The seat of power dating back to prehispanic times, the National Palace, located downtown on the Zocalo concourse, was originally the site of Emperor Moctezuma’s residence. Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés began construction on his personal mansion here. Eventually, the site was converted into the home and headquarters of the 62 Viceroys who served the Spanish Crown. For an ephemeral three years, it became the Imperial Palace of Maximilian of Hapsburg. Today it is the official office of Mexico’s President.
The Palace offers many points of interest, most importantly a series of fresco murals painted by Diego Rivera on the walls surrounding the central courtyard (considered by many to be his masterpiece), the Botanical Cactus Garden, a replica of the original parliament, the Benito Juarez Museum and several archaeological windows providing a glimpse into the prehispanic structures it is built over.
Our visit will take approximately 3 hours, in order to do justice to the principal sites of interest within the Palace.