-ops. A small museum houses the artifacts found there. Don’t go late, locals say it can be dangerous during the night.


Location: Near downtown area and Reforma Avenue.
Walking: ***
Native food: No
Touristy: Partly
The ancient ruins share its place with a colonial church and mid-20th century apartment buildings. Thus known as the Three Cultures Plaza. The place is well organized but there is literally no parking area or usual tourist-trap vendors. Local tourists and couples do hang in there. In Tlatelolco Hernan Cortes fought the definitive battle that meant the defeat of the Triple Alliance, aka wrongly-named Aztec Empire.

Pino Suarez subway station
Location: Downtown southern area.
Walking: *
Native food: No.
Touristy: No.
Inside this station of Mexico City’s subway is a drum-like temple built by the Mexica Aztecs in honor of the spirit of the wind, Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl. It is definitely not touristy, as this subway station is used by local commuters. The ancient city of Tenochtitlan is under modern Mexico City, this means most buildings remain down there, but not visible, except a few like this one.


Location: Downtown
Walking: *
Native food: No
Touristy: Yes
When the Spanish Centre was digging to build an underground parking garage of their own they stumbled with the Mexica Aztec university, known as Calmecac. This ancient school was where people studied priesthood, sciences, and military. Not only the ruins are down there but artwork that was found as well. Once done, you can check for contemporary art upstairs.


Location: Downtown
Walking: ***
Native food: Yes
Touristy: Yes
Last but not least the proper capital of the Mexica Azteca. Decimated by the Hispanics, they never imagined countless pyramids would survive under the main temple, since they were built like Russian dolls. One can walk around them seeing each period. The walk culminates with the museum. Outside there are restaurants, yes, but if you want authentic Aztec food try crickets with chilli.

If you’re interested in Ancient Mexico history check out my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Mexico City metro area — what is it?

Photo I shot at Cuautitlan, Mexico.

Mexico City metro area is gigantic. Not only it spans over a large area but it’s also over-populated. There is a Federal District, locally known as DF — Mexico City proper. Surrounding it is the other metropolitan area in the State of Mexico.

Outside the DF limits there are 22 municipalities, to explain each one is a hard task (perhaps for another post). Each has its goodies and its bad sides, as with any place.

The northern municipalities of Mexico City’s metro area is the more vast, it encompass Teotihuacan pyramids for instance. We could divide it in Northeastern and Northwestern, all beyonf the Guadalupe Sierra mountains. Tepotzotlan and Cuautitlan are here. Before the mountains there are other municipalities as well.

Then you have the western municipalities, more posh and upscale. They’re best attractions are the pine forests. Yes, in Mexico we have forests, sorry to dissappoint Hollywood.

On the East, behind the airport we have small towns that also have ancient ruins and yearly fairs.

Finally there’s the Chalco region and volcanoes, where the main attractions are obvious although there are also beautiful colonial towns and breathtaking landscapes.

If you’re interested in Mexico, check out my novel set in Ancient Mexico. Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, a romance and political thriller based on true events.


Mexico City Public Transportation 101

Photo I shot at Mexico City metro area.

In Mexico City suburban areas and the inner city have different kinds of public transportation. In the Federal District, which is Mexico City proper, there is a vast subway, metrobus, trolebus, normal buses, cabs, electric cabs, tricycle cabs, a small commuting train, and a long interstate commuting train that connects with the State of Mexico northern municipalities.

In the surrounding area of the Federal District, locally known as Distrito Federal or simply DF, there is of course the commuting train, cabs, mexibus, normal buses, and what locals call combis (which are glorified minivans that swarm the almost 21 municipalities that surround Mexico City).

The one in the picture is known as a micro (pronounced mee-cro), which usually are outdated American buses from yesteryear. These micros roam in the metro area, while buses usually connect to Mexico City downtown.

Mexico City inhabitants and yours truly have to undergo the intricate public transport at some point. American cities are more car oriented but the Mexican capital is enormous and overpopulated that at times it makes its avenues and expressways useless because of epic traffic jams. After all, this is the third largest urban agglomeration of the world. Hence, its mobility problems are far greater and more challenging than way (way) smaller cities like New York or New Delhi.

I have crossed the whole city from one city limit to the other using only public transportation, it took me a bit more than 4 hours. And I was lucky, because I avoided rush hour. I did the same time one makes from Mexico City to Acapulco beach by car.

If you’re interested in Mexico City and its history, check out my book Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Girl on Public Transport. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Girl on Public Transport. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Mexico City’s main avenue

Photo I shot at Mexico City’s Reforma Avenue.

I did this long exposure photography while I was lying near where the cars passed in order to obtain this light effect.

Once an imperial boulevard during the times of the Second Mexican Empire led by Emperors Maximilian of Hapsburg and Carlotta of Belgium, today it is a financial and posh street. It has become the most important street in all of Mexico.

The independence column houses the remains of men and women who led the Mexican Independence War.

Commonly called the angel by Mexicans in general, in reality it’s the semi-nude Greek goddess of Victory.

Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.
Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

Mexico City’s Alameda park.

Mobile Photo I shot at Mexico City’s downtown, in the Alameda park.

It is located within walking distance from the rest of Mexico City’s historic downtown — what was once the Mexica Aztec capital — and upscale Reforma Avenue. The Alameda has the Fine Arts Palace in its grounds, and posh hotels around it.

One of the oldest parks of Mexico City, it once went to a deplorable state for many decades (as with all forgotten urban jewels in the world). Just last year the Alameda was recovered to what it might have looked in its full glory during the last centuries.

The towering Latinoamericana Tower is the tallest building that stands in the downtown area of the Mexican capital — the reason — the dangerous marshy land in which the area is located. Once an island, the Aztec Mexica capital of Mexico Tenochtitlan was surrounded with water. Actually the Aztec Mexica streets were water causeways like in Venice, except for the few connecting roads to “mainland”. As the city sprawled, the marshy lands and Aztec ruins became the foundation for the new city. This part of the city can’t have tall buildings for that reason, and to have the Latinoamericana Tower standing there, already sustaining strong earthquakes like the one in 1985, is called by architects and engineers a feat.

But fate shall not be tempted, and so taller and shinier buildings are standing in Reforma Avenue (and still more being erected) away from the zone. One can walk from Alameda Park to the nation’s most famous avenue, locally known as Paseo de la Reforma, where more hotels, shops, malls, and monuments are located.

If you like history and places of Mexico, you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Mexico City's Alameda Park. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Mexico City’s Alameda Park. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Bee on a flower.

Photo I shot of a gorgeous model I found in a lake in northwestern Mexico City metro area.

Not only are bees pretty, but of paramount importance for the balance of the planet’s ecosystem (and not because Doctor Who says so, by the way).

Illustrator Brooke Barker suggests in a joking way that if a bee is to be paid minimum wage, a jar of honey would cost $ 182,000! These little friends are so important!

Bee on a flower. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña. Bee on a flower. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.