Mexican architecture is immensely diverse, and each design tells a different story about the nation’s history. Many tribes, culminating in the Aztecs, claimed the territory in and surrounding Mexico City. Built on a grid system, Mexico City had grown into a bustling metropolis by the early 1500s, with a population believed to be well over 200,000. The Spanish then showed up. After defeating the Aztecs with the help of local soldiers, they gave the city a new name—New Spain—and built their palace, central square, and chapel where the Aztecs had their royal house, temple, and sacred site. Spain would rule over this territory for around 300 years.

Symmetry; Clean, classically-inspired lines; Moorish influences, especially domes and pointed vaults are the prominent features of earlier colonial architecture. As the ages passed and Mexico drew nearer to independence, Mexican Baroque, which incorporated flamboyant ornamentation, frequently painstakingly crafted, to generally relatively sober, towering buildings, emerged.


The former Zocalo is currently called Plaza de la Constitución. The Palacio Nacional and the Catedral Metropolitana are two other structures from the Spanish Colonial era that one can see from the Zocalo, which was named for a monument, was never built beyond its pedestal and meaning “pedestal” in Spanish. The centre of Mexican political and cultural life, this square is also one of the biggest in the world. Since the Aztecs, it has served as a gathering place for Mexicans, hosting events like Mexican rituals, viceroys’ swearing-ins, royal proclamations, military parades, independence celebrations, and contemporary religious celebrations like Holy Week and Corpus Christi. It has hosted foreign heads of state and serves as the primary location for national observances and protests. Furthermore, it has an essential part of the city’s planning and geography.

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Plaza de la Constitución_@Santiago Arau

Palacio Nacional.

The National Palace of Mexico occupies the entire east side of the Zocalo. Constructed out of the stones from the prior structure, the Aztec tlatoani house. Over time, it evolved into the viceroys’ home and now serves as the location of Mexico’s government buildings. The Palacio is well-known for its 14 courtyards, some of which are open to the public, as well as for the paintings by Diego Riviera that were painted in the 1920s and 1930s, among many other things. Although it has seen considerable changes in terms of construction over the ages, it is still regarded as a prime example of the Spanish impact on Mexican architecture.

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Catedral Metropolitana

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary is another name for this enormous cathedral, which a Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega designed to resemble the Gothic cathedrals of Europe. The Cathedral, like the National Palace, was constructed over sacred Aztec territory, and Templo Mayor, a former Aztec temple, sits close. This enormous structure was built during a 240-years period, from 1573 to 1813. Due to the lengthy construction period, several architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, Churrigueresque, and Neoclassical, were incorporated into the design as they gained popularity over the ages. Additionally, it lets the cathedral to its interior. Because it involved so many diverse socioeconomic strata, generations, ecclesiastical authorities, and religious organizations, the project served as a focal point for societal cohesiveness. About 150 windows are present in the church.

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Castillo de Chapultepec.

This magnificent castle, which is located in the 1,600-acre Chapultepec Park, has functioned as a palace, a presidential house, and an observatory. The National History Museum of Mexico is now housed there. The neo-classical and neo-Gothic styles that the Spanish admired in the late 1700s are among the styles it combines. It was constructed as a vacation residence for the viceroy, the top colonial official, during the Viceroyalty of New Spain. From a gunpowder factory to a military academy in 1841, it served a variety of purposes. During the Second Mexican Empire, it underwent renovations and additions and was designated as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico and his wife Empress Carlota’s official residence (1864–67). It was designated as the President’s official house by Manuel González in 1882. All successive presidents, with a few notable exceptions, resided there until 1939, resident Lázaro Cárdenas converted it into a museum.

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Castillo de Chapultepec_@

Palace of Iturbide

This impressive structure, located at Av. Francisco Madero 17, was commissioned between 1779 and 1785 by the Marquis of Jaral de Berrio as a wedding gift for his daughter. It was designed to stand up to some of the best homes in Europe. Its current name comes from the brief residence of Augustin de Iturbide, often known as Augustine I of Mexico. Since Agustin de Iturbide resided there and received the First Mexican Empire’s (Agustin I’s) crown there after independence from Spain, the building came to be known as the “Palace of Iturbide.” Excellent examples of the Mexican Baroque style, which gained popularity at the conclusion of the Spanish Colonial era, may be found in its ornate stone walls.

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(2022). learning about Mexico city through Spanish colonial architecture.

(2022). Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.

(2022). Z%C3%B3calo.

(2022). Chapultepec Castle.

(2022). Palace of Iturbide.



Saima is a young interior designer who loves to research, write, and design. She holds a master's degree in interior design and is a firm believer that words have the ability to alter the course of events and improve the quality of life.