1. Castle – A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. Usage of the term has varied over time and has applied to structures as diverse as hill forts. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with different features, although some, such as curtain walls. A European innovation, castles originated in the 9th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Carolingian Empire resulted in its territory being divided among individual lords and princes. Although their military origins are often emphasised in castle studies, the structures served as centres of administration. Many castles were built from earth and timber, but had their defences replaced later by stone. Early castles often exploited natural defences, lacking features such as towers and arrowslits, in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle defence emerged. This led to the proliferation of towers, with an emphasis on flanking fire, many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric defence – several stages of defence within each other that could all function at the same time to maximise the castles firepower. These changes in defence have been attributed to a mixture of castle technology from the Crusades, such as concentric fortification, not all the elements of castle architecture were military in nature, so that devices such as moats evolved from their original purpose of defence into symbols of power. Some grand castles had long winding approaches intended to impress and dominate their landscape, while castles continued to be built well into the 16th century, new techniques to deal with improved cannon fire made them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live. As a result, true castles went into decline and were replaced by artillery forts with no role in civil administration, and country houses that were indefensible. From the 18th century onwards, there was a renewed interest in castles with the construction of castles, part of a romantic revival of Gothic architecture. The word castle is derived from the Latin word castellum, which is a diminutive of the word castrum, meaning fortified place. The Old English castel, Old French castel or chastel, French château, Spanish castillo, Italian castello, the word castle was introduced into English shortly before the Norman Conquest to denote this type of building, which was then new to England. In its simplest terms, the definition of a castle accepted amongst academics is a fortified residence. Feudalism was the link between a lord and his vassal where, in return for service and the expectation of loyalty. Castles served a range of purposes, the most important of which were military, administrative, as well as defensive structures, castles were also offensive tools which could be used as a base of operations in enemy territoryCastle – The Alcázar of Segovia in Spain overlooking the city
2. Chapultepec Castle – Chapultepec Castle is located on top of Chapultepec Hill. The name Chapultepec stems from the Nahuatl word chapoltepēc which means at the grasshoppers hill and it is located in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City at a height of 2,325 meters above sea level. In 1775 Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez ordered the construction of a home for himself at the highest point of Chapultepec Hill. Francisco Bambitelli, Lieutenant Colonel of the Spanish Army and engineer, drew up the blueprint, after Bambitellis departure to Havana, Captain Manuel Agustín Mascaró took over the leadership of the project and during his tenure the works proceeded at a rapid pace. Mascaró was accused of building a fortress with the intent of rebelling against the Spanish Crown from there, Bernardo, the viceroy, died suddenly on November 8,1786, fueling speculation that he was poisoned. No evidence has yet been found which supports this claim, lacking a head engineer, the Spanish Crown ordered that the building be auctioned at a price equivalent to one-fifth of the quantity thus far spent thereon. Alexander von Humboldt visited the site in 1803 and condemned the sale of the windows by the Royal Treasury as a way of raising funds for the Crown. The building was bought in 1806 by the municipal government of Mexico City. Chapultepec Castle was abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence and for years later. On September 13,1847, the Niños Héroes died defending the castle while it was taken by United States forces during the Battle of Chapultepec of the US invasion of Mexico and they are honored with a large mural on the ceiling above the main entrance to the castle. The United States Marine Corps honors the Battle of Chapultepec and the subsequent occupation of Mexico City through the first line of the Marines Hymn, From the Halls of Montezuma. Several new rooms were built on the floor of the palace during the tenure of President Miguel Miramón. Botanist Wilhelm Knechtel was in charge of creating the aerial located on the roof of the building. Additionally, the Emperor brought from Europe countless pieces of furniture, objets dart, at this time, the castle was still located on the outskirts of Mexico City. Maximilian ordered the construction of a boulevard, to connect the Imperial residence with the city centre. Following the reestablishment of the Republic in 1867 by President Benito Juárez, however, the observatory was only functional for five years until they decided to move it to the former residence of the Archbishop in Tacubaya. The reason was to allow the return of the Colegio Militar to the premises as well as transforming the building into the presidential residence, the palace underwent several structural changes from 1882 and during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz. The other Presidents who made the palace their official residence were Francisco I, madero, Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón, Plutarco Elías Calles, Emilio Portes Gil, Pascual Ortiz Rubio and Abelardo RodríguezChapultepec Castle – View of Chapultepec Castle from the Northeast
