National Palace (Mexico)

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National Palace
Palacio Nacional
Palacio Nacional, Mexico D.F., Mexico, 2013-10-16, DD 119.JPG
The National Palace in Mexico City
Mexico City Centro Historico.png
Red pog.svg
Location within the Historic Center of Mexico City
General information
Location Mexico City, Mexico
Coordinates 19°25′57″N99°7′52″W / 19.43250°N 99.13111°W / 19.43250; -99.13111 Coordinates: 19°25′57″N99°7′52″W / 19.43250°N 99.13111°W / 19.43250; -99.13111

The National Palace (Spanish : Palacio Nacional) is the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It is located on Mexico City's main square, the Plaza de la Constitución ( El Zócalo ). This site has been a palace for the ruling class of Mexico since the Aztec empire, and much of the current palace's building materials are from the original one that belonged to Moctezuma II.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Federalism political concept

Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government with regional governments in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.

Mexico City Capital in Mexico

Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. It is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The city has 16 boroughs.


Current complex

Used and classified as a Government Building, the National Palace, with its red tezontle facade, [1] fills the entire east side of the Zócalo, [2] measuring over 200 meters long. [3] It is home to some of the offices of both the Federal Treasury and the National Archives. [2]

Palace grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state

A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop.

Tezontle is a porous, highly oxidized, volcanic rock used extensively in construction in Mexico. It is usually reddish in color due to iron oxide. Tezontle is a well-cemented, agglomeritic and scoriaceous rock.

The Archivo General de la Nación is charged by the Mexican state to "be the governing body of the national archives and the central consultative entity of the Federal Executive." The writer Edmundo O'Gorman was its general director from 1938 until 1952. It is considered the most important among its class in the Americas and one of the most important in the entire world.


The facade is bordered on the north and south by two towers and includes three main doorways, each of which lead to a different part of the building. [1] The southern door leads to the Patio of Honor and presidential offices (no public access). [2] The northern door is known as the Mariana Door, named in honor of Mariano Arista who had it constructed in 1850. The area next to this door used to be the old Court Prison, with courtrooms and torture chambers. It is now occupied by the Finance Ministry. It contains the Treasury Room, constructed by architects Manuel Ortiz Monasterio and Vicente Mendiola. The iron and bronze door is the work of Augusto Petriccioli. [1]

Mariano Arista President of Mexico (1851–1853)

José Mariano Martín Buenaventura Ignacio Nepomuceno García de Arista Nuez was a noted veteran of many of Mexico's nineteenth-century wars. He served as president of Mexico from 15 January 1851 to 6 January 1853.

Palacio Nacional at night Palacio nacional, cuidad de mexico.jpg
Palacio Nacional at night

Above the central doorway, facing the Zócalo, is the main balcony where just before 11pm on September 15, the president of Mexico gives the Grito de Dolores, in a ceremony to commemorate Mexican Independence. Part of this ceremony includes ringing the bell that hangs above the balcony. This bell is the original one that Father Miguel Hidalgo rang to call for rebellion against Spain. It originally hung in the church of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, but was relocated here. In the niche containing the bell, there is the Mexican coat of arms. On each side there is an Aztec eagle knight and his Spanish counterpart. These were sculpted by Manuel Centurion and symbolize the synthesis of Mexican culture and Spanish culture. [1]

Mexican War of Independence armed conflict which ended the rule of Spain in the territory of New Spain

The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict, and the culmination of a political and social process which ended the rule of Spain in 1821 in the territory of New Spain. The war had its antecedent in Napoleon's French invasion of Spain in 1808; it extended from the Cry of Dolores by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 16, 1810, to the entrance of the Army of the Three Guarantees led by Agustín de Iturbide to Mexico City on September 27, 1821. September 16 is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day.

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla 18th and 19th-century Mexican Roman Catholic priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence

Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Francisco Ignacio Hidalgo-Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor, more commonly known as Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or simply Miguel Hidalgo (Spanish pronunciation: [miˈɣel iˈðalɣo], was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence.

