The term “Zócalo” originally refers to a base or plinth. In Mexico, it specifically came to denote the main plaza or town square of a city. The word gained widespread use as the name for the main square in Mexico City, officially known as Plaza de la Constitución, when plans for a monument to commemorate the centennial of the Mexican War of Independence were never completed, leaving only the base, or “zócalo.”
Over time, the term has been generalized to refer to the main public squares of various towns and cities throughout Mexico. These zócalos are typically central gathering places that hold historical and cultural significance, often surrounded by important governmental and religious buildings.