3. Mexico City – Mexico City, or City of Mexico, is the capital and most populous city of Mexico. As an alpha global city, Mexico City is one of the most important financial centers in the Americas and it is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 metres. The city consists of sixteen municipalities, the 2009 estimated population for the city proper was approximately 8.84 million people, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometres. The Greater Mexico City has a domestic product of US$411 billion in 2011. The city was responsible for generating 15. 8% of Mexicos Gross Domestic Product, as a stand-alone country, in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy in Latin America—five times as large as Costa Ricas and about the same size as Perus. Mexico’s capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by Amerindians, the other being Quito. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, Mexico City served as the political, administrative and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the district was created in 1824. Ever since, the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution has controlled both of them, in recent years, the local government has passed a wave of liberal policies, such as abortion on request, a limited form of euthanasia, no-fault divorce, and same-sex marriage. On January 29,2016, it ceased to be called the Federal District and is now in transition to become the countrys 32nd federal entity, giving it a level of autonomy comparable to that of a state. Because of a clause in the Mexican Constitution, however, as the seat of the powers of the federation, it can never become a state, the city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in 1325. According to legend, the Mexicas principal god, Huitzilopochtli indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak. Between 1325 and 1521, Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength, eventually dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco, when the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec Empire had reached much of Mesoamerica, touching both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. After landing in Veracruz, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés advanced upon Tenochtitlan with the aid of many of the native peoples. Cortés put Moctezuma under house arrest, hoping to rule through him, the Aztecs thought the Spaniards were permanently gone, and they elected a new king, Cuitláhuac, but he soon died, the next king was Cuauhtémoc. Cortés began a siege of Tenochtitlan in May 1521, for three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans. Cortés and his allies landed their forces in the south of the island, the Spaniards practically razed Tenochtitlan during the final siege of the conquest. Cortés first settled in Coyoacán, but decided to rebuild the Aztec site to erase all traces of the old order and he did not establish a territory under his own personal rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crownMexico City – From above Torre Latinoamericana, Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, Anillo Periférico, World Trade Center Mexico City, Angel of Independence, Chapultepec Castle, St. Regis Hotel Tower and Torre Mayor, Skyline of Paseo de la Reforma and Palacio de Bellas Artes.
4. Aguascalientes City – Aguascalientes is the capital of the state of Aguascalientes and is its most populous city, with a metropolitan population of 1,000,000. It is located in North-Central Mexico and it is part of the macroregion of Bajío, which is among the safest and most prosperous regions in Mexico. Aguascalientes has repeatedly recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life in Latin America. Nowadays, Aguascalientes is a vigorous service city that is experiencing a social, economic. It stands on the banks of the Aguascalientes river,1880 meters above sea level and it is the municipal seat for the Aguascalientes Municipality. The Aguascalientes metropolitan area includes the municipality of Jesus María and San Francisco de los Romo and it was a Chichimeca Indian territory. It later blossomed as a link between Mexico City and the mines of Zacatecas, while prosperous agriculture and ranching helped feed Spain’s emerging New World cities. OECD has recognized Aguascalientes as having the best business climate standards in the world and it is a strong business and economic center in the Bajío region. Its strategic location and excellent infrastructure have made it a regional hub and its first-class services and hotel industry turn it into one of the most important centers in Mexico with numerous options of entertainment, gastronomy, leisure activities, arts and recreation. When the state separated from Zacatecas, Aguascalientes raced ahead in its development, the historical center of Aguascalientes was born out of four distinct neighborhoods. The oldest of these is the Barrio del Encino, which is older than Aguascalientes proper. Founded in 1565 by the Andalusian Hernán González Berrocal, the neighborhood was originally named Triana after the neighborhood in Seville, the Barrio del Encino is home to the baroque-style Templo del Señor del Encino, a Catholic temple built between 1773 and 1796. The Cristo Negro del Encino, is a venerated religious icon symbolic of this neighborhood. The colonial square and the José Guadalupe Posada Museum, adjacent to the temple, are one of the attractions in the city. The second neighborhood is the Barrio de San Marcos, which has its roots in the early 17th century as a settlement on the outskirts of the then-village of Aguascalientes. Between 1628 and 1688, some land was allocated to the community. Meanwhile, they organized the construction of a hospital and a chapel. The neighborhoods iconic Templo de Guadalupe was built between 1767 and 1789, its recognized for its Spanish Baroque façade and its dome lined with Talavera tiles, gravediggers established homes near the cemetery, and others took advantage of the open land to establish orchardsAguascalientes City – Aguascalientes