Dolores Hidalgo Municipality in Guanajuato, Mexico

Dolores Hidalgo (in full, Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional is the name of a city and the surrounding municipality in the north-central part of the Mexican state of Guanajuato.

Balcony where the president of Mexico gives the annual Grito de Dolores on Independence Day and the bell from the church in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato Palacio Nacional Ciudad de Mexico City.jpg
Balcony where the president of Mexico gives the annual Grito de Dolores on Independence Day and the bell from the church in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

The central door leads to the main patio which is surrounded by Baroque arches. Only the balustrade of this area has been remodeled, conserving the murals by Diego Rivera that adorn the main stairwell and the walls of the second floor. In the stairwell is a mural depicting the history of Mexico from 1521 to 1930, [1] and covers an area of 450 m2 (4800 ft2). [3] These murals were painted between 1929 and 1935, jointly titled "The Epic of the Mexican People". [1] The work is divided like a triptych with each being somewhat autonomous. The right-hand wall contains murals depicting pre-Hispanic Mexico and centers around the life of the Aztec god Quetzalcóatl. Quetzalcóatl appears in the mural as a star, a god, and a human being. Created by serpents, he sails through space as a star that accompanies the sun at night. Quetzalcóatl then assumes a human body to teach the Aztec people as their king and patriarch. Last, when he sacrifices his blood to give life to men, he returns to the sky having completed his earthly cycle. Once he leaves the earth, Quetzalcóatl assumes the shape the morning star, called Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli. The cycle that he undergoes signifies the continuous cycle of life. Rivera's creation of a Mexican identity helps to continue the reform that began with the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Before this time, any individualism from the Indians was discouraged as well as any allusion toward Aztec origins. The mural aims to dismiss any idea of inferiority. [4]

Baroque architecture building style of the Baroque era

Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late 16th-century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church. It was characterized by new explorations of form, light and shadow, and dramatic intensity. Common features of Baroque architecture included gigantism of proportions; a large open central space where everyone could see the altar; twisting columns, theatrical effects, including light coming from a cupola above; dramatic interior effects created with bronze and gilding; clusters of sculpted angels and other figures high overhead; and an extensive use of trompe-l'oeil, also called "quadratura," with painted architectural details and figures on the walls and ceiling, to increase the dramatic and theatrical effect.

Mural piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a large permanent surface

A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

Diego Rivera Mexican painter and muralist

Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, known as Diego Rivera was a prominent Mexican painter. His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican mural movement in Mexican art. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in, among other places, Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Rivera had a volatile marriage with fellow Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

In the middle and largest panel, the Conquest is depicted with its ugliness, such as rape and torture, as well as priests defending the rights of the indigenous people. The battle for independence occupies the uppermost part of this panel in the arch. The American and French invasions are represented below this, as well as the Reform period and the Revolution. The left-hand panel is dedicated to early and mid-20th century, criticizing the status quo and depicting a Marxist kind of utopia, featuring the persons of Plutarco Elías Calles, John D. Rockefeller, Harry Sinclair, William Durant, J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Mellon as well as Karl Marx. This part of the mural also includes Frida Kahlo, Diego's wife. [1] This mural reflects Diego's own personal views about Mexico's history and the indigenous people of the country in particular. [3]

Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire conflict

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, or the Spanish–Mexica War (1519–21), was the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish Empire within the context of the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquerors, their indigenous allies and the defeated Aztecs. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean.

Mexican–American War Armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the Republic of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

