Hotels Near Foro Sol26 November, 2023
The Historic Center is the “heart” from which Mexico City grew and was transformed. In this area there are architectural monuments that have witnessed the evolution that the capital has had. One of the most important is, without a doubt, some, the National Palace.
A giant of gray stone that summons thousands of Mexicans to give the “Shout”, which houses historical murals inside and which has also received international leaders of great importance; For all this, in this article we will talk about this impressive venue.
The history of the Mexican National Palace
The National Palace is known as the “political epicenter of Mexico,” a 40,000-square-meter building located in the eastern part of the Plaza de la Constitución, belonging to the Historic Center of Mexico City.
The history of this emblematic site began in 1522, when construction began for Hernán Cortés to inhabit it as his second private residence, for this purpose, part of the palace of Moctezuma Xocoyotzin was occupied.
This monument preserves seven centuries of history, which has been used as a “seat of power” since the time of the Aztecs. Furthermore, "it is the scene of rituals, of patriotic ceremonies (...) it contains the history of all the moments that Mexico has experienced."
This is how the National Palace is described in a video made by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, in which they make it clear that:
“The Palace concentrates all the functions of the Government, with Independence that role will remain and throughout the 19th century the government of the Republic was exercised from the Palace. After the Revolution, a great transformation was undertaken to make it grow and have a greater presence.”
This presence began to have importance over the years, through which this palace has had key moments, such as in 1562, when it was sold to the Spanish Crown to be occupied as administrative offices of the Viceroyalty. In that year began a decisive stage in the history of Mexico, which was recorded both in the political direction that the country took, and in the walls of the palace that gives life to the capital's Zócalo.
The new houses of Moctezuma
In order for the construction of the National Palace to be carried out, the conquerors who arrived in Greater Tenochtitlán decided to demolish the Palace of Moctezuma Xocoyotzin, which is part of an entire pre-Hispanic world buried under the current buildings of the Historic Center.
Such is the case of the New Houses of Moctezuma, that is, five interconnected palaces that archaeologists discovered beneath the foundations of what is currently the National Museum of Cultures (Moneda Street #13).
“Based on historical documents from the 16th century, we came to the conclusion that the pre-Hispanic walls and foundations that we found are part of the housing complex known as the New Houses of Moctezuma,”
INAH researcher Elsa Hernández Pons explained at the time. These “new houses” were named so so that researchers could differentiate them from the houses that belonged to Montezuma's ancestors. In them there was an office of the emperor, the compounds of his wives and even a zoo.
Emperor Moctezuma - according to information from the magazine Proceso - received Hernán Cortés on November 8, 1519 and from that moment on, another stage in the history of the National Palace began.
The new houses of Cortés
When Hernán Cortés arrived in Greater Tenochtitlán, Moctezuma designated the Palace of Axayacatl as the place where the conqueror would stay, a construction that was located in what is today Monte de Piedad.
During the 16th century this palace was known as the “houses of Hernán Cortés”, because it occupied four blocks and the façade was precisely that of the Monte de Piedad, a large construction that required a lot of time and money for its maintenance.
For this reason, the descendants of the conqueror divided the palace and decided to sell it in parts. It should be noted that the Axayácatl Palace was named in honor of Moctezuma's father, the Mexica emperor who died right in that same place at the hands of the Spanish.
A building of the importance of the National Palace could not be left in destruction, so after going through a recovery process, another historical event reached it: the establishment of the first Mexican Empire, in 1821, by Agustín de Iturbide.
With the arrival of Iturbide this enclosure became the Imperial Palace, which was no longer as majestic as in the viceregal era because the fight for independence had left economic instability and therefore, not much could be done for it. building.
Among the changes that were made to the palace, only the modification of the façade stands out, which was painted with a padded design, in addition to the placement of cobblestones in the side sentry boxes that have the doors of the enclosure.
Subsequently, in 1824, the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States was signed and it was decreed that all sites that had been designated as “imperial” would change their names to “national.” Since then, the National Palace has retained the name by which it is currently known.
The balcony of the National Palace
“The theater of the great national rituals,” as the historian Carmen Saucedo calls the National Palace, is a building that has a very popular feature among Mexicans, it is the balcony from which the president in turn is in charge of leading “El Grito de Independencia".
This balcony (which is also known as the vicereine's balcony), was built in 1641 by order of viceroy Diego López. It is located on the north side of the façade, its Moorish style stands out with a cantilevered structure and sheet tiles with lattices.
Like other spaces in the National Palace, this balcony has witnessed meetings between important politicians and every year, in September, it is filled with the echo produced by a historic bell, which sets the rhythm of the cry that thousands of Mexicans sing in the Plaza of the Constitution.
The Dolores's Bell
The Dolores's Bell was made in 1768 using bronze, silver and tin; It was taken to the town of Dolores Hidalgo (Guanajuato), where the priest Miguel Hidalgo used it on the morning of September 16, 1810 to call on the population to join the fight against the Spanish empire.
In 1896 the bell was moved from Guanajuato to the capital of the country and was placed above the Presidential Balcony, so that on September 15 of each year, the president in turn would ring it, as the priest Hidalgo did many years ago.
Murals of the National Palace
Another symbol that undoubtedly characterizes the National Palace are the murals that the Mexican artist Diego Rivera painted on its walls, after José Vasconcelos commissioned him to carry out this important work.
Located in the central patio of the Palace, the murals are called “Epic of the Mexican People” and measure 276 square meters throughout which, Rivera captured different moments in the history of Mexico.
Among the most notable elements of the murals we can mention the Toltec culture, the pre-Hispanic era, the Tlatelolco market and the socialist ideas represented by the workers that Diego Rivera painted. It was a very arduous job that took 22 years of his life.
Visits to the National Palace and schedules
Now, after having learned all this history, you may be wondering, can you visit the National Palace? The answer is yes, people can visit this historic site to see famous spaces such as the murals, the Pegasus Fountain, the Marian courtyards and the Garden of the Empress.
The National Palace is open from Tuesday to Sunday, there are specific areas that visitors can visit, the best thing is that entry is free and even guided tours for school groups are allowed, but these must be requested with special companies, such as México a through the National Palace.
For the curator of this facility, Lilia Rivero, “we have never stopped creating history in this space,” because the Palace hides in its bowels the life of other times and at the same time, it witnesses current life every day.
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