Nacional Monte de Piedad.
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.