La Reforma or the Liberal Reform was initiated in Mexico following the ousting of centralist president Antonio López de Santa Anna by a group of liberals under the 1854 Plan de Ayutla. From the liberals' narrow objective to remove a dictator and take power, they expanded their aims to a comprehensive program to remake Mexico governed by liberal principles as embodied by a series of Reform laws and then the Constitution of 1857. The major goals of this movement were to undermine the power of the Catholic Church in Mexico, separate church and state, reduce the power of the Mexican military, and integrate Mexico's large indigenous population as citizens of Mexico and not a protected class. Liberals envisioned secular education as a means to create a Mexican citizenry. The liberals' strategy was to sharply limit the traditional institutional privileges (fueros) of the Catholic Church and the army. The law prohibiting the ownership of land by corporations targeted the holdings of the Catholic Church and indigenous communities - confiscating Church land. Indigenous community lands were held by the community as a whole, not as individual parcels. Liberals sought to create a class of yeoman farmers that held land individually. No class of individualistic peasants developed with the Liberal program emerged, but many merchants acquired land. Many existing landowners expanded their holdings at the expense of peasants, and some upwardly mobile ranch owners, often mestizos, acquired land previously held by communities. Upon the promulgation of the liberal Constitution of 1857, conservatives refused to swear allegiance to it and, instead, formed a conservative government. The result was a civil war known as the Reform War or Three Years' War, waged between conservatives and liberals for three years, ending with the defeat of the conservatives on the battlefield. Victorious liberal president Benito Juárez could not implement the envisioned reforms due to a new political threat. Conservatives had sought another route to regaining power, resulting in their active collaboration with Napoleon III's plans to turn the Mexican Empire into the main American ally of the French empire. Mexican conservatives offered the crown of Mexico to Habsburg archduke Maximilian. The French invasion and republican resistance to the French Intervention in Mexico lasted from 1862-67. With the defeat of the conservatives and the execution of Maximilian, Juárez again took up his duties as president. In this period from 1867 to 1876, often called the "Restored Republic" liberals had no credible opposition to their implementation of the laws of the Reform embodied in the 1857 Constitution.

Dolores bell Campana de Dolores en el nicho de Palacio Nacional.JPG
Dolores bell
Center balcony of the National Palace Balcon central de Palacio Nacional.JPG
Center balcony of the National Palace

Diego also painted 11 panels on the middle floor, such as the "Tianguis of Tlatelolco" (tianguis means "market"), and the "Arrival of Hernán Cortés in Veracruz". These are part of a series depicting the pre-Hispanic era. Peoples such as the Tarascos of Michoacán, the Zapotecs and Mixtecs of Oaxaca and the Huastecs of Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz. [1] However, this series was not finished. [2]

On the upper floor is what once was the Theatre Room of the viceroys, which became the Chamber of Deputies from 1829 to August 22, 1872, when the room was accidentally destroyed by fire. [1] In this parliamentary chamber the Reform Constitution of 1857 was written. This and the Constitution of 1917 are on display. [3]

The Palace has fourteen courtyards but only a few of these, such as the Grand Courtyard beyond the central portal, are open to the public. The National Palace also houses the main State Archives, with many historical documents, and the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, one of the largest and most important libraries in the country. [3]

On north annex of the building is the Treasury Room and the Benito Juárez Museum. Between the two is the Empress Stairway, built by brothers Juan and Ramón Agea. When faced with claims that their work was unstable and would collapse, they had a full battalion charge down them while they stood underneath. The Treasury Room is no longer in use. Leading to the Museum part of the complex, which used to be the Finance Ministry, is a statue of Benito Juárez by Miguel Noreña. This work was criticized at the time because it was felt that such an honored person should not be depicted sitting on his coattails, as it was contrary to social etiquette at the time. In the Finance Ministry patio is the Benito Juárez Room, where this president lived during the end of his term and where he died on July 18, 1872. The bedroom, living room and study have been preserved complete with a number of objects belonging to the president. [1]

History of the building

Moctezuma's "New Houses"

The site and much of the building material of the current building is of what were called Moctezuma II's "New Houses". This palace functioned as the Aztec tlatoani's residence and performed a number of official functions as well. The building was divided into two sections and decorated with marble and painted stucco. The main façade contained the shield of the monarchy, an eagle with a snake in its claws. It has three patios surrounded by porticos, indoor sanitary facilities, fountains and gardens. The bedrooms had tapestries of cotton, feathers and rabbit fur painted in bright colors. The floors were of polished stucco and covered in animal furs and finely-woven mats. There were rooms for servants, administrative staff, and military guards, along with kitchens, pantries and storage rooms. The richness of the palace surprised Cortés, which he relayed in letters to Charles I of Spain. [5]

