The Palacio National is where the Federal Executive Power of Mexico is. It’s off the side of Plaza de la Constitucion in the Historic Centro. Built-in 1522 for Herman Cortes’ private home and was built on top of a portion of the Huey Tlatoani Moctezuma palace making this site apart of the World Heritage since 1982. Eventually, it was taken over by the Viceroys of Spain by the crown. I could feel the energy of presidential here there are guards in suits scattered throughout, standing around keeping a watchful eye. Before you are allowed to enter you have to pass through a metal detector and leave any personal bags in the lockers. You’ll be given a plastic pass on a lancet to wear around your neck.
After a fire in 1692, it was reconstructed by viceroyal authorities. In the 19th century, it served as the building for legislative and judicial powers for different Republican and regimes of the country. Between 1822 and around 1884 the governors of state lived on the property, after which it became the presidential office up to 1968.
It now serves for the official civic acts of Presidency of the Republic, for Heads of state and foreign governments. Also held here are the festivities of Grito de Dolores and the beginning of Mexico Independence day on September 16th.
The many changes through the centuries are evident in its architectural design. There is a smorgasbord of eclectic design incorporating Neoclassical, baroque and even some modern aspects. On the first floor of the main building, you can actually see a portion of the Moctezuma palace that has been sealed in glass.
Lining the walls of the second story are murals created by the famous painter Diego Riviera. His work was well known for being political ideology in nature. He painted many murals in public buildings and throughout areas in the Historic Center of Mexico City. You can even find some of his works in the National school of agriculture of Chapingo, various Mexican cities. Also some in North and South America.
In 1929 he married the famous artist Frida Kahlo, the same year he was expelled from the Mexican Communist party. Around 1930 he painted a mural for the city club of San Francisco Later the painting was moved to the Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute. There’s a commisioned piece from Nelson Rockefeller who hired him to paint a mural in the entrance of the RCA building in NYC.
I enjoyed the murals the most here while visiting the Palace. Diego Rivieras artistry is interesting and filled with stories of the past. In each mural, you will find the many changes that took place here in Mexico city. The largest of them depicts the times of Moctezuma Aztecs war with Spain and the phases of before and after. There are others that vividly paint scenes of times in the fields and markets and many aspects of what life must have been like before the conquer.
After visiting the Palace I watched for a few minutes in the Plaza de la Constitucion some locals reenacting some of the ancient ways of dance. It was interesting and their costumes were very cool. I then wander up one the main streets in the historic district, Av Francisco I. Madero it’s a pedestrian only wide cobblestone avenue filled with high end shops, restaurants and markets. There are several side avenues that are also pedestrian only that are also filled with smaller scaled businesses.
I ventured down one of the side avenues for lunch I had been walking for hours at this point and was very hungry. I stopped in at a cute little place called Pasaguero’s that had a few outdoor tables so I could sit and watch the world go by as I ate. Lucky for me they had a special two for one margaritas so of course I had to try them out, I ordered a plate of chicken suizas to go with them. And then a couple more margaritas, don’t judge me they were small. The food was very good and the margaritas were super tasty. It was the perfect rest I needed before walking back to the hostel with a good view and great service. My entire day of adventure, food, drinks and walking cost me just 220 pesos which is only $11.43 US. Well worth it I’d say.
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