Mexico and the entire Central American region is a cultural hotspot in all terms possible for it boasts with not only a rich history but also a somewhat mysterious one. What we are saying is that the transfer of power from pre-Columbian natives to the Spaniards has generated quite a few unanswered questions. These questions (and some of the answers to them) remain preserved within the bounds of the museums that we are going to list today.
1. National Museum of Anthropology:
Established in 1964, the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City is the largest and the most visited establishment of its kind in the country. To bring this into perspective, let us tell you that over 2 million people step over its threshold yearly. Situated proudly in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Mahatma Gandhi Street in Chapultepec Park, the archaeology museum contains some of the most important pre-Columbian artefacts in the world (the Aztec Stone of the Sun and the Xochipilli statue, for example). Run by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History), or INAH, it features not only some renowned Olmec stone heads but even a small model of the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan (do not forget that you can visit the actual Tenochtitlan site in central Mexico City). The permanent exhibition sections are called as follows: North, West, Mayan, Gulf of Mexico, Oaxaca, Mexico, Toltec, and Teotihuacan.
2. Amparo Museum:
Leaping away from the capital, we arrive at the city of Puebla. In its centre lies the famous Amparo Museum established in 1991 and funded by the Amparo Foundation. Harboured by two colonial-era buildings dating from the 17th and the 18th centuries (the Hospitalario), it is one of the most important historical museums of Mexico (it was the first one to integrate certain interactive items within its system such as multimedia devices and CDs). What’s interesting about it is that it attempts to track the history of Mexico from as early as 2500 BC. What this means is that it has extensive collections pertaining to the Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Huasteca, Totonac, Maya, Olmec, Chichimeca, Mixtec and Aztec civilizations. Know also that some of its collections have been lent to the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City (further bolstering its significance). Definitely a must-see!
3. Chapultepec Castle:
On the pinnacle of Chapultepec Hill resides our next entry, Chapultepec Castle. Situated at an imposing height of 2.325 metres, the castle draws its name from the Nahuatl word ‘chapoltepēc’ meaning ‘grasshopper’s hill’. Serving multiple purposes throughout history (military academy, presidential home, observatory, etc.), the castle is now the host of the National Museum of History. Featuring a great number of points of interest such as the Malachite Room, the Dining Room, the bedroom of Maximilian of Mexico, the Statues of the Niños Héroes, and the stained glass along some of its hallways, it has become one of the prime attractions of Mexico City. The establishment is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Oh, and let us not forget about the fact that in the 1996 film “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, you can see a few areas of the Castle presented as the Capulet Mansion.
4. Museo Soumaya:
Mexico City seems to take most of the entries of this list because its fine establishments are simply unignorable. Its Museo Soumaya was first established in 1994 on Plaza Loreto and later in 2011 on Plaza Carso. The exterior shell of the museum is probably the most striking architectural marvel ever to be created in modern-day Mexico and it was designed by master architect Fernando Romero. Boasting with being a non-profit organisation, it is dedicated not only to European and pre-Columbian art but also to 19th-20th century Mexican art. Harbouring a collection of over 66,000 items, it is visited by a staggering number of 1.1 million people annually (this makes it the most visited art museum in Mexico and the 56th one in the world). Important works displayed include: “La resurrección de Cristo” by Juan de Flandes; “La Virgen y el Niño en un nicho” by Sandro Botticelli; and even “Don Juan de Austria” by the world-famous Alonso Sánchez Coello.
Did you enjoy our list? Take to the comment section below and tell us all about your travels. Oh, and be sure to check back from time to time for some interesting updates and fresh content (wink)!