The palace also held a chamber reserved for the "tlacxitlan" where a group of elders, presided over by the emperor himself, would settle disputes among the citizenry. After the Conquest, these New Houses were not completely leveled to the ground but were sufficiently destroyed as to make them uninhabitable. [5]

Cortés' palace

Palacio Nacional garden NationalPalace aSecondYartPerspective-Mexico City-Mexico.jpg
Palacio Nacional garden

The land and the buildings on it were claimed by Hernán Cortés, who had architects Rodrigo de Pontocillos and Juan Rodríguez rebuild the palace while Cortés lived in the "Old Houses" (now the Nacional Monte de Piedad building) across the plaza from 1521 to 1530. [1] [2]

Cortés's palace was a massive fortress with embrasures for cannon at the corners and the mezzanine had crenels for musketeers. The façade had only two doors with arches (medio punto). Inside there were two patios, with a third being built after 1554 and a fourth sometime after that. Its garden was extensive, occupying much of the south and southwest portions of the property up to what is now Correo Mayor Street. The palace has living quarters, offices, two audience rooms, and a tower for gunpowder. A secondary building behind the main one has nineteen windows spanning its façade. It also had a parapet, above which was a clock and a bell. [5] The main courtyard was built large enough so he could entertain visitors with New Spain's first recorded bullfights. [1] [2]

The Spanish crown bought the palace from the Cortés family in 1562 to house the Viceregal Palace. It remained so until Mexican Independence in the 1820s. [1] [2]

Viceregal palace

The Royal Chapel Royal Chapel, Mexico City.jpg
The Royal Chapel

In 1562, the Spanish Crown bought the palace and land from Martin Cortés, son of Hernan Cortés, retaining much of the Cortés palace features. [5] Due to tensions between the viceroy and the archbishop, the palace was set on fire by supporters of the archbishop in 1624. On 8 June 1692, the palace was almost completely destroyed. Viceroy Gaspar de Sandoval then had Friar Diego Valverde reconstruct the palace. [5] Historian Manuel Rivera Cambas states that after reconstruction, the palace lost its fortress-like appearance, [1] and took on a Baroque appearance. Its crenels were converted into windows with ironwork grilles. framed in stonework. Inscriptions were etched above these windows and coats-of-arms were places to the sides. A smaller, third door was added on the north side of the building. On the inner, secondary building, tall windows with small ironwork balconies were installed. The south door led to what was named the "Patio of Honor"; in this section were the viceroy's quarters. The mezzanine held the offices of the Secretary and the Archives of the Viceroyalty. The lower part has servants' and halberdiers' quarters as well as storage bins for mercury. This Patio of Honor opened in back toward a garden for the use of the viceroy and his court. This later became the Royal Botanical Garden in the 18th century. [5]

The main patio in the central part of the building had arches around it supported by tall, thick Baroque columns. Through this patio was access to the Audience Hall, the tax collection room, the consulate, the office of mining regulation, the General Treasury, the Royal Chapel and the Throne Room. [5]

The north door led to a small patio in which was located the jail and the guards' quarters. The palace essentially remained unchanged until after independence in the 1830s. [5]

After independence

The palace at night Palacio Nacional Ciudad de Mexico DF.jpg
The palace at night
Parlamenatario Antiguo recinto Parlamentario.JPG

