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Palace of Autonomy: UNAM


Photo: Patricia Alzuarte Díaz on Wikimedia Commons

The Palace of Autonomy (Palacio de la Autonomía) celebrates the notion of that big, political word that so confounds international visitors. In fact, freedom from government control, academic freedom, had to be fought for and won, by students, professors, academics and researchers. The reverberations are still felt today. The word Autonomous still needs to be spoken every time one names one of these government-supported, public universities. Today, still a part of UNAM, the palace is the site of a number of museums. The Building The Palace building went up in the decades after the Reformation had closed the Santa Teresa Monastery. Built of white stone quarried near Pachuca in Hidalgo, the style is eclectic, combining elements from a number of other styles. Some of the foundations rest on a perimeter wall which surrounded the Templo Mayor site. After the fall of ancient Tenochtitlan, the space had been reserved for the Casa de Monedas mint. But soon after became part of the Santa Teresa la Antigua monastery complex. When that complex was closed by the Reformation, this part was converted to residential units. The Porfirio Díaz government soon took over this section and had the present building constructed early in the 20th century. By 1910, it was housing the Normal School of Teachers. This was soon folded into the National University of Mexico which came to be UNAM. The building served as the UNAM dean's offices, and the papers founding the University were signed here in  1929. When most of UNAM moved to University City (CU) in 1953, it began serving as the National School of Dentistry. The dentists then moved to CU, too, in 1958. The building then became the School of Nursing and Obstetrics, and then part of the National Preparatory School until 1978. Today it serves as the Museum of University Autonomy, which also hosts a Salon of Mexican Dentistry, a temporary exhibition hall, and an archaeological exhibition. The university radio station UNAM-FM also have studios and archives in the building.

How to get here


Licensiado Verdad

Nearest at 0.01 kms.

La Casa de las Sirenas

Nearest at 0.2 kms.

Recomendado por CANIRAC

El Mayor

Nearest at 0.2 kms.

Recomendado por CANIRAC


Templo de Santa Inés

The first target of the counter-reformational Academy of Art . . .

Casa de la Primera Imprenta (Casa de las Campanas)

One of the Center City's most important cultural centers with a small fascinating museum...

Academia Nacional de San Carlos

The first Academy and Museum of Fine Arts in the Americas...

Santa Inés Convent

The former Santa Inés Church & Convent provides some lively competition on a City Center street.

Royal and Pontifical University / Museo UNAM Hoy

A museum dedicated to one of the oldest institutions in the hemisphere and its long role in Mexico City.

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