The National Palace in Mexico City – El Palacio Nacional

Palacio Nacional FrontThe National Palace in Mexico City is a mammoth building and I imagine one of the city’s major attractions. It is used as a presidential residence and houses many federal offices, so I was greatly surprised that I could waltz in to the Palacio Nacional for free.

Palacio Nacional Outside 2

The security however is tight. On my first check, I was searched and found with contraband that came in the form of a biro. No ordinary biro, a graphic design pen and so I pleaded not to be sent back to the locker room to stash the item at a charge of M$10, as I only had a note of $M500 on me. They obliged and warned me not to withdraw my pen whilst inside. The National Palace in Mexico City has surprisingly few tourists visit it. But perhaps this is because I visited at the end of January, which is not exactly tourist season. I was able to browse without the stress and noise of crowds, which helped reflect the serious and respectful nature of this government building.

Palacio Nacional fountain

The courtyard is the first attraction to catch the eye’s attention. I notice this magnificent structure is also sloping, perhaps due to Mexico sinking, and I consider many of the beautiful building’s I have visited which might suffer the same fate. I was treated to an exhibition entitled “Tesoros” that displayed of 200 years of Mexican history through the treasures of its royalty. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed during this exhibition, or in many of the palace’s rooms, but this is understandable given security.

National Palace in Mexico City Mural

As you walk up the stairs to the first floor, an epic mural by Diego Riviera confronts you. It tells the history of Mexico, and like many modern artists, he is not afraid to controversially depict the barbaric truths of the country’s founding.

National Palace Mexico City Murals 2

Furthermore, there is a room dedicated to Diego Riviera which tells you more about this outstanding artist. Mexico also starts to make more sense, as mural art or text is commonplace throughout the city and emphasises the political purpose of art and writing. There are some great rooms on display, including the Presidential rooms. You get a taste of the opulence within which some people are afforded to live and I personally began to fantasize of living in such lavish dwellings. In some of the rooms, you also get a view over Zócalo. Without the sound and the busy great, I felt quite important looking down on Mexico City’s main plaza. But fantasy soon ended as I stepped back outside into the real Mexico.

Palacio Nacional Garden

You are allowed to walk through the palace gardens under the watchful gaze of police and military. I welcome the security as it reminds you are currently in the centre of Mexico’s political system, where all the country’s major decisions are made and where the President is housed.

National Palace Mexico City lGardens 2

The National Palace in Mexico City is one of the city’s attractions worth a visit and the exit leads on to other great attractions in the city’s Centro Historico such as the Museo Nacional de las Culturas next door and the Templo Mayor.

National Palace Mexico lMural Guide
I have founded a company that offers  guided tours of the National Palace in Mexico City (in Spanish). It is certainly worth considereing, as on my visit I saw the murals of Diego Riviera being intricately analysed, which was fascinating to hear.

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