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Palace of the Marqués del Apartado / Casa de la Serpiente

marques apartadoFrancisco Fagoaga y Arozqueta inherited the position of “Apartador General de la Nueva España” from his father. The Apartador de Oro y Plata was an industrial establishment which took mineral from the mines to be  ground and melted. After melting and separating gold from the silver, the metals were returned to the owners who took them to the mint for coinage. Fagoaga inherited from his mother, Doña María Josefa Arozqueta de las Heras Alcocer, a mercantile house for imports and exports. In 1772, Fagoaga took up the title of Marquis of Apartado from King Charles III and then entrusted the Master of Architecture of the Academy of San Carlos, Don Manuel Tolsá, with the construction of his palace just a few blocks from the Plaza Mayor. This was in about 1796.

Over time, the building was modified for the offices of the Ministry of Justice and Public Instruction and for others. Archaeological excavations later uncovered the staircase of the Coateocalli, the House of the Serpent. These discoveries were made by Leopoldo Batres during the first excavations in 1901. This space was reserved, archaeologists suspect, as a house the gods of the lands conquered by the ancient Tenochca people, as war trophies.

Heart of México Walking Route:  Loreto-San Ildefonso Route 

< < Colegio de San IldefonsoAntiguo Colegio de Cristo > >

Photo: YoelResidente on Wikimedia Commons

The Palace of the Marqués del Apartado is the ten-year (1795-1805) work of Manuel Tolsá. One of the greatest late-18th-century works, today it faces the Templo Mayor site which was uncovered beginning only in the 1980s. At the corner of Calle de Donceles and República de Argentina, it's likely one of the least-known of Tolsá's works. It's an astounding work for it age. A work of strident Neo-classicism, the building has two facades on its respective streets, and three levels. Both facades are clad in quarried gray stone.
  • The Marquis of the Apartado refers to a title granted by the King of Spain to the descendants of Francisco Manuel Cayetano de Fagoaga y Arozqueta.
  • The Apartado de Oro y Plato was a proto-industrial organization founded in 1655. Dedicated to the extraction of gold and silver, it fell under the control of several owners.
  • Francisco Manuel Cayetano de Fagoaga y Arozqueta purchased it in 1718. The noble title was included with the purchase price. His descendants ran the Apartado for most of the 18th century, until 1778.
  • (One of the family homes is a historic landmark in San Ángel.)
  • In the 19th-century, the building served as the residence of several other wealthy families, while the Apartado was folded into the Casa de Moneda in 1848. At the end of the 19th century, it was taken over by the government and was used as headquarters of the Ministry of Justice and Public Instruction.
In 2005, the building came under the control of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). It's also they're headquarters. This is fortunate. Multiple artifacts related to the Templo Mayor site have been found in and under the building.  An unforgettable Cuauhxicalli (altar-piece) Eagle was discovered there in 1985 and is today in the INAH collection.

How to get here
  • República de Argentina #10, Col. Centro.


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