Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!
Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral), Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral), Mexico City (must see)

Dominating the Zócalo to the north, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a mortar-and-stone representation of the central role of the Catholic Church in Mexico's past and present. A modest church was built on this site in 1524, over the location of the destroyed Aztec palace of Moctezuma. Shortly thereafter, New Spain's governors commissioned the construction of a bigger, grander church to fit their vision for the City of Palaces. The first stone of the new cathedral – now the oldest and largest in the Western Hemisphere – was laid in 1553, but it wasn't completed for 240 long years. Over the centuries, different architects have left their mark on both the interior and exterior, which boast a dazzling array of Baroque (façade), Neo-Classical (dome), Renaissance and even Chugeressco styles.

Within the cathedral's two bell towers, 25 multi-ton bells are still rung by hand. During the earthquake of September 19, 2017, a cross known as La Esperanza, which topped the eastern tower, toppled and fell to the ground. Tours of the bell towers have since been suspended indefinitely. An exceptional collection of paintings, colored statues, and glittering altarpieces adorn the interior, which also houses the largest 18th-century organs in the Americas – hence the frequent concerts with a focus on organ and choral music.

Tip:
It's a functioning cathedral so be mindful of that, and try to avoid mass. Walk down the sloping floor from the alter towards the back of the church, and look for the large pendulum suspended from the ceiling which tracks how much the building has sunk by marking a record on the floor. Look also at doorways and columns to see how the church – and many of the other heavy old buildings – are leaning and sinking; don't miss the Black Jesus, or "Lord of Poison" statue in the chapel at the back (but do read in advance the story for which it is famous); seek out the chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a chapel on the quiet side of the church, and see the depiction of when Saint Juan Diego opened his cloak before archbishop Zumárraga (again, read the story in advance – anecdotally, Mexicans seem to believe that their Saint takes precedence over Jesus); and, finally, go outside to see where one of the crosses fell from the roof during the 2017 earthquake.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am–8pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Mexico City, Mexico within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral) on Map

Sight Name: Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)
Sight Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Mexico City, Mexico

Create Your Own Walk in Mexico City

Create Your Own Walk in Mexico City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Mexico City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chapultepec Park Walking Tour

Chapultepec Park Walking Tour

Chapultepec Park is one of the most famous parks in Mexico City. It is located on the Chapultepec Hill, that has a major historic importance for Mexicans. This park features some of the best known tourist attractions in Mexico city, like the Chapultepec Castle and National Museum of Anthropology. Take this self guided walking tour to explore Chapultepec Park.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Coyoacan District Walking Tour

Coyoacan District Walking Tour

Coyoacán, or “The Land of Coyotes” in Nahuatle, is a relatively quiet neighborhood in the heart of Mexico City, one of its 16 boroughs. Formerly a rural village, over the years Coyoacán has become a rich pocket of art and history in the Mexican capital. Iconic figures like Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, great artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera sought refuge and inspiration in this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Zona Rosa Walking Tour

Zona Rosa Walking Tour

Zona Rosa, or the Pink Zone, is one of Mexico City's popular neighborhoods. It is located near the historic center of the city, and was called Pink Zone because of the pink tiles that are prevalent here. The area is noted particularly for its splendid Beaux-Art architecture, the city's best handicraft markets and antique shops. Take this self guided tour to discover the beauties that...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Historic Center Walking Tour

Historic Center Walking Tour

After the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán, Spanish settlers destroyed the Mexica capital, building a European-style settlement atop the ruins – and, in many cases, using the stones from fallen Mexica temples to construct their own churches and palaces. Five centuries later, Mexico’s pre-Colombian heritage is embedded throughout the Centro Histórico – in its layout, in its place-names,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Mexico City's Nightlife

Mexico City's Nightlife

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world and also one of the most populated. Its nightlife is all about amazing music, great drinks and thrilling fun. The music here is mainly a combination of Spanish and English-language rock, electronic music, some Latin/Caribbean music, Latin pop, and sometimes traditional Mexican music. Take this self guided tour to enjoy the unique nightlife...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Famous Religious Edifices Walking Tour

Famous Religious Edifices Walking Tour

After Hernán Cortés conquered the city of Tenochtitlán in the early 16th century, the Spanish razed the Mexica temples and built Catholic churches atop their remains. Coming from a deeply religious atmosphere in Spain, colonial missionaries were active throughout the land, establishing an abundance of Catholic churches, schools, and hospitals. Every religious building in this city is now a part...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles

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