Chapultepec Castle (and National Museum of History)

There is no better place to get a grasp of Mexico’s complex history than on top of Chapultepec Hill.  This site was originally home to a prehispanic ceremonial center, then turned into the recreational summer home of the Spanish Viceroys, and eventually became a Military Academy.  It was here that the decisive battle between Mexico and the United States took place in 1847 which led to the loss of over half of Mexico’s territory.

There are two buildings on the hill: Chapultepec Castle also referred to as the “Alcazar”    which houses an expansive decorative arts collection and the National Museum of History which is in what once was the Military Academy.

The Castle, built by Austrian Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg, became the official presidential residence until it opened its doors as a museum in 1944. The rooms are set up to showcase the personal belongings and lifestyles of its inhabitants with period pieces, giving you the feel of how people lived in this Palace-Fortress during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The History Museum is full of a fascinating hand-picked collection of memorabilia, clothing, paintings, maps and all sorts of objects as well as over a dozen murals which span roughly 500 years of Mexico’s complex history.

Plus, the view of city itself from the site is magnificent.

Our 3 hour visit includes both museums, giving you a comprehensive understanding of Mexican history to the backdrop of a fabulous collection of art work, murals and decorative pieces.