Pre-departure: Students will attend classes the week before departure for 3 hours Monday-Friday. Class meetings for this week will introduce students to the study of Pre-Colombian and Spanish Colonial art, providing the background for field trips and lectures in Mexico. Students will also be given an introduction an orientation to travel to and around Mexico City prior to their departure.
Week 1: The first week in Mexico City will begin with a second orientation to the culture and customs of Mexico, followed by a half-day tour of the city by bus and a group welcome dinner. Day 2 will include trips to the Templo Mayor, Metropolitan Cathedral, and Palacio Nacional, all situated around the Zócalo, the center of New Spain’s colonial powers and the heart of the city. Day 3 features a visit to the pre-Hispanic ruins of Teotihuacan, capital of Mexico’s first great state, with a stop over in Acolman to visit the 16th century (Agustinian convent and Church) Augustinian Church of San Agustín, built with the stones taken from a Pre-Colombian temple. Day 4 will be spent at the expansive Chapultepec Park, visiting the various museums, including the National Museum of Anthropology, the Castle, and the National History Museum. Day 5 will feature trips to the 17th century Baroque Church of Santa Teresa la Antigua, now home to the Santa Teresa la Antigua Art Center, and the Franz Mayer Museum, which houses one of the best Spanish Colonial collections in the world. On the last day of this week students will travel to the ruins of Xochicalco to see the Pre-Colombian remains of this once great center. Sunday and Monday will be free days during which students may choose to participate in optional activities such as a trip to the Palace of Fine Arts to see the national ballet folklórico.
Week 2: This week will begin with a trip to the ruins of Tula, the capital of the Toltec state. Day 2 will be spent exploring the Spanish Colonial treasures of the Pinacoteca Virreinal de San Diego, the Hospital de la Concepción, and the National Museum of Art. On the third day of this week we travel 2 hours to the colonial city of Puebla where we will finish out the week. After our arrival we will visit the Pre-Colombian and Spanish colonial collections in the Amparo Museum, the colonial Puebla Cathedral, and the Baroque Rosario Chapel located in the Church of Santo Domingo, a masterpiece of white onyx and gilt stucco. That evening students will be able to try some of Puebla’s unique specialty dishes at a group dinner. Day 4 of this week will be spent in the nearby colonial city of Huejotzingo, where students will visit the mission of San Miguel Arcángel, one of the first Franciscan establishments of the Americas and a perfect example of early monastic architecture. On Day 5 we will visit the sacred pilgrimage center of Cholula, one of the most important Pre-Colombian sites in central Mexico, where we will visit the pre-Hispanic pyramid and archaeological museum as well as the colonial Convent of San Gabriel and the Church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, which sit atop the Pre-Colombian ruins. Sunday of this week will be a free day to explore the city of Puebla, particularly its artisan and antiques markets.
Week 3: The third week will begin with out journey back to Mexico City on Monday morning. The rest of the day may be used for relaxation or exploration of the city’s many attractions. On Tuesday we will visit the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is on display. Later that day we will visit the Plaza of the Three Cultures, where buildings representing Mexico’s three epochs- Pre-Colombian, Spanish Colonial, and Post-Independence- stand side by side, and the Colegio de la Santa Cruz de Tlaltelolco, the first European school in the Americas. The next day we will travel to the magical city of Malinalco to see the Aztec temple and the colonial Convent of San Salvador. On Thursday we will visit the Anahuacalli Museum, designed by Diego Rivera to house his own collection of Pre-Colombian art, and then visit the canals of Xochmilco where we will explore the Pre-Colombian chinampas by boat. Friday will be spent visiting the colonial sites of Tepotzotlán, including the Church of San Francisco Xavier and the National Museum of the Spanish Viceroyalty. On Saturday we travel to the colonial city of Cuernavaca to view the Palace of Hernán Cortés, the oldest colonial-era civil structure in Mexico and home to a famous mural by Diego Rivera. On our way back to Mexico City we will visit the Aztec ruins of Teopanzolco. Our final day will be spent visiting the houses of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in the popular adjoining neighborhoods of Coyoacán and San Ángel. That evening we will say farewell with a final group dinner.
Post-travel: Students will have one final meeting (3 hours) in the week following our return to Denver which will be used for final presentations and overview of the content covered by both courses.