The colonial cities of Mexico offer visitors a deep look into Mexico's history, culture and struggle for independence. Some of these cities date to the 14th century, all have prominent cathedrals or churches, distinctive plazas and, of course, each displays an abundance of phenomenal architecture. Some of these cities played important roles in Mexico's struggle for independence. We have tried to place the focus on some of the lesser known cities and those cities whose cultural treasures can be easily seen without a lot of transportation hassles. Most of the major attractions found in the cities listed below can be thoroughly enjoyed by way of walking tours or some type of organized city tours. These are cities that are all well known in Mexico and receive large numbers of national tourists and some are beginning to be discovered by international tourists.
One thing that stands out in all of the colonial cities in Mexico is the ever important central plaza, town square or zocalo. The plazas and the areas immediately surrounding them always played a major role in the every day life of theses cities. Government administration buildings were usually built on the perimeter or close by and these buildings also housed the soldiers that guarded the city. The weekly market was usually held in the plaza and important speeches were given from balconies of the government buildings while the citizens gathered in the plaza below. The plaza was usually the location of the municipal fountain that provided the towns water supply. The fountains of today tend to provide mostly aesthetics and ambience.
In modern times the plazas still serve a practical purpose, that of a gathering place or social center where locals and visitors can mingle in a pleasant setting. Many plazas have elaborate kiosks that serve as a stage for all kinds of entertainment which is usually presented on a regular basis and many have decorative fountains.