Set Current Location
The 27 halls comprising this 18th Century colonial palace offer an insight into the urban development of the city of Mexico through maps, paintings and photographs on exhibit. The room on the upper level displays murals painted by the Mexican painter Joaquín Claussel. Among the many highlights found here is a large wooden door of intricate carved detail, including the coat of arms belonging to the Counts of Santiago de Calimaya. A presumably pre-Hispanic serpent's head, fashioned in a large stone, juts out from the building towards the corner of República del Salvador.
Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico, built this government palace on the site of Moctezuma's residence. The Palacio Nacional that we see today dates back to 1693, although a floor was added in the 1920s. Inside there is a wonderful collection of murals by Diego Rivera. The most famous one is the "Epic of the Mexican People" where two thousand years of history are condensed into the space of an enormous wall. The palace also houses a small museum dedicated to Benito Juárez and the Mexican Congress.
The Plaza de la Constitución is the main square of Mexico's Federal District and the epicenter for events, festivals and protests. The plaza is more commonly known as the Zócalo. At one time destined as a monument to independence—planned but never built—the word has become synonymous with main plazas throughout Mexico. The Spaniards erected their main institutions, between the 16th and 18th Centuries, around the plaza, built on the former ceremonial site of Tenochtitlán. Daily flag ceremonies take place at 6a and 6p.
This theatre was built upon the site of the majestic Mayorazgo de Villanueva Palace in 1912. The theatre is just a few blocks away from the Teatro Lírico. The neo-classical façade matches the appearance of its neighbor, the old Cámara de Diputados or House of Representatives. However, the interior is more aptly described as Art Noveau, in harmony with the belle époque of the early twentieth century in Mexico. In 1917, the successful Tabasco artist Esperanza Iris bought the venue. On her death, it passed into the hands of the city's municipal authorities.
One of the greatest losses of Mexico City's cultural inheritance is related to the convent of San Francisco. The expansion of the city center, along with the Latin-American Tower construction project, had the dire effect of leaving only a small part of the cloister and church intact. The House of Beasts, or rather, Emperor Montezuma's zoological collection, originally occupied this land. After the Spanish conquest, Hernán Cortes gave it to the Franciscans (the first order to establish itself in what was then called New Spain), who built a 32,490 square meter convent, the biggest in America. Part of the installation included the school of Artes y Oficios (Skills and Trades) of San Jose de los Naturales, which aimed to educate indigenous children.
In 1904 the construction of the Palace of Fine Arts began on the remains of the Santa Isabel convent. Porfirio Diaz had wanted to inaugurate it in 1911, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. However, the project, under the guidance of Italian architect Adamo Boari, suffered serious setbacks due to the instability of the ground that had been chosen for the building. Time passed, the revolution broke out, and in the end the palace was not completed until 1934, with architect Federico Mariscal heading the project. It is not strange, therefore, that the marble facade, built in a style between Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau, is contrasted by an interior that looks much more Art Deco in appearance. Art connoisseurs will certainly appreciate the museum's murals by Rivera, Siqueiros, Orozco, Tamayo and Montenegro, along with the glass Tiffany curtain, composed of almost a million individual pieces, on which Doctor Atl (a modern Mexican landscape painter) depicted the volcanoes of Mexico.
A pleasant respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, this charming green park has sparkling fountains, shady trees and interesting sculptures such as 'Malgre Tout' and 'Despoire', by Jesús Contreras. The park also has a monument dedicated to Beethoven in commemoration of the centenary of the Ninth Symphony, which was donated by the German community. This recreation space for the local populace was created in 1592 and few city parks guard such hidden history in its landscape, such as being the former site of the Inquisition's burning of heretics. A typical Mexican Sunday can be enjoyed at the Alameda Central, which often has live music, along with markets and food stalls.
Known for being home to various film stars in the Golden Age of cinema in the 1940s, this charming neighborhood features art deco and modern architecture, lush parks and hip cafes, restaurants and boutiques. This urbanized and trendy area of the city is popular amongst musicians, young professionals and families. A weekend must visit.
Situated at the main entrance to the Bosque de Chapultepec, this monument was designed as a semicircle of six columns, each representing the brave young cadets who died during the invasion of U.S. troops in 1847. The youthful cadets were stationed at the Castillo de Chapultepec, which served at that time as the national military academy and died in one of the most tragic and emotional moments in Mexican history.
The Museum of Modern Art is distributed throughout two buildings, providing two entrances. One entrance is accessed off Reforma and the other is found near the Monumento a los Niños Héroes. A sense of calm imbues the well-lit spacious interior. The main hall exhibits a retrospective of the Mexican school of painting, where highlights include works by Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Francisco Toledo and Rufino Tamayo. There is a pleasant cafe, along with a bookshop and library. On weekdays, children under ten, students, teachers and senior citizens are admitted free. Sunday is free of charge.
Castillo de Chapultepec was built between 1780 and 1790, constructed on top of an Aztec fortress with panoramic views of the city. The gardens surrounding the palace were designed by Empress Carlota during the French occupation and offer a beautiful stroll. It once served as the Colegio Militar (Military Academy) and was also the official presidential residence until 1939, when President Cárdenas converted the palace into the Museo Nacional de Historia. Restoration efforts have significantly enhanced the construction as well as the design of the interiors.
Opened in 1968, Museo Nacional de Antropología is one of the best of its kind. A gigantic statue of the water god Tláloc, weighing approximately 200 tons, is poised near the entrance. Archaeological finds are exhibited throughout 11 halls depicting the different American cultures that flourished in this region of Mesoamerica. Ranging from the prehistoric until the Mexicas period, the civilizations highlighted include the Golfo, Teotihuacan, Maya and Tolteca. The cafeteria is worthwhile, and musicians often give performances here using replicas of prehistoric instruments.