Discover the Palacio de Correos in Mexico City
By Sofía Egurrola |
The Postal Palace (Palacio de Correos) is one of the architectonic wonders located in Mexico City’s Historic Center. Discover its treasures and secrets.
Visiting Mexico City’s Historic Center may seem like a daunting activity. With so many things to see, is it possible not to miss something? In the past, we have visited places such as the Latin American Tower, and the Alameda Central Park. Today, DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, invites you to visit the Postal Palace. Located right next to the Palace of Fine Arts, the Postal Palace is an architectonic masterpiece you will not want to miss.
From young messengers running to give their tlatoani the priest’s message to mailmen slipping bills through door slits, mail has always been part of Mexican people’s lives. The palace, also known as the Fifth House of Mail in Mexico, is located in Mexico City’s Historic Center, and it’s one of its more eye-catching enigmas.
The Italian Architect Adamo Boari
The Postal Palace, also known as Palacio de Correos or Quinta Casa de Correos, is one of Mexico City’s many palaces. Something that surprises many visitors is that in spite of its appearance, it wasn’t built too long ago. Finished in 1907, the Postal Palace is barely older than a century. It was built during the presidency of General Porfirio Díaz to house the growing Mexican postal system, since the headquarters’ building, what today is the Museum of Cultures, was not large enough.
The president organized an international contest so architects from all around the world could send in their designs. The winner was the Italian Adamo Boari, who later would also design the Palace of Fine Arts located across the street. Boari chose to build the palace where the house of Isabel Moctezuma (daughter of Mexica ruler Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin and, according to some accounts, Hernán Cortés’s lover) was located centuries ago. Years later, this place was also a hospital of the Franciscan order.
Construction of the Postal Palace in Mexico
Its construction began in 1902 and took five long years. During that period the Mexican Revolution was already brewing. On February 17th 1907, President Porfirio Díaz and his wife arrived at the inauguration ceremony in an open carriage. With the National Anthem playing in the background, General Díaz inserted two postcards in two mailboxes. One of them was sent to Mexico City and the other one to a different state. Once the ceremony ended, the building’s doors were opened to the public, and employees were ready to begin a new day’s work.
The Architectural Beauty of the Palacio de Correos
You might be wondering what you can do in a place like this, and we have many options for you. The Postal Palace has a lot to see, so bring your camera. For starters, its splendid architecture is one of the things that stands out the most.
At the main entrance you’ll find a hall framed by a pair of staircases that ascend in a spiral shape to the second floor. You’ll see a colorful glass dome that lets the sunlight in. With its geometric and nature-inspired motifs, the balustrade is a work of art and a great example of art noveau’s elegance.
The colors inside the building range from cream to light yellow and gold. This color palette stands out even more with the crystal chandelier and the round lamps that accompany the view. The use of electric light is evidence of how important this place was, since electricity and public lighting were the most celebrated innovations of the time. Another fact is that its old elevators still work! In a few words, the eclectic mixture of architectural styles ranging from art nouveau to Isabelline Gothic make the Postal Palace a treat for the eyes.
Visit the Postal Palace Museum
The Postal Palace also has its own museum, which you can visit for free. There you’ll find a lot of items related with the history of mail in Mexico and abroad. For a small amount of money, you may also buy a stamp and send a letter anywhere in the world using the palaces historic mailboxes. You’ll have a great souvenir waiting for you back home! The Postal Palace also offers guided tours mostly in Spanish. They’re given by the Post Office staff that will allow you to explore the beautiful rooms inside the building. We definitely recommend visiting the fourth floor at dusk for an amazing view.
Night of Museums at Palacio de Correos in Mexico
If you are lucky enough to be in the city on the last Wednesday of the month, you’ll have the chance to experience Mexico City’s Night of Museums. This event is hosted by Mexico City’s Secretary of Culture from 19:00 to 22:00. In this event, the city’s museums organize special activities you can only enjoy this night!
10 Treasures that You Can’t Miss at the Postal Palace
For those who love a little adventure, DINKtravelers provides you with a list of works scattered around the Postal Palace, waiting for you to discover them. It’ll be like a scavengers hunt!
- The clock – Back when it worked, it would be winded every eight days. The locals said it could be heard miles away.
- The Library – It’s open for visits Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 17:30. It’s located on the second floor. Here you can find many books and documents on the history of mail and stamps.
- The two art pieces by Pablo Magaña González – They are made of stamps rejected between 1890 and 1934. One of them, an eagle, is located on the first floor. The other one, showing the Anahuac Valley, is located on the second floor.
- The crystal domes – They’re located in the main courtyard and the mailmen’s courtyard. They were designed by Adamo Boari, and they are responsible for the natural light that illuminates the palace.
- The frieze – The dates engraved on it are key to the history of mail in the world. They reflect the art noveau style.
- The flags of the Postal Union’s founding countries – You can spot them in the coats of arms, which are located just above the frieze, between the arches.
- The window handles – Like many things in the Palace, they are in a very good state, so they still open and close the windows.
- The dragons – Commonly known as “the gargoyles”, these dragons are wrapped around the lamps.
- The lions – With their claws out and their mouths open in a big roar, they guard one of the entrances of the Palace.
- The signs of the Fonderia del Pignone – The Fonderia was the Florentine company that provided the iron and bronze decorations for the Palace. There are a couple of signs scattered around the castle.
General Information to Visit the Postal Palace
- Opening days and hours: Daily from 8:00 to 18:00 h on weekdays and from 10:00 to 16:00 on weekends.
- Location: It’s located at the corner of Tacuba and Eje Central. The address is Tacuba 1, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City.
- Design and amenities: The Palace has three floors, but the only one that doesn’t require an appointment is the ground floor.
- Nearby Metro stations: Bellas Artes, Allende.