The San Lázaro Legislative Palace is the official seat of the Chamber of Deputies and the Congress of the Union. Mexico’s Federal Legislative Palace, it’s on the site of the former San Lazaro train station. Built by order of then President José López Portillo, it was part of a broader development program throughout the country, and especially for this section of the eastern part of the Center City.
Inaugurated on September 1, 1981, in 1988, the building was severely damaged in a fire and had to be extensively rehabilitated. It only reopened in 1992. As the permanent meeting place of the Chamber of Deputies (equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.K. House of Commons), it’s also the seat of the entire Congress of the Union. Here, the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) meets in conjunction with the Senate (the upper house, roughly equivalent to the U.K. House of Lords).
History of the Congress
After the passage of a political reform law in 1977, the number of deputies in the Chamber increased from 186 to 400. The former meeting place, the Palacio Legislativo de Donceles, was too small, overnight. That facility is now occupied by the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City.
It’s important to note that another Legislative Palace project, begun in 1897, was interrupted by the Mexican Revolution (1910 – 1920). Newly elected President Francisco I. Madero continued to finance that project until 1913. It then remained unfinished, until it became the Monument to the Revolution, only finally completed in 1938.
The construction of this new Legislative Palace finally began as part of a plan to rehabilitate the area where the San Lazaro Station had been closed. This was in the newly created borough of Venustiano Carranza. A new Federal Palace of Justice was built at approximately the same time, in the same area.
Most visitors from the general public visit the Legislative Museum, although the museum helps coordinate tours of the rest of the facilities. It can be reached via Metro San Lázaro. There are a number of sites of interest in the wider area too.