Mexico City

Series: Cities of the Imagination (No. 3)

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Mexico City is a place of superlatives. The oldest city in the Americas, it is now the world's largest urban area. Formerly the centre of the Aztec and Spanish empires, this vast modern metropolis is home to over fifteen million people, mirroring Mexico's mixed cultural identity. Rapid growth and industrial expansion have created dramatic environmental problems, turning Mexico City into what has been called the first 'post-apocalypse' city. Polluted and congested, it is slowly sinking into the lake on which the Spanish founded their symbol of conquest. Nick Caistor explores this city of extremes, revealing its turbulent past and chaotic present through its urban landscape. Looking at Aztec ruins, baroque monuments and modernistic complexes, he traces the history of a volatile and vibrant city, where conquest, revolution and natural disaster have left their marks. THE CITY OF ARTISTS, WRITERS AND REVOLUTIONARIES: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes, Zapata, Villa and Trotsky. THE CITY OF INDIGENOUS MEXICO: the living legacy of the Aztecs' Tenochtitlan; museums, festivals and markets; modern indigenous culture. THE CITY OF MODERNITY: skyscrapers, highways and flyovers; the stock exchange and industrial sprawl; where the Third World meets the First.