Many of Mexico's leaders after independence made changes to the Viceroy Palace, including renaming it the "National Palace". Mexico's first ministries were installed such as the Ministry of Hacienda (internal revenue), Ministry of War, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Internal and External Relations, as well as the Supreme Court. During an uprising led by Valentín Gómez Farías against then-president Anastasio Bustamante, the southwest balustrade was seriously damaged during a siege lasting twelve days. In 1845, the old Chambers of Deputies was constructed, with the Senate on the upper floor of the south wing. In 1850, Mariano Arista had the old north prison door cemented shut and constructed the current northern door. He also converted the north wing into barracks of the "Batallón de Guardia de Supremos Poderes" (Battalion of Guards for the Supreme Powers). In 1864, Maximilian of Habsburg had three flagpoles installed in front of the three main doors. By the central door was the Mexican flag; at the north door was the flag of Austria and at the south door was the flag of France. He also had Lorenzo de la Hidalga construct the grand marble staircase that is in the Patio of Honor in the southern wing, as well as having the public rooms roofed and furnished with paintings, candelabras, and chamber pots from Hollenbach, Austria and Sirres, France. In opposition, Benito Juárez chose to have his quarters in the north end of the Palace, rather than in the traditional southern end. [5]

In 1877, the Secretaría de Hacienda y Credito Público (Secretary of Internal Revenue and Public Credit), José Ives Limantour, as part of his overhaul of the department, moved their offices to the north wing, finishing in 1902. He chose the largest room in the wing for the Office of Seals. In 1896, the bell that Father Hidalgo rung at the parish of Dolores, Guanajuato was moved here. [5]

Part of Diego Rivera's mural depicting Mexico's history in the main stairwell RiveraMuralNationalPalace.JPG
Part of Diego Rivera's mural depicting Mexico's history in the main stairwell
Left panel of Rivera's History of Mexico mural in the main stairwell History of Mexico mural by Diego Rivera (Mexico City).jpg
Left panel of Rivera's History of Mexico mural in the main stairwell

A number of changes were made during the rule of Porfirio Díaz. The English-made clock on the parapet was moved to the tower of the Church of Santo Domingo. The façade was cemented over and etched to look like stone block. Cloth awnings were placed on the windows of the upper floors. On pedestals near the main door, statues of female forms were placed. Inside, the ambassador's room, the dining room, the kitchens, the lounge, the garages and the stables were all refurnished. This was done at a time when French style was popular in Mexico. [5]

Between 1926 and 1929, the third floor was added during the term of President Plutarco Elías Calles by Alberto J. Pani, an engineer and then finance minister and designed by Augusto Petriccioli. [1] [3] Merlons were placed on the towers and parapet and decorative caps were placed on all three doors. The Dolores Bell was placed in a niche flanked by atlantes above the balcony above the central door. The façade was covered with red tezontle stone and installed stone frames on the doors, windows, cornices, and parapets. In the interior, a grand staircase of marble was installed in the central patio (where Diego Rivera would later paint The History of Mexico mural) and constructed stairs to the internal revenue department and the offices of the General Treasury in the north wing. The old Chamber of Deputies, abandoned after a fire in 1872, was reconstructed and re-inaugurated as a museum to the centennial. A statue of Benito Juárez was placed in the north wing near his old quarters. This statue was made with bronze from the cannons of the Conservative Army during the Reform War and from French projectiles from the Battle of Puebla. This caused the Palace to lose its Baroque (and French) appearance and give it the appearance it has today. [5]

Palace as presidential residence

All the viceroys that ruled New Spain during the colonial period lived in this residence except for Antonio de Mendoza and Juan O’Donojú, the first and last viceroys. [6] After independence, the palace was home to the two emperors who ruled Mexico during brief periods: Agustin de Iturbide and Maximilian I of Mexico. The first president to live in the building was also Mexico's first president, Guadalupe Victoria, and its last occupant in the 19th century was Manuel González, president from 1880 to 1884. After that, the presidential residence was Los Pinos, but the National Palace became the official residence once again with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president since 2018. Famous people who stayed here include Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mateo Alemán, Friar Servando de Mier (he also died here), Alexander von Humboldt and Simón Bolívar. [1]

2014 damage

On November 8, 2014, alleged anarchists deliberately damaged the palace facade and windows with graffiti and by breaking windows, and burned down a section of the Mariana Door after a failed attempt at breaking it down. The National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH) handled the restoration and presented charges for the damage. [7] [8] [9] [10]

