The Palacio de Bellas Artes is the Mexico City Palace of Fine Arts. An important cultural center for the capital city, the palace features theater performances, ballet, and opera. While performances still operate on a normal basis, many tourists arrive during the day to admire the Beaux-Arts architecture and to see the palace museum inside. There is also a restaurant, bookstore, the National Museum of Architecture, and murals by famous Mexican artists including Diego Rivera at this popular destination. Boasting a sweeping exterior with impressive gardens and places to relax and enjoy the sun, this opera house in Mexico City is a must-see, whether you’re attending a performance, visiting during the day, or adding both activities to your itinerary.
The history of the Palacio de Bellas Artes is an intriguing one. The first National Theater of Mexico, which was built in the late nineteenth century, was once located on the site where the palace stands today. President Porfirio Diaz decided in the early twentieth century that a more opulent building should replace the simple theater, and construction began in 1904. The extensive construction of the Mexico City Palace of Fine Arts was planned to be part of