The Casa de los Azulejos or "House of Tiles" is an 18th-century palace in Mexico City, built by the Count del Valle de Orizaba family. The building is distinguished by its facade, which is covered on three sides by blue and white tile of Puebla state. The palace remained in private hands until near the end of the 19th century. It changed hands several times before being bought by the Sanborns brothers who expanded their soda fountain/drugstore business into one of the best-recognized restaurant chains in Mexico. The house today serves as their flagship restaurant.
The house is currently on the Callejón de la Condesa (Countess's Alley), between 5 de Mayo Street and what is now Madero Street. Madero Street was laid out in the 16th century and originally called San Francisco Street, after the church and monastery here. Later it was called Plateros Street, because of all the silver miners and silversmiths located here. From the 16th century through most of the colonial period, it was one of the most desirable streets in the city. Before 1793, there were two houses on this site, which were joined through the merger of two creole families of New Spain, when Graciana Suárez Peredo and the second Count del Valle de Orizaba married. Both families were very rich and held noble titles. The current structure was begun in 1793, with much the same dimensions and shape as it has today, but no tiles.
The mansion was remodeled a bit later, adding the covering of blue and white tiles. This caused a sensation and gave the house its popular name.
There are two conflicting explanations of how this building got its current appearance. The more reliable version states that the fifth Countess Del Valle de Orizaba, who resided in Puebla, decided to return to the capital after her husband's death and remodeled the house with Puebla tile in 1737, to show the family's immense wealth. The other version is more colorful and tells of a son whose lifestyle caused his father to state that if he didn’t change his ways he would "never build his house of tiles," meaning that he would never amount to anything. As an act of defiance, the young man had the tiles put on when he inherited the house. These tiles cover the three exposed facades of the house on both levels.
Nacional Monte de Piedad (National Mount of Mercy in English) is a not-for-profit institution and pawnshop whose main office is located just off the Zócalo, or main plaza of Mexico City. It was established between 1774 and 1777 by Don Pedro Romero de Terreros,the Count of Regla as part of a movement to provide interest-free or low-interest loans to the poor. It was recognized as a national charity in 1927 by the Mexican government.
Despite having gone through considerable modifications, this once was part of the estate owned by Hernán Cortés (1485–1547). In this area were the "Old Houses" of Moctezuma II's father, Axayacatl (1453?-1483). At the time of Cortes’ arrival, Moctezuma lived in the "New Houses" across what is now the main plaza where the National Palace now stands. The dimensions of the original residence was so great, extending as far as modern-day Avenida Madero, Isabel la Católica, Calle Tacuba and Monte de Piedad streets, that chronicler Francisco Cervantes de Salazar once stated that it was not a palace, but rather a city itself. Other observers compared the complex to the Cretan labyrinth where the Minotaur was imprisoned. The original structure had two floors and a series of smaller buildings that Cortes rented to traders. The main building used to house the Royal Tribunal and was the residence of two of the early viceroys of New Spain. In 1615, it was divided into lots for sale.
The tezontle stone façade of the current building dates from 1775, and at the peak above the main door is the coat of arms of the Count of Regla. In the main doorway there is the coat of arms of Mexico and a bust of Don Pedro Romero de Terreros. The inside of the building has been completely modified except for a few details. The third floor was added in 1948. What had been Cortés’s accounting room while he was the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, became a chapel and remained so until 1926. Since then, it has been a museum, housing painting by José de Páez from 1775, building decorations from the 18th and 19th centuries, cancellation stamps, paper money and certificates from 1880 and the building's original statues.
This building was extensively remodeled in 1984, with a number of projects. The outside walls of the building were cleaned, refurbishing the wood and ironwork of the portals and balconies, then sealing them against the effects of pollution. Floors, patios and columns were stripped and polished. Protections were placed on each appraiser's window and the art salon was enlarged.
A fire, due to a short circuit, damaged this building on 17 April 2004. It began in the cashiers and appraisers’ rooms where 10 people were working on remodeling project at the time. Fire was seen on the ground and first floors of the building; however, no pawned items were damaged.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico (Latin: Archidioecesis Mexicanus) (erected September 2, 1530, as the Diocese of Mexico) is a metropolitan diocese, responsible for the suffragan Dioceses of Atlacomulco, Cuernavaca, Tenancingo and Toluca. It was elevated on February 12, 1546. The Archdiocese formerly owned the "Church of Manila" until 1579, when it was released by Pope Gregory XIII into its own independent diocese.
The archdiocese is the largest in the world, with more than 7 million Catholics.
The Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL) (English: National Museum of Art) is the Mexican national art museum, located in the historical center of Mexico City. The museum is housed in a neoclassical building at No. 8 Tacuba, Col. Centro, Mexico City. It includes a large collection representing the history of Mexican art from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid 20th century. It is recognizable by Manuel Tolsá's large equestrian statue of Charles IV of Spain, who was the monarch just before Mexico gained its independence. It was originally in the Zocalo but it was moved to several locations, not out of deference to the king but rather to conserve a piece of art, according to the plaque at the base. It arrived at its present location in 1979.
MUNAL is located in the old Palace of Communications. In the early part of the 20th century, the government hired Italian architect Silvio Contri to design and build this “palace” to house the Secretariat of Communications and Public Works, with the intention to show Mexico's commitment to modernization. The Palace was constructed on the former site of the hospitals of San Andres and of Gonzalez Echeverria. The architectural design is eclectic, mixing elements of past architectural styles, which is characteristic of that time period. This blending would later solidify into a movement called “modernismo” both because of the tendency to use newly-devised construction techniques and the tendency to use metal in the decorative aspects, to symbolize progress in the Industrial Age. The decorative elements of the building were done by the Coppedé family of Florence, who designed the door knockers, the window frames, the leaded crystal, the stonework, the furniture, lamps and ironwork among many other elements. Over the years, much of the Palace deteriorated until around 2000, when Project MUNAL restored the palace to its original look, while also adding the latest technology for the preservation of artistic works.
Two rooms that stand out are the decoration of the Reception Hall and the sculptures in the Patio de los Leones. The Reception Hall is on the second floor and designed to imitate the splendor of similar halls in Europe. It is profusely decorated with precious metal and crystal ornaments as well as allegorical murals dedicated to themes such as science, the arts, liberty, history, work and progress. The work devoted to the concept of progress subdivides into four themes of force, justice, wisdom and wealth. This hall became the preferred place for President Porfirio Díaz to perform public declarations and receive dignitaries from abroad. Like the rest of the building the Patio of the Lions synthesizes a number of different architectural styles. The two primary styles seen here are Classic and Gothic with other styles introduced in the forms of sculptures, lighting and sculpted stonework. In the center is a large semicircular staircase to the upper floors.
Later in the 20th century, the building served as the Archivo General de la Nación and from 1982 as the Museo Nacional de Arte. The plaza in front of the building is named after Manuel Tolsá, who created the statue of Carlos IV there, also known as El Caballito. Today almost all of the building is used to house the permanent collection of MUNAL with the Reception Hall and the Patio de los Leones used for events such as concerts, book-signings and press conferences.