Mexico City and Its Beautiful Castle
If you hear “Mexico” what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Pyramids, spicy food, tacos, Fiesta, Cabo, Cancun, etc. But I am pretty sure the word “castle” does not pop in your mind. Well, this is your chance to learn about another side of the Mexico that you might have never heard of: the Mexican castle “El Castillo de Chapultepec.” The story behind this national landmark is very interesting, and the castle itself is one of our most precious historical gems.
The castle was built in the 18th century, while Mexico was still a Spanish colony. Its name, “Chapultepec,” means “grasshopper’s hill” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.
The Chapultepec is a real castle. In fact, it is the only royal castle in the American Continent, and throughout the years, it has had many uses: an Imperial residence, a Military Academy, a Presidential home, an observatory, an official Guest House for foreign dignitaries, and, finally, in 1944 it was open to the public as the Museum of National History (Museo Nacional de Historia).
The castle is at the very top of the hill, so in order to get there, you have to climb the hill by foot… Nothing wrong with some hiking right? However, if you are not a hiking buff, you can pay a few pesos for a little train to take you the top.
Once you step in, you will not even know where to start. The gardens are simply amazing, and the panoramic view of the city from up there is breathtaking. It might take you a few minutes to pull yourself together again, and find out how you would want to start the tour around the palace.
At this Museum of National History you will basically get to see the magnificent sense of style and the luxury in which Maximilian I (Mexican’s Emperor in the 19th century) and his wife lived. The museum displays the original furniture and some paintings. Also, you can be lucky enough to bump into a temporary art exhibition.
In addition to all this, there is a room inside the castle with a couple of the spectacular murals from one of Mexico’s most talented artists: David Alfaro Siqueiros. This is definitely one of the highlights of the castle. You do not have to be an art major to appreciate the talent of this artist.
The location of the castle is ideal. It is actually situated within the park of Chapultepec. This park is huge. It has lakes, a zoo, gardens, restaurants, cafes, many friendly squirrels, and lots of space to enjoy outdoor activities like soccer, running, cycling, etc.
The Park of Chapultepec is just a fun place to go on the weekends with your family or friends.
Again: location, location, location.
The park and the castle are extremely close to Polanco, one of Mexico City’s posh areas famous for their fancy hotels, delicious restaurants and glamorous night clubs and bars. In the surrounding areas you will also find: El Angel de Independencia (Mexico’s city famous Landmark), the Museum of Anthropology, and the Auditorium (house of amazing concerts).
Mexico City is a fun place to go no matter what time a year. It does not matter if you are an outdoors person, a history buff, a food lover, a night owl… in this city you will find it all.
Mexico City: is the city where the FUN never ends!!
Here is a Pop Culture trivia: this castle was one of the film locations for the movie “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” in 1996, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. They used it mainly for the representation of the Capulet Mansion.