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 in their Struggle for Freedom and Independence", 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. Admission: Free
This complex of countless rooms, wide stone stairways, and numerous courtyards adorned with carved brass balconies was once where the president of Mexico worked, and it remains an important site for presidential meetings and events. But it's better known for the fabulous second-floor Diego Rivera murals depicting the history of Mexico. Begun in 1692 on the site of Moctezuma II's "new" palace, this building became the site of Hernán Cortez's home and the residence of colonial viceroys. It has changed much in 300 years, taking on its present form in the late 1920s, when the top floor was added. Just 30 minutes here with an English-speaking guide provides essential background for an understanding of Mexican history.
Enter by the central door, over which hangs the bell rung by Padre Miguel Hidalgo when he proclaimed Mexico's independence from Spain in 1810 -- the famous grito. Each September 15, Mexican Independence Day, the president of Mexico stands on the balcony above the door to echo Hidalgo's cry to the thousands of spectators who fill the zócalo. Take the stairs to the Rivera murals, which were painted over a 25-year period. The Legend of Quetzalcoatl depicts the famous tale of the feathered serpent bringing a blond-bearded white man to the country. When Cortez arrived, many Aztecs, recalling this legend, believed him to be Quetzalcoatl. Another mural tells of the American Intervention, when American invaders marched into Mexico City during the War of 1847. It was on this occasion that the military cadets of Chapultepec Castle (then a military school) fought bravely to the last man. The most notable of Rivera's murals is the Great City of Tenochtitlan, a study of the original settlement in the Valley of Mexico. It showcases an Aztec market scene with the budding city in the background and includes a beautiful representation of Xochiquetzal, goddess of love, with her crown of flowers and tattooed legs.
The National Palace (Palacio Nacional) was the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It is located on the Plaza de la Constitución (El Zócalo). This site has been a palace for the ruling class of Mexico since the Aztec empire. It is said to have been built on the grounds where Moctezuma's palace had stood.
The National Palace with its red tezontle facade fills the entire east side of the Zocalo, measuring over 200 meters long.
The facade is bordered on the north and south by two towers and include three main doorways, each of which lead to a different part of the building.
Open every day from 9 am to 17.30 pm.
Closed on Sunday and Saturday.
Admission is free.
You can watch my 5 min 29 sec HD Video Mexico City National Palace Diego Rivera part 1 out of my Youtube channel.
The palacio nacional is conveniently located at the Zocalo, meaning that you can see inside in a not long amount of time...Murals at stairs and second floor worth to get in... gardens inside are very nice and there is a library that holds the biggest accounting books heritage in Mexico, we were luky enough to talk to the person in charge of it who showed us books dated back in the 1800´s. one of them had Porfirio Diaz real signature..was interesting .. Is free but they may ask for you Id card or so.
The palace was originally constructed in 1563 after the conquest of New Spain. After fires in 1659 and 1692, the palace was reconstructed in its present form.
In 1821, coinciding with the culmination of the War of Independence against Spain, the palace was named the National Palace (Palacio Nacional). Executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government were housed in the palace; the latter two branches would eventually reside elsewhere.
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The Palacio Nacional is worth visiting just for the Diego Rivera murals that line the courtyard. It's free to get in between 9am and 5pm, but guards will check your ID. I just showed my passport and they waived me in where I was free to roam around. The first Rivera mural you're likely to see is the one covering the stairway leading to the 2nd level where more murals line the wall. The mural on the stairway is called "Mexico a Traves do los Siglos" and is a picture of Mexican history . . . literally. You'll see Aztec imagery, the Spanish conquest, Independence and many historic figures depicted here including Pancho Villa and Frida Kahlo.
Don't miss the other murals that line the 2nd level of the courtyard and before you leave, spend a few minutes exploring the rest of the grounds.
In the second floor of the National Palace you can see more of the murals that Diego Rivera painted. Here they mostly show the history and cultures of the indians before the spanish arrived.
Many cultures have their own mural where you can see important buildings from their cities, the landscape which they lived in, important activities that they had or depictions of their daily life.
One of the biggest murals show the aztecs and their capitol Tenochtitlán, which is Mexico City today. In the background of the mural you can see how this used to be an island inside a big lake, and how the city looked like. In the front are all kinds of people in their dailylife.
