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The Palace of Iturbide was presented by the Count of San Mateo Valparaíso to his daughter as a wedding token. The magnificent 18 arches banked by Tuscan columns in the courtyard are not to be missed. Over the years the building was used for several purposes including a convent, college and hotel. After its reconstruction in 2004, it now exhibits art and also conducts workshops to promote art to adults and children.
Before the Hotel de Mexico was built in the 1980s, this was the city's tallest building. Inaugurated in 1950, it has 3000 public observation decks. Based on a design by Augusto H. Alvarez, it stands 181.33 meters high and is unique for its structure and foundations. Given the difficult terrain of seismic activity in the Valley of Mexico, it was proven sturdy by having withstood the violent earthquakes of 1957 and 1985. The first 37 floors are office space and there are restaurants, bars and other recreational activities also available. Free admission.
Between 1888 and 1889, artist Jesús F. Contreras, created a small garden and sculpted three bronze statues of kings of the Aztec Triple Alliance in the pre-Columbian era. The garden depicts the Triple Alliance, a political and military confederation of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan (Tacuba). The beautifully sculpted statues are of Itzcoatl, Nezahualcoyotl and Totoquihuatzi who depict power of politics and military of that period.
The architect who designed what would be the first engineering school in the Americas was Manuel Tolsá, Spanish sculptor and adherent of the so-called Neo-Classical Mexican arts movement. This extraordinary palace of learning, part boarding school and part Mines Tribunal (regulatory body for the country's mining industry), was constructed between 1797 and 1813. Concurrent with Neo-Classical ideals, it has a solid and robust aspect with a majestic main patio, austere secondary patios and a stairway said to be the most beautiful in the country. Today, the building houses the Engineering School of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, to which academic entity it also belongs. It is often used for cultural activities such as the book fair held each spring.
The Palacio de Correos de Mexico is the main post office of Mexico City and has been established in early 20th century. The building has a mix of architectural styles, however, the most prominent ones include the Spanish Renaissance Revival and Plateresque styles. The building has undergone restorations in the past as it was severely damaged by an earthquake. Today, the building stands in its original form and also houses the Naval History Museum on its fourth story.
Built between 1902 and 1907 by the Italian architect of the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum), Adamo Boari, the Post Office has a stone facade carved with renaissance motifs. The main entrance faces diagonally towards the corner, covered by a wrought iron awning sustained by thick chains, over which two balconies jut out. The interior has an interesting spatial distribution and decor combining wrought iron and Carrara marble used throughout the stairways, counter, tables and post boxes. In the upper levels of the building, there is a museum where the historical development of the Mexican postal service is shown through philately.
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.
On the third floor of the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) is this famous mural by Diego Rivera. The original was commissioned by the Rockefeller Center in New York. When this affluent family realized that the mural contained an anti-capitalist message, they destroyed it. Fortunately, Rivera was able to produce a copy of the very same mural for the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1934. The new version is an even more dramatic portrayal of the conflict between capitalism and socialism. To see all the murals in the Fine Arts Museum, you have to pay, except on Sunday when entrance is free.