The Tlalpan Municipal Palace is on Parque de la Constitución, essentially the very center of the Centro de Tlalpan. The plaza, the Constitution Park, is more commonly called the Jardín Principal. It used to be the extended atrium of the San Agustin de las Cuevas church for which the city (of Tlalpan) had been named throughout the colonial period. Importantly, the garden is still home to the Arbol de los colgaldos” (The Hanging Tree). It was used for political and criminal executions, especially during the French Intervention in Mexico, and throughout most of the 19th century.
The extensive building was designed by the architect who created the beloved Ángel de la Independencia, Antonio Rivas Mercado. His former home is now a museum in the Guerrero neighborhood. And you can see much of his signature style here. Approved by the President, Porfirio Diaz, in 1898, the building was officially opened in 1902.
Like in his home, you can see some of the Neo-Classical style. His initials, “RM,” are still inscribed on the front door. As of 1964, the building was put to administrative use rather than as the seat of the delegation of Tlalpan. Beginning in 2020, it also began a thorough restoration process that included cleaning and restoring many of the ornaments and paintings on the inside.
Curiously, Tlalpan has not been a municipality since it was annexed (from the State of Mexico) to the then-Federal District in 1855. It was briefly the Capital of the State of Mexico from 1827 to 1830. The state government was briefly seated in the Antigua Casa de Monedas just around the corner. Tlalpan only became a “delegation” of the Federal District in 1928, and remained so until 2016.
Today, it’s still the largest alcaldía of Mexico City, but the building still gets called the Palacio del Municipio, and the Edificio Delegacional. Inside, the Salón de Cabildos is still often mentioned. This is in reference to the colonial era council-style government.
Today’s Tlalpan Municipal Palace is more properly an “Alcaldía Palace.” It sits with its back to the famous Mercado de la Paz which began construction in the same year. Facing the front door, the Tlalpan History Museum is across the street to the left, as is the wonderful Jaliscense Cantina. (It opened in the 1870s.)
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