With the arrival of the Spanish and the fall of the Aztecs, the city of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) was razed by Hernan Cortes and the Spanish Conquistadors. Temples and ritual places for the Aztecs were destroyed and the stones used to build new structures by the Spanish. Once home to Hernan Cortes, the Palacio Nacional stands on the site of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II’s castle. The official residence of the Mexican President (though their time is usually spent in a different residence) the Palacio Nacional sits on one edge of the Zocalo. Between 1929 and 1935 Diego Rivera painted one of his best known murals here. The mural shows Diego’s vision of Mexican history from Aztec life before the conquest, through independence from Spain, the revolution in 1910-1920 and a workers’ revolution that has yet to come. There are also a number of other murals by Rivera showing aspects of Mexico’s prehispanic life and the arrival of Hernan Cortes.

Before my plane left on Monday, and being only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, I spent some time and walked around the Palace. Once again there were Dia De Los Muertos displays and the murals (especially the main one) were huge with so many things to look at in one place. Guided tours take you around the Palace but make sure to ask or find out when the next English speaking guide goes out, unless your Spanish is fluent. You can also hire your own English guide to take you around for a more private explanation.