Aztec dancer, El Zocalo
Aztec dancer, El Zocalo
Mexico City is North America's highest city, and one of the world's most densely populated. It sprawls across a valley encircled by ice-capped volcanoes and mountains, atop an ancient Aztec civilisation. With a long and fascinating history that runs from ancient native civilisations through to the invasion of the Conquistadors and subsequent colonial rule, Mexico City has a vast number of fascinating sights and attractions.

In the city centre, constructed out of the stones of the ancient palaces and temples, is the vast open space of the Zocalo - the main city square - said to be the second largest in the world after Moscow's Red Square. At La Merced you'll discover the city's biggest and most vibrant market, with a vast array of bizarre and exciting stalls. The huge expanse of the Bosque de Chapultepec park houses the National Museum of Anthropology, with a fascinating collection of pre-Hispanic artefacts. At Teotihuac visitors will discover one of the most impressive and mysterious archaeological sites in Mexico, constructed by an ancient, long forgotten culture.

The sprawling capital of Mexico has some world-class museums and galleries, and a remarkable architectural legacy with elegant buildings, palaces and cathedrals, colonial suburbs, historical ruins and modern skyscrapers. It also has poverty, overcrowding and slums, pollution, traffic congestion, crime, unemployment, and a constant cacophony of people and noise. It is exhilarating, frenetic and fascinating, overflowing with all that is good and bad about urban life.

Despite its problems and somewhat bewildering energy Mexico City is a magnet for Mexicans and tourists alike: a modern, cosmopolitan and ever growing city that is attractive in many ways. Despite its renown for the appalling, throat-rasping levels of pollution, Mexico City's skies often remain remarkably clear, and the smog does make for incredible sunsets.