Iconic Buildings of Centro Histórico’s Calle Madero

Get to know some of the iconic buildings of one of the most emblematic and history filled streets in Centro Histórico: Calle Madero.

10 Jul 2019

Mexico City’s Centro Histórico neighborhood is best enjoyed walking its history filled streets, stopping from time to time to refuel with the help of a taco or agua fresca. With so much to see and take in, it’s best to approach the area street by street to not miss the main sights. For those first visiting the city, a great place to start is one of Centro’s most emblematic streets (and also a pedestrian walkway): Calle Madero.

iconic buildings of calle madero

Named for Francisco I. Madero, one of Mexico’s ex-presidents and keys figures of the Revolution, the street begins at Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas, where Bellas Artes resides, and makes a direct path to the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main plaza. From start to end, it is home to noteworthy buildings from both colonial and contemporary times that every tourist (and local) should see. Here are five (of the many) buildings that can be observed while strolling along Calle Madero.

1. Torre Latinoamericana 

Inspired in New York’s Empire State, this sleek building was once Latin America’s tallest when constructed in 1956. It is considered both an engineering and architectural landmark given that it was the first major skyscraper built in a highly active seismic area — and now even more considering it withstood two of Mexico City’s strongest earthquakes in 1985 and 2017. For unparalleled views of the city, take the elevator to the 41st floor lounge bar and the 44th floor observation deck.

iconic buildings of calle madero

2. Casa de los Azulejos 

Casa de los Azulejos, or “House of Tiles,” was constructed in the 18th century for the Count del Valle de Orizaba family. The building’s facade is covered in blue and white tiles from the Mexican state of Puebla. Nowadays it is home to flagship of the variety store and cafeteria-style restaurant, Sanborns. Don’t miss the interior showcasing various mosaics and a 1920s mural painted by muralist Orozco.

iconic buildings of calle madero

3. Templo de San Francisco

The Temple of San Francisco was the headquarters of the first twelve Franciscan monks sent to Mexico to evangelize in the viceroyalty of New Spain. During early colonial times, this complex was the largest and most influential monastery in Mexico City, occupying over 32,000 square-feet at its peak. Before becoming a place of God, it was the site for Moctezuma II’s zoo.

iconic buildings of calle madero

4. Museo del Estanquillo

Since 2006, the Museo del Estanquillo has resided in La Esmeralda building. The structure was originally home to the 19th century jeweler La Esmeralda Hauser-Zivy. It consists of the personal collection of the writer Carlos Monsivais, including photography, paintings, sculptures, letters, comics, and so on, with a total of 20 thousand pieces reflecting Mexican life and folk art.

iconic buildings of calle madero

5. Templo de la Profesa

The Temple of San Felipe Neri, or commonly referred to as La Profesa, is a Baroque-style parish church that was constructed by Jesuits in the late 16th century. The building is home to a gallery that holds an important collection of paintings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries from artists such as Juan Correa, Miguel Cabrera, amongst others.

iconic buildings of calle madero

6. Palacio de Iturbide (Fomento Cultural Banamex)

This mansion was built by the Count of San Mateo de Valparaíso for his daughter in 1779, but is better known for the only year in which Agustín de Iturbide temporarily inhabited it. The building has a baroque style and was designed by the architect Francisco Guerrero y Torres, who, in the facade framed with towers, drew several mythological figures, such as the Hercules placed under the central balcony, in the moldings. It now exhibits the works of Banamex’s artistic heritage, as well as public and private collections on a temporary basis.

iconic buildings of calle madero

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