Archaeological work

Because of work related to the construction of Metro Line 2 and the acceleration of the sinking of many of the buildings in the historic center, the basic structure of the Palace suffered deterioration, requiring work to secure the building's foundation and supports, especially on the third floor, the central patio and the Patio of Honor. During this work, the old column bases of the Viceroy Palace were found, two of which were restored where they were found. They also found old cedar rafters with their brackets, which were used to form the foundation of the first floor. [5]

Recently, excavations in and next to the National Palace have unearthed parts of Moctezuma's "New Houses", the name of the palaces that Hernán Cortés razed to build what has become the current edifice. Parts of a wall and a basalt floor were found during recent renovations on the building that now houses the Museum of Culture, which adjoins the Palace on its north side. The wall and floor are believed to be part of Casa Denegrida, or the Black House, which Spanish conquerors described as a windowless room painted in black. In here, Moctezuma would meditate on what he was told by professional seers and shamans. It was part of a construction which is thought to have consisted of five interconnected buildings containing the emperor's office, chambers for children and several wives and even a zoo. More excavations are planned. [1] [11]

The building's significance

Fountain at the National Palace Fuente del palacio Nacional in Mexcio 2005.jpg
Fountain at the National Palace

On the webpage of past president Ernesto Zedillo, Carlos Fuentes calls the National Palace a "traveling and an immobile construction". [12] Traveling is used in the sense that much of its architectural style is Spanish in origin and symbolized the transplanting of Spanish civilization to the New World. It is immobile in the sense that since Aztec times, this has been the seat of earthly political power, first as the palaces of the Aztec tlatoani, then of the Spanish viceroys, then of Mexican heads of state. Only until very recently, those who held power over Mexico lived here as well as asserted their authority. [12]

The building itself represents the Mexican people as a blending of both Spanish and Aztec. The old palace was destroyed to make way for the new, but both were built of the very same stone. According to Zedillo, this represents something that is not quite Aztec, but not quite Spanish either, much like the country itself. These same stones were present during all of Mexico's major historical events and had seen foreign flags fly above them. [12]

On the eve of Mexican Independence Day, the National Palace is the star of the show. The original bell Father Hidalgo rang is here and the President himself gives the Grito de Dolores from its main balcony. He also notes one such Independence Eve, in 1964, when General Charles de Gaulle, then-President of France, spoke to the crowd in Spanish from the Palace. He notes this to assert that the Palace is not only a place but also a destination where friends of the country can be welcomed. [12]

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Museo Nacional de las Culturas

The Museo Nacional de las Culturas is a national museum in Mexico City dedicated to education about the world's cultures, both past and present. It is housed in a colonial-era building that used to be the mint for making coins. Prior to this, the site was the home of the location of the Moctezuma's Black House. The mint was moved to Apartado Street in 1850, and the building was used for various purposes until it was converted to its current use in 1966.

San Ildefonso College

San Ildefonso College currently is a museum and cultural center in Mexico City, considered to be the birthplace of the Mexican muralism movement. San Ildefonso began as a prestigious Jesuit boarding school, and after the Reform War it gained educational prestige again as National Preparatory School. This school and the building closed completely in 1978, then reopened as a museum and cultural center in 1992. The museum has permanent and temporary art and archeological exhibitions in addition to the many murals painted on its walls by José Clemente Orozco, Fernando Leal, Diego Rivera and others. The complex is located between San Ildefonso Street and Justo Sierra Street in the historic center of Mexico City.

Museo Nacional de las Intervenciones

The Museo Nacional de las Intervenciones is located in a former monastery, which was built on top of an Aztec shrine. The museum in split into two sections. The downstairs is dedicated to the site’s history as a monastery, and the upstairs rooms are dedicated to artifacts related to the various military conflicts that have taken place on Mexican soil and how these have shaped the modern Mexican republic. The museum is located on Calle 20 de Agosto, one block east from Division del Norte, following Calle Xicoténcatl, in Churubusco. It is one of five museums that are operated directly by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).

