The Antigua Alhóndiga is the old Corn Exchange building, built as a grain warehouse. It was later converted to residential and commercial uses. It was restored between 1962 and 1963.
The first Mexico City grain exchange was established in 1573. It was moved here in 1620, and the street has borne the name ever since. The construction of the building we see today began in the early 18th century. This is indicated by an inscription on the façade. You’ll want to note the pontifical coat of arms. Beneath it, the inscription reads: “Storehouse where the seeds of the tithes to the Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Mexico are sold. Finished on October 15, 1711.” For that inscription, it was long known as the “Casa del Diezmo.” Really, that’s the House of Tithes.
When the tithes to the Catholic Church were later reduced, the authorities turned the building into a multi-family residence. The government took over the building in 1857. They actually sold it to one of the tenants. It’s currently occupied by offices of the National Institute of Anthropology and History. The original patio lined by columns with Tuscan capitals is intact.
One of the most important service buildings from New Spain, it was built here at the side of the old Acequia Real – the Royal Canal. Grain was shipped here by that means. The old bridge was reconstructed at the end of the 20th century.
The street outside is often packed with vendors. Spend some time here and you may see that the Barrio La Merced has not changed all that much.