Located on the east side of the Zócalo, the National Palace hosts the offices of the President of Mexico, the National Archives, the Federal Treasury and the impressive murals by Diego Rivera. Originally, the palace was first erected by the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma at the beginning of the 16th century and destroyed by Hernán Cortés in 1521, who rebuilt it with a large courtyard to host bullfights for visitors. The Palace remained in Cortés' family until it was bought by the King of Spain in 1562 as a residence for the viceroys of New Spain. The Palace adopted its current form in 1693, with an added floor in 1926.
The prime attraction of the Palace are the colorfoul and dramatic murals of Diego Rivera, which are located on the second floor. Painted between 1929 and 1945, this 1,200 sq ft (111.5 sq m) of fresco is entittled Epic of the Mexican People in their Struggle for Freedom and Independence, representing Rivera's view of two millennia of Mexican history, from the arrival of Quetzalcóatl to the 1910 revolution.
The Palace is also home of two small museums: the Place of Homage to Benito Juárez who served as president until his death in this wing of the Palacio Nacional in 1872; and the Mexican Congress. On the central facade, hangs the Campana de Dolores (Bell of Dolores) rung by Padre Miguel Hidalgo in the town of Dolores to proclaim independence in 1810. Nowadays, the bell is rung by the president of Mexico every September 16 to celebrate the anniversary of the independence. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Free admission.
Mexico Regional Landmarks
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Image supplied by the Presidente Inter-Continental Mexico City