5. Guanajuato City – Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is part of the macroregion of Bajío and it is in a narrow valley, which makes its streets narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides, many of the city’s thoroughfares are partially or fully underground. The historic center has numerous small plazas and colonial-era mansions, churches, the origin and growth of Guanajuato resulted from the discovery of minerals in the mountains surrounding it. The mines were so rich that the city was one of the most influential during the colonial period, one of the mines, La Valenciana, accounted for two-thirds of the world’s silver production at the height of its production. The city is home to the Mummy Museum, which contains naturally mummified bodies that were found in the cemetery between the mid 19th and 20th centuries. It is also home to the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which invites artists, Guanajuato was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence between insurgent and royalist troops at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. The city was named a World Heritage Site in 1988, the first known inhabitants of the area were the Otomi, who were then displaced by the Chichimeca. There was Purépecha presence as well. The oldest known name for the area is “Mo-o-ti, ” which means “place of metals. ”Later, it was called Paxtitlán by the Aztecs, which means “place of straw. ”The current name of Guanajuato comes from Purépecha “Quanax huato, which means “hilly place of frogs. ”Mining had been done in this area long before the Spanish arrived. Late in the period the Aztecs had a presence here, specifically to look for metals to make ornamental objects for their political. Some stories from this state that the area was so rich in minerals that nuggets of gold could be picked up from the ground. The Spanish found deposits of gold here in the 1540s and soon they sent soldiers, in 1548, the outpost formally established with the name of Real de Minas de Guanajuato by viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza. Despite Chichimeca attacks, the population of the area grew rapidly with the arrival of Spanish and Creole adventurers and indigenous and it was soon declared a town with the name of Santa Fe Real de Minas de Guanajuato and Preafán de Rivera as the first mayor. Its first church was consecrated in 1555, and it was named a “alcadía mayor” in 1574, initially, the city was divided into four barrios or neighborhoods called Marfil/Santiago, Tepetapa, Santa Ana and Santa Fe. The last is considered the oldest and is in the current colonia of Pastita and this city was split by a small river that served as a main thoroughfare. The oldest neighborhoods are Rayas y Mellado, Cata, La Valenciana, the very first mineral vein discovered, called San Barnabé, attracted attention not only in New Spain, but in Spain itself. The discovery brought thousands of adventurers to the area, which led to discovery of other deposits, the San Barnabe find produced until 1928, when it tapped outGuanajuato City – A view of downtown Guanajuato from the El Pípila monument
6. Cuernavaca – Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established by the Olmec, the culture of Mesoamerica. The city is located south of Mexico City, from which it may be reached after a drive of approximately 1½ hours using the D-95 Freeway, the city was nicknamed the City of Eternal Spring by Alexander von Humboldt in the nineteenth century. It has long been an escape for Mexico City and foreign visitors because of this warm, stable climate. Aztec emperors had summer residences there, and today many people as well as Mexico City residents maintain homes there. Cuernavaca is also host to a foreign resident population, including large numbers of students who come to study the Spanish language. The name Cuernavaca is derived from the Nahuatl phrase Cuauhnāhuac and means surrounded by or close to trees, the name eventually was Hispanicized to Cuernavaca. The coat-of-arms of the municipality is based on the pre-Columbian pictograph emblem of the city depicts a tree trunk with three branches, with foliage, and four roots colored red. There is a cut in the trunk in the form of a mouth, from which emerges a speech scroll, probably representing the language Nahuatl and by extension the locative suffix -nāhuac, Cuernavaca was nicknamed city of eternal spring by Alexander von Humboldt in the nineteenth century. The city is located in a region, but its temperature is kept fairly constant in the 70s. It is located on the slope of the Sierra de Chichinautzin mountains. In the morning, warm air flows up the mountains from the valley below and in the late afternoon, a ubiquitous flowering plant in the city is the bougainvillea. This pleasant climate has attracted royalty and nobles since Aztec times, most of the Aztec emperors called Cuernavaca their summer residence. Foreign princes, archdukes, and other nobles have been attracted to this place because of its flowers, sun, fruits, fresh-water springs, Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico set up a country residence in the city. Philanthropist Barbara Hutton, who held several royal titles through marriage, had a home in the city, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, lived in exile in the city following the Iranian Revolution. Although a native of the U. S. Cuernavaca always has been a place for people from Mexico City to escape the city. In the twentieth century, the climate and flora began to attract foreigners as well. Population increase in urban area began in 1940, but the metro area was not created, nor recognizedCuernavaca
