The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City (Spanish: Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María) is the oldest and largest cathedral in the Americas and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la Constitución in downtown Mexico City. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán, eventually replacing it entirely. Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega planned the construction, drawing inspiration from Gothic cathedrals in Spain.
The Zócalo is the main plaza or square in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City. The plaza used to be known simply as the "Main Square" or "Arms Square," and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square). This name does not come from any of the Mexican constitutions that have governed the country but rather from the Cádiz Constitution which was signed in Spain in 1812. However, it is almost always called the Zócalo today. Plans were made to erect a column as a monument to Independence, but only the base, or zócalo, was ever built.The plinth was destroyed long ago but the name has lived on. Many other Mexican towns and cities, such as Oaxaca and Guadalajara, have adopted the word zócalo to refer to their main plazas.
It has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times, having been the site of Mexica ceremonies, the swearing in of viceroys, royal proclamations, military parades, Independence ceremonies and modern religious events such as the festivals of Holy Week and Corpus Christi. It has received foreign heads of state and is the main venue for both national celebration and national protest.