2015 APR – CHAPULTEPEC CASTLE

View from the castle to downtown and the Angel of Independence at the end of the boulevard.  Note the monument columns  to the Cadet Heroes in the foreground

View from the castle to downtown and the Angel of Independence at the end of the boulevard. Note the monument columns to the Cadet Heroes in the foreground

The castle is built in the middle of a very large park of several acres which was a sacred spot for the Aztecs. It has had a number of uses over the years, most recently it was the home of the president until they moved the Presidents to Los Pinos and converted the castle to a museum. It is the only castle in North America that was actually used by royalty, namely Emperor Maximilian I and his beautiful wife, Empress Carlota.

Maximilian 1 - the Spanish sovereign who lived in the castle

Maximilian 1 – the Spanish sovereign who lived in the castle

Construction began on the castle in 1775 when Mexico was still under Spanish rule, so work stopped and started depending on the largesse of Spain.

Maximilian 1 bedroom

Maximilian 1 bedroom

Eventually the government of Mexico City bought the building in 1806 but during the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821) it was abandoned.

In 1833 it became a Military Academy and in 1847 the “Hero Children” died defending the castle when it was under attack by the United States. Even though the cadets were very young, the staunchly defended the castle against the US soldiers, but when it looked hopeless one young cadet said he would not let the Mexcian flag be taken by the US, so he wrapped himself in it and jumped from the watchtower to his death. Today the child cadets are honored with a large mural as well as a room dedicated to their struggle.

Castle on the hill.  You can just see the watchtower on the roof's highest point

Castle on the hill. You can see the watchtower on the roof’s highest point

 

In 1864 the Emperor of Spain, Maximilian 1, moved in with his family and made alterations to make the castle more suitable as a residence for royalty. He also built a straight boulevard from the castle to connect it to the city center – it was so inconvenient taking the circuitous route that existed at the time. Today you can look down the boulevard and see the Angel of Independence standing on her podium.

Empress Carlota's room

Empress Carlota’s room

Once again the status of the castle flip flopped until finally in 1939 it was declared a National Monument, the president moved out, and the castle was repurposed as a museum.

Exquisite ceiling detail

Exquisite ceiling detail

And more ceiling detail

And more ceiling detail

Hallway of goddesses

Hallway of goddesses

Detail of the Hallway of goddesses

Detail of the Hallway of goddesses

 

Huge mural depicting historic events in Mexico's past

Huge mural depicting historic events in Mexico’s past

Incredible embroidered detail of a man's jacket.  Just gorgeous - I stared at it for ages!

Incredible embroidered detail of a man’s jacket. Just gorgeous – I stared at it for ages!

The indigenous indian that started the whole ruckus and ultimately gained Mexico independence from Spain

The indigenous indian that started the whole ruckus and ultimately gained Mexico independence from Spain

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