7. Veracruz (city) – Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located along the coast in the part of the state,90 km southeast of the state capital Xalapa along Federal Highway 140. It is the states most populous city, with a population that is greater than the municipalitys population, at the 2010 census, the city had 554,830 inhabitants,428,323 in Veracruz Municipality and 126,507 in Boca del Río Municipality. Developed during Spanish colonization, Veracruz has been Mexico’s oldest, largest and it was the second Spanish settlement on the mainland of the Americas but the first to receive a coat-of-arms. During the colonial period, this city had the largest mercantile class and was at times wealthier than the capital of Mexico City and its wealth attracted the raids of 17th-century pirates, against which fortifications such as Fort San Juan de Ulúa were built. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Veracruz was invaded on different occasions by France and it has become the principal port for most of Mexico’s imports and exports, especially for the automotive industry. Veracruz has a blend of cultures, mostly indigenous, ethnic Spanish, the influence of these three is best seen in the food and music of the area, which has strong Spanish, Caribbean and African influences. The name Veracruz, derives from the Latin Vera Crux, having established the settlement of Villa Rica on Good Friday 1519, Cortés dedicated the place to the True Cross as an offering. The Spanish captain Juan de Grijalva, along with Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the Spanish gave it that name because they landed on the Christian feast of John the Baptist, and in honor of the captain. De Ulúa is derived from the name for the Aztecs. According to tradition, when the Spanish arrived, they found two men who had been sacrificed. When they asked the locals what had happened, they said the Aztecs had ordered the sacrifice, the word for Aztec evolved into Ulúa. Because the first expedition detected the presence of gold in the region, Cortés and his men landed at the shore opposite the island where Grijalva had moored, which has the pre-Hispanic name of Chalchihuecan. Cortés, Francisco de Montejo and Alonso Hernández Puertocarrero founded the settlement, the name Villa Rica referred to the gold that was found here and Vera cruz was added because the Cortés expedition landed on Good Friday, a Christian holy day. When Cortés and his soldiers elected a Justicia Mayor and a Capitán General, the city was the first on mainland America to receive a European coat of arms, which was authorized by Carlos V in Valladolid, Spain on 4 July 1523. The original settlement was moved to what is now known as Antigua and this separated the city from the port, as ships could not enter the shallow river. Ships continued to dock at San Juan de Ulúa, with boats being used to ferry goods on. When large-scale smuggling of goods took place to avoid customs officials, docks and an observation tower were constructed on the island to ensure that goods went through customs officialsVeracruz (city) – Fort San Juan de Ulúa, taken from the malecón (boardwalk)
8. Palace of Iturbide – The Palace of Iturbide is a large palatial residence located in the historic center of Mexico City at Madero Street #17. It was built by the Count of San Mateo Valparaíso as a gift for his daughter. It gained the name “Palace of Iturbide” because Agustín de Iturbide lived there, today, the restored building houses the Fomento Cultural Banamex, it has been renamed the Palacio de Cultura Banamex. This residence was constructed by Miguel de Berrio y Saldívar, Count of San Mateo Valparaíso, Berrio y Saldívar’s fortune was based in mining and livestock. He also served as the mayor of Mexico City and it was built as a replica of the royal palace of Palermo. From this palace’s balcony, Iturbide accepted the offer to be Mexico’s first emperor after independence from Spain, during his reign, he lived here, using the house as the royal palace. After the Conquest, the site had been part of land granted by the Spanish Crown to Gonzalo Juárez de Córdoba, until the 17th century, the site was a convent for the Sisters of Saint Brigit, until they sold the land to Berrio y Saldívar. This Mexican Baroque building was designed and begun by Francisco Antonio Guerrero y Torres, the building has three floors and a mezzanine, showing Italian influence in its Baroque design. Its façade of tezontle and cantera stone is flanked by two fortified towers at the ends of the façade and it has a central gallery or loggia, which is now closed to the public. The façade is decorated with carved stone that features organic and geometric motifs such as flowers, small double-tailed mermaids, inside, the porch has a vaulted roof. A large archway leads to the courtyard decorated with geometric figures, the courtyard is surrounded by eighteen arches supported by Tuscan columns. Early in the 19th century, the building housed the College of Mining and it was remodeled in 1855 for use as a hotel, serving that function for more than 100 years. In 1965, the building was purchased and restored by the National Bank of Mexico, in 1972, it became the home of the Banamex Cultural Foundation. The foundation spent two years from 2002 to 2004 doing significant restoration work on the building and it reopened the structure for use as the “Palacio de Cultura Banamex. ”It hosts numerous temporary art exhibitions, as well as art workshops for adults and childrenPalace of Iturbide – Facade of Palace of Iturbide