Jonathan Fryer

The Palacio Nacional in Mexico

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 5th November, 2015

Palacio nacionalDiego RiveraDominating one side of the vast Zocalo square in Mexico City the Palacio Nacional has a forbidding facade, but inside there are many beautiful things to enjoy. It is open to the public during working hours and is free, though one has to show ID and pass through a security check. The main attraction for most visitors is the array of huge murals by Diego Rivera depicting aspects of the history and culture of Mexico; though most of the figures portrayed are imaginative stereotypes, his wife Frida Kahlo is instantly recognizable. One could spend hours just looking at the vast mural that embraces the central staircase. Currently there is an exhibition of Mexican masks on show om the Palace as well, though I was more drawn to the ornate first parliamentary chamber, intimate in size though grandiose in decor, including two plush red thrones. Actually, it is a reproduction, as the original burnt down, but one still gets a good feel of the beginnings of parliamentary democracy in Mexico in the first half of the 19th century. The presidential offices are understandably out of bounds to visitors but one can walk or sit in the beautiful garden, which is a true oasis from the bustle and heat of the Zocalo. There are even some sleak and amiable cats who wander round as if they own the place.

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