The ancient capital of the Mexican Empire and the capital city of modern Mexico sits at an altitude of 6,600ft above sea level in an old lake basin surrounded by volcanic mountains.
Home to over 18 million people, this is one of the world's mega-cities, but in spite of the urban sprawl, it contains pockets of great beauty and historical interest, in recognition of which it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The different cultures that have inhabited the city over the centuries have left an interesting architectural legacy. The modern city was founded on the ruins of the ancient Aztec site of Tenochtitlan, the excavated remains of which can be seen close to the Zócalo - the vast central square. Alongside such pre-Hispanic remains are colonial era buildings such as the richly ornamented national cathedral at one end of the Zócalo, and the National Palace, which houses Diego Rivera murals depicting the country's history.
The historic centre contains many other palaces, mansions and churches interspersed with modern skyscrapers, and there is plenty of green space too, notably vast Chapultepec Park. Leafy upmarket residential districts such as Condesa, Roma and Polanco are filled with beautiful buildings and stylish restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Mexico City also has a large number of quality museums, chief among them the National Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology, housing priceless artefacts from Mexico's early civilizations such as the Maya, Toltec, Zapotec and Aztec cultures.