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Casa de la Marquesa de Uluapa

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Casa de la Marquesa de Uluapa
Photos: Henryficar on Wikimedia Commons

 

The Casa de la Marquesa de Uluapa is a beautiful, though mis-named 18th-century house in the City Center. It was originally at number 9 Calle Monterilla, today’s 5 de febrero. The house never belonged to the Marquesa de Uluapa. She was the daughter of Diego Estrada y Galindo, who is thought to have descended from one of the Spanish Conquistadors named Francisco Franco.

Estrada y Galinda was well positioned in the Cathedral of Guadalajara. He received the titles of Vizconde de Estrada and Marquis de Uluapa, by royal decree in 1710. The Marquis de Uluapa title likely derived from his estate in Michoacan. His daughter, María Luisa, inherited the titles in 1726.

In what records exist, the property is referred to as “the house at number 18 of 5 de febrero street.” By the 19th century, the Marquis of Uluapa actually did purchase a nearby house.

An original building here was created at the behest of the conquistador Hernando de Avila in the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century, that house was demolished and a Nicolás Cobián y Valdés built the home we see today. It was built between 1762 and 1766.

The main feature of the house is a series of six tile murals. These are well-treasured by those who visit. They’re also highly unusual in not depicting religious subject matter. Life-sized images present servants, among them butlers and laundresses. One is believed to be the wife of one of the owners, Ensign Don Nicolás Cobián y Valdés.

The façade has two levels with a mezzanine, a common feature of 18th century homes. The mezzanine used to serve as an office for the owner of the house and had a separate entrance. The main entrance is elaborately flanked by sculpted plants, chain links, scrolls, mollusk shells and grotesque masks.

The house is not open to the public. But merely passing by, the attentive will catch a distinct image of a past that was not long ago.

Mexico City

Cultural Capital of the Americas