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micePLACES.com The Magazine
Nov/dec 2011
SPOT
LIGHT
mexico city
MICE Magnets
It’s not hard to see why ICCA recently ranked Mexico City 15th on the international
list of top cities for congresses and conventions. If you’re planning a big event, the
International Exhibition and Convention Center World Trade Center offers a total of
21,000 sqm/ 226,042 sqft of exhibit and meeting space, and there are more than
8,000 3- to 5-star hotel rooms within 5 km/3 miles of the facility. Another venue worth
checking out is Centro Banamex, with 34,000 sqm/366,000 sqft of column-free space
that can be subdivided into four separate halls ideal for shows, exhibitions, congresses,
conferences and large-scale productions. And don’t forget Expo Bancomer Santa Fe,
offering 32,400 sqm/348,750 sqft of exhibit space on one single foor, as well as
5,125 sqm/55,165 sqft for outdoor expos and 16 meeting rooms.
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Pre-Columbian History
Take the day to go to Teotihuacan (located about 40 km/25 miles
northeast of Mexico City), a vast pyramid complex left by a civilisation
that predated the Aztecs by 500 years. Try to go early in the morning
before the heat of the day hits, and then fnish off with a lunch of
barbacoa (meat slow-cooked in a pit) or roast lamb in nearby San Juan
Teotihuacan. Located across from the Teotihuacán Pyramid of the Sun
is the Teotihuacán Pyramid of the Moon. Climbing to the apex of this
giant will also offer sweeping views of the surroundings, as well as an
excellent look at the Avenue of the Dead. Near the Teotihuacán Pyramid
of the Moon is the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, another of the more
famous structures that celebrates Quetzal-Mariposa, a mythical bird-like
butterfy. Private drivers and tour guides may also be hired for
a reasonable fee.
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The Center
of it All
The great city square,
called Zocalo, brings
together the rhythmic
beat of Spanish and
traditional Tenochtitlan
music and favors, with
numerous clubs and
restaurants surrounding
the area. The plaza is
also fanked by shops offering Mexican crafts for the shoppers in your
group. For history and architecture buffs, check out the Templo Mayor &
Museum on one side of Zocalo, which houses rare exhibits of ceremonial
offerings and cultural artifacts. The Metropolitan Cathedral – the largest
in the Western Hemisphere – includes excellent examples of Spanish
Religious art. Across the plaza stands a group of buildings known as
Palacio Nacional, frst begun during the days of the Viceroyalty and
then expanded over the years since. The halls of this great complex
are decorated with Diego Rivera murals, which explode with symbolic
depictions of Mexican history.
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‘Floating Gardens’
The highlight of any trip to Mexico City is a visit to the canals and gardens
of Xochimilco, one of the original breadbaskets of the Americas and once
the agricultural hub of Tenochtitlán, a metropolis of 235,000 inhabitants.
The chinampas, or “foating gardens” of the Aztecs were an ingenious
agricultural technique to create arable land on the lake. Now you can ride
brightly colored boats along the canals and buy food from vendors on
barges or hire a mariachi band to serenade you. Some may call it tacky
and touristy, but what a slice
of culture! Access to the canals
is free. If you’re traveling in
a group, you can rent a blue-
roofed boat that accommodates
up to a dozen people, or a
green-roofed boat for bigger
groups. As testament to the
site’s historic value, UNESCO
declared Xochimilco a Cultural
Heritage Site in 1987.
A Cultural Landmark
The Palacio de Bellas Artes (“Palace of Fine Arts”) is the premier opera
house of Mexico City. The building is famous for both its extravagant
Beaux Arts exterior and its murals by Diego Rivera, Rufno Tamayo,
David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco. The theatre is used
for classical music, opera and dance, notably the “Ballet Folklórico.” It
has also been used as the site of wakes for important Mexican artists
such as Frida Kahlo in 1954 and María Félix in 2002. The Palacio
has two museums – the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and the
Museo de la Arquitectura – as well as an elegant bookstore, a café
and temporary exhibitions. Free guided tours of the main theater to
see the magnifcent stained glass curtain are offered from Tuesday
to Friday at 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm. Or, take a group to the Baile
Folklórico for an unforgettable cultural experience.
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