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01.27.2010

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Casa de los Azulejos
Attractions of Mexico City

Address: Francisco I. Madero on the corner with Callejón de la Condesa
Area:
Historical Centre
Metro: Bellas Artes
Opening Hours: Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 22:00 hrs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having already been for several decades the “flagship-store” of one of the most important commercial emporiums in Mexico, the Old Palace of the Counts of Orizaba, also known as Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles), is a unique construction in the Historical Centre because of its peculiar faҫade and years of tradition which make it a compulsory visit if you're in Mexico City.

The Palace of the Counts of Orizaba was built in 1793 on the corner of the Condesa alley and Plateros street, which is now Madero street. The main element of its exterior is its colourful faҫade which was covered with talavera tiles just to flaunt the enormous wealth the Counts achieved in the late 18th Century.

During the 19th Century the estate was owned by various people, until finally, in 1881, the elegant Jockey Club, one of the most exclusive meeting places of the porfirian elite, was established there. The Casa de los Azulejos changed owners once more in 1919, when it was used as a warehouse for Walter and Frank Sanborn, two brothers who, after two years of restoration, offered a commercial concept new to Mexico at the time by adapting the existing construction into a soda shop, restaurant, magazine and gift shop, pharmacy and cigar shop among other services all into one. The shop, which later became a commercial chain, was a complete success from the moment of its inauguration and has become one of the most distinctive shops in Mexico.

Inside, the area of the restaurant is of particular interest as its located on the house's old patio with a fountain at the centre and surrounded by stone and wood arcades. Adjacent to the restaurant, there's a mural painted on the vault of the stairway that leads to the second floor, which was made by José Clemente Orozco in 1925.

The Casa de los Azulejos was declared a national monument on February 9th 1931. Free admition.

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