The monumental Castillo de Chapultepec sits high on the hills overlooking Mexico City. It also serves as the National Museum of History. It is set within fantastic gardens and, because it sits on the top of Chapultepec hill, there are practically 360 degree views of Mexico City. This historic building is one of those ‘must see’ and you list of things to do whilst in the capital.
Situated in the Bosque de Chapultepec, it is a long but gradual climb up Chapultepec Hill to reach the castle. There is a little train that rallies people up and down for $M13, so not to worry if your legs aren’t up for it.
If you are able, I definitely recommend walking as the climb up the hill starts to reveal wonderful views over the Bosque, the city and its emerging skyline and the surrounding mountains. That being said, you also get a greater view at the top of the hill.
Building of the castle itself began in 1785 but was not finished until after independence. At that time it became the National Military Academy. In 1864, it became residence to Emperor Maximilian and Empres Carlota. The castle also used to house Mexico’s presidents until 1939, when it was converted to the Museo Nacional de Historia, as it still stands today.
Exhibits chronicle from the conquests to create Nueva España up to the Mexican Revolution. The building contains some excellent murals and history buffs will not be disappointed by the display of surviving ornaments, particularly the original Virgin de Guadalupe banner created by Miguel Hidalgo in the fight for independence.
There are some pleasant gardens which you can make use of and also admire some views.
Terraces surround the main building and are free to be accessed by the public. I personally spent a long time here taking photos as you practically have a 360 degree view of the city as you walk around.
You can see the incredible amount of development going on in the city as skyscrapers are seen from every angle. At the same time, it is rather saddening as you can’t help but imagine the natural beauty that once occupied this vast valley of lakes and forest surrounded by ancient mountains, all but 500 years ago.
To enter the Castillo de Chapultepec, I paid $M57. It was worth the price to see some great architecture and some inspiring views.
Word of warning. When I came here at the age of 12, I was pickpocketed. A very sad day that I still remember. I was crying my eyes out. I remember telling my Mexican friend that I had some party trick chewing gum in my wallet that was suppossed to taste like pepper and that I hoped whoever stole my wallet ate it!! Anyway, keep you valuables safe when walking through the Bosque de Chapultepec.
Castillo de Chapultepec is amongst many attracitions in Bosque de Chapultepec – click here to see what’s on offer.
Click here to go Castillo de Chapultepec’s official website.