Secretariat of Public Education Main Headquarters

The Secretariat of Public Education Main Headquarters building is on the northeast corner of San Ildefonso and Republica de Argentina streets in the historic center of Mexico City, and used to be part of the largest and most sumptuous convents in New Spain. It was secularized in the 19th century and then taken over by the then-new Secretariat of Public Education after the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. The new agency did extensive remodeling work on the building, including covering nearly all the walls of the two inner courtyards with murals. These murals include Diego Rivera’s first large-scale mural project, which he completed in 1928.

Museum of the City of Mexico building

The Museum of the City of Mexico is located at Pino Suarez 30, a few blocks south of the Zocalo, on what was the Iztapalapa Causeway, near where Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma II met for the first time. This building used to be the palace of the Counts of Santiago de Calimaya, who were the descendents of one of the conquistadors with Cortés. The house was extensively remodeled to much the appearance that it has today and remained in the family until 1960, when the Mexico City government acquired it from them in order to found the Museum that is found there today. The museum contains a number of elements of the old palace as well as 26 rooms dedicated to the history and development of Mexico City from Aztec times to the present. It also contains a library and the studios of painter Joaquín Clausell, who lived here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Palace of the Marqués del Apartado

The Palace of the Marquis del Apartado is a historic residence located in Mexico City, just to the northeast of the city's Zocalo in the Historic center of Mexico City.

Palacio de la Autonomía

The Palacio de la Autonomía is a museum and site where the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México gained autonomy from direct government control in 1929. The building is from the late 19th century, and located on the corner of Licenciado de Verdad and Rep de Guatemala streets, north of Santa Teresa la Antigua and east of Templo Mayor. The site has a 500-year history, starting from part of lands granted by Hernán Cortés. The current building was constructed by the administration of President Porfirio Díaz, but it was ceded to the University in 1910. Since that time, the building has had a number of uses, including housing a dental school and a preparatory school. Today it houses the Museo de la Autonomía Universitaria.

Palace of Cortés, Cuernavaca building in Cuernavaca, Mexico

The Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca, Mexico, built in 1526, is the oldest conserved colonial-era civil structure in the continental Americas. The architecture is gothic mudejar, typical of the early 16th century colonial architecture. The building began as a fortified residence for conqueror Hernán Cortés and his aristocratic second wife, Doña Juana Zúñiga. It was built in 1526, over a Tlahuica Aztec tribute collection center, which was destroyed by the Spanish during the Conquest. Cortés replaced it with a personal residence to assert authority over the newly conquered peoples. As Cortés's residence, it reached its height in the 1530s, but the family eventually abandoned it due to on-going legal troubles. In the 18th century, colonial authorities had the structure renovated and used it as a barracks and jail. During the Mexican War of Independence, it held prisoners such as José María Morelos y Pavón. After the war, it became the seat of government for the state of Morelos until the late 20th century, when the state government moved out and the structure was renovated and converted into the current Museo Regional Cuauhnahuac, or regional museum, with exhibits on the history of Morelos.

<i>The Epic of American Civilization</i> mural by José Clemente Orozco

The Epic of American Civilization is a mural by the social realist painter José Clemente Orozco. It is located in the basement reading room of the Baker Memorial Library on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The mural, painted between 1932 and 1934, consists of a series of 24 fresco panels, whose principal themes are the impact of both indigenous Native Americans and European colonists on North America, and the impact of war and rapid industrialization on the human spirit.

<i>The History of Mexico</i> (mural) painting by Diego Rivera

The History of Mexico mural in the stairwell of the National Palace in Mexico City was executed between 1929 and 1935 by Diego Rivera. The subject of the mural is Mexico's history from ancient times to the present. They depict the many struggles of the common Mexican people to fight against the Spanish, the French, and the dictators that controlled the country at different points in its history.

History of Morelos, Conquest and Revolution fresco

History of Morelos, Conquest and Revolution (1929-1930) was a fresco painted by Mexican artist Diego Rivera in Cuernavaca's [[Palace of Cortés, Cuernavaca]Palace of Cortés]]. The piece was commissioned by Dwight Morrow, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico at the time.


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