Experience the Magic of Mexico City's Museums!
Were you foolish enough to think Mexico is just about beaches, spring breakers and delicious tacos? Think again if you happen to be visiting the capital city of Mexico City. Apparently, it the bragging rights to say they are the city with the largest number of museums in the world, even rivaling New York City and London. With that said, it’s worth a trip to Mexico City to get an impression of the impressive culture, art and history of a timeless city.
Castillo de Chapultepec Museo Nacional de Historia: National Museum of History: The translation of the name of this museum is The Castle of the Grasshopper. We're not sure why it has this name but we do understand why it is such a popular museum. This European styled building was home to Maximilian I of Mexico of Austria who tried to revive the Mexican monarchy with the backing of the French. Before the monarchy, it was a sacred place for the Aztecs, on a hill at over 7,000 feet above sea level. Today it is home to the National Museum of History, featuring artifacts from Mexican history. There is even a diorama recreation of the time Maximilian I lived in what was a grand castle.
Museo Nacional de Antropología: National Museum of Anthropology: The most visited museum is the National Museum of Anthropology. This is for a good reason, since there is such an impressive geological history in the region. It contains archaeological and anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbian era. The most famous being the Stone of the Sun, or the Aztec calendar stone. Note that if you are visiting as a tourist that foreigners are not allowed for free on Sundays, only Mexican nationals.
Museo Arte Popular: Museum of Popular Art: If you've had enough of historical Mexican (Who could get enough of it?), you may want to change gears and visit the Museo Arte Popular. Some of the most modern arts can be seen in the Mexican markets where artisans sell their local crafts. Many of the traditional folk art is preserved in this museum, featuring textiles, piñatas, art and other objects. The institution hopes to inspire modern Mexican art to be appreciated not only in Mexico, but all over the world.
Museo Mural Diego Rivera: Modern art aficionados will be familiar with famous Mexican painter, Diego Rivera. He traveled and studied around Europe to learn the latest techniques like cubism and Post-Impressionism. This led him to be recognized for his elaborate frescos that had European flair, but reflected Aztec influence and Mexican history. The museum of his name holds a collection of his art, including his most famous piece: "Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Almaeda Park."
Museo de Frida Kahlo (Casa Azul): If you had to debate who was more famous of the Mexican art-power couple: Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera, it could get controversial. Of course, Diego Rivera has his own museum and his famous wife does as well. Her career as a painter began as self-portraits, because she felt alone and called herself the subject she knew best. She often painted her personal experiences and her own reality. Inspired by her husband, she used his help and her personal exploration to become one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Her art is also influenced by Mexican culture, mythology and dramatic style. The museum of the same name is actually the house she lived in; making you feel like you are truly inside the life and spirit of Frida Kahlo.
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photo: Francisco Diez