< Go Back

Nacional Monte de Piedad, Palacio de Axayacatl

Photo: Thelmadatter on Wikimedia Commons

The Nacional Monte de Piedad is of interest to international visitors mostly for its main headquarters building on the northwest corner of the Zócalo in Mexico City. Established in Mexico 1774 and 1777, it’s founder was Pedro Romero de Terreros, the first Count of Regla being just one of his titles. His home is a famous landmark, and he owned much of the property surrounding the present day Metro El Rosario.

Route of the Resistance
Route of the

But the organization’s roots actually go back to  the Monte di Pietà movement which began in Perugia, Italy, in 1450. The Franciscan-run Orden de Menores Observantes de San Francisco provided financial assistance in the form of no-interest loans. A Spanish variant was founded in Madrid, and Romero de Terreros brought it to Mexico in the late 18th century.

  • The building we see today is on the site of the “Old Houses” of Moctezuma II’s father, Axayacatl (1453-1483). Beneath the floors of the Monte de Piedad lie the foundations of the Palace of Axayácatl, which was briefly the quarters of Hernan Cortés’ retinue when they first arrived in Tenochtitlan.

The “New Houses” were across the Zócalo at the site of today’s National Palace. The façade of the current building dates from 1775. The coat of arms of the Count of Regla is still above the main doorway, and a bust of Pedro Romero de Terreros is still inside. A third floor was added in 1948. A small museum occupies what had been a chapel until 1926.

The building was extensively remodeled in 1984 and a fire in 2004 caused some damage. What had been some 35 branches in the Republic grew astonishingly in recent years. Today there are some 200 branches in Mexico with plans to expand to every city in the country.

What operates as a micro-credit and pawn-shop has successfully integrated into much of Mexico’s finance world. It’s especially useful for very poor patrons, and for those without regular access to traditional banks or credit.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nacional Monte de Piedad is a private non-profit institution founded by Pedro Romero de Terreros in 1775. His objective was to help people in need through small loans. The building is on land once part of the Palace of Axayácatl. This was later part of the giant State and Mayorazgo del Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca, a title granted by Carlos V to Hernán Cortés. Withn the houses of the marquis, there was a luxurious silk market, in imitation of the market of the Alcaicería in Granada. Over time the houses were sold and lost, except for the corner of Empedradillo and 5 de Mayo, where the Monte de Piedad has been located since 1836. The building has been restored and in the main courtyard the spectacular work "Versión celeste" is by the artist Vicente Rojo (1932 - 2021).

Heart of Mexico Walking Tours: Zócalo - Ruta Templo Mayor

< <  Old City Hall | Gran Hotel de CDMX > >

  Palacio de AxayácatlUpon arriving in Tenochtitlan, Hernán Cortés and his troops were housed in a Palace belonging to Axayacatl (1449–1481). With the fall of the ancient city, Cortés took both the Palace of Moctezuma and of Axayacatl for himself. The first was sold to the Spanish Crown and became the Palace of the Viceroys. The second was awarded to the Marquisate of the Valley of Oaxaca (a title awarded to Hernán Cortés and his descendants). The first house that the conqueror built was made with recycled material from old Tenochtitlan. Later other buildings were built on the site. A relief of an eagle and a floor from 1521 are the recently discovered remains at the site where the National Monte de Piedad survives today.  

Heart of Mexico Walking Tours: Ancient Route

< <  El gran Tzompantli | Huellas del México Antiguo bajo Catedral > >

Proyecto “Corredor de Cultura Digital”.

Nombre de la investigación: Investigación Centro Histórico, Monumentos, Edificios y Puntos de Interés (2023)

Dirección de investigación y diseño de Rutas: Acércate al Centro A.C. Guadalupe Gómez Collada

Coordinación e investigación histórica: Fideicomiso del Centro histórico Dir. Maestra Loredana Montes


Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México

A landmark hotel on the edge of Mexico City's main plaza . . .

Templo Mayor Archaeological Site & Museum

One of the most important sites in the city, even today, don't miss the chance to visit the Templo Mayor.

El Zócalo

There's no center like the very center, and in Mexico City, that means el Zócalo!

The National Palace / New Houses of Moctezuma

One of Mexico City's proudest, most enormous parts of history, the Palacio dominates the entire east of the Zocalo.

Catedral Metropolitana

The first Cathedral to have been built in the Americas.

Practical guides and services