The main reason for visiting the National Palace are the many murals that Diego Riviera have painted there. The biggest and most impressive is the one that is painted on the walls around the big stairway.
This mural was painted over a period of 25 years, and is a great painting that shows the history and variety of Mexico. In one place you can see when the spanish arrived, and how the aztecs thought it was the return of their god Quetzalcoatl. You can also see famous people both from Mexico and other countries, and of course famous and important moments from the history and culture of Mexico.
Other places with murals from Diego Riviera: Bellas Artes, National Preparatory School, Department of Public Education (SEP), National School of Agriculture at Chapingo, National Institute of Cardiology, and the Museo Mural Diego Rivera.
The national palace is built on the place where Montezuma had his palace, and Hernán Cortéz used to live here. The building of the present palace started in 1692, but it has changed very much after that. In the 1920's it got much of the form that you can see today, and the last floor was added at this time.
The palace has lots of rooms, wide stairs and many courtyards. For many years it was also the home of the president, but he doesn't live here anymore and it's just his offices that are here today.
The most famous of the whole palace are the murals that Diego Riviera painted here. It starts with a gigantic mural when you go up the stairs, and in the second floor you can see even more. Read more about this in another must-see tip.
When you enter you can see a large bell over the door, and this was the one that Padre Miguel Hidalgo rung when he proclaimed Mexico's independence from Spain in 1810. He rung the bell and shouted his famous Grito de Dolores, and this marked the start of a 10 year long war.
Every day at the 16th of September the president rings the bell, and shouts the grito. The zocalo is packed with people who also shout out the grito, before they have fireworks and a big celebration.
Palace courtyards, who doesn't love these open spaces with their layers of surrounding walkways and balconies and arches? I guess the basic premise and architectural layout is almost universal, this one reminded me of both Wawel Castle in Krakow as well as the courtyard at Les Invalides in Paris. It's especially nice when you're not fighting for breathing room with hordes of other tourists. Make sure you head upstairs to see the 25-years-in-the-making Diego Rivera History of Mexico murals. Outstanding!
This grand building houses various government offices. The main staircase is encircled by a Diego Rivera mural -.. a moving and often brutal depiciton of the history of Mexico. No flash photography allowed...
Its current form dates from 1693, the National Palace stands on the site of the last Aztec Emperor Moctezuma's palace.
Today it is home to the offices of the President (he enters by the gate on the right), the National Archives and the Federal Treasury.
Above the central gate the National Palace is the bell rung by Miguel Hidalgo in 1810 (in Dolores, Hidalgo) as he proclaimed his 'El Grito', declaring the war to Spain for Mexico´s independence.
On the anniversary of this event, every 15th September by night, thousands gather in the square to hear the president repeat the words of 'El Grito'.
Today the National Palace is visited not least for the enormous epic murals by Diego Rivera along the walls of the second wall of the main courtyard, the result of more than 16 years (1929-45) of work.
Passionately depicting the origins of Mexico and its struggle for independence, they read like a history book with the heroes and villains portrayed together in vivid scenes, often violent and disturbing, but very memorable.
The palace also houses two minor museums, dealing with 19th-century President Benito Juárez and the Mexican Congress.
The Palacio Nacional (National Palace) is a huge palace where the executive branch sits. Diego Rivera painted most of the famous murals inside. Notice the "communist" trends and qualities in his paintings. Ironic, no? After all, Mexico was never communist. Nevertheless, Diego Rivera was an active member of the Communist Party in Mexico.
The most important reason to visit this Palacio Nacional is certainly, the wall painting (Murales) of Diego Riviero; he painted these walls between 1929 and 1935. These paintings are reflecting the history of Mexico seen through the eyes of Diego Riviero.
When you go up the main stairs, coming from the courtyard, you’ll see a very big wall painting. It shows a part of the Mexican history, like the Aztec period, the colonial period, the French occupation, the Mexican revolution . . .
Unfortunately, it was very dark at that place and it was prohibited to use a flash, so I was not able to make a picture of this masterpiece. The picture I added here is one of the many frescos you can see on the sidewalk at the first floor.