Casa de Cultura Azcapotzalco

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Photo: Thelmadatter on Wikimedia Commons

The Casa de Cultura Azcapotzalco is the former municipal hall for the alcaldía. It’s a historical building from 1891 ordered built by President Porfirio Diaz some ten years earlier.  Today the administrative functions of the local government have moved to the Parque Azcapotzalco, a few blocks to the north. But the building is remembered as one of the leading cultural centers in the area as well as for the variety of roles it fulfilled over more than a century.

The building is clad in quarried stone. The iron balcony rail actually dates to 1894, and other materials that went into the structure were ordered from all over the country. Today the building hosts a number of important exhibition halls and two gardens: Las Rosas and Naranjos. The rose garden has a bust honoring Manuel Gamio, one of the first historians to explore the history of the Azcapotzalco region.

The building is also replete with stained glass windows. Among them are 32 coats of arms of the states of the Mexican Republic. The building is probably most famous for the murals in the attached library. These were completed by Juan O’Gorman in 1925. Within the Casa de Cultura is another work, La Herencia Tepaneca en el Umbral del Tercer Milenio by the artist Arturo García Bustos. “The Tepaneca Heritage on the Threshold of the Third Millennium,” it dominates an entire stairway. At the top of the stairs is, fortunately, a key to understanding it. The mural depicts key points in the history of the Tepaneca people and their conflict with the Mexica of ancient Tenochtitlan.

The site of frequent workshops in the arts, the Casa de Cultura Azcapotzalco faces the Jardín Hidalgo and the former atrium of the Church. It’s an important point in the Azcapotzalco Centro but also a challenging educational setting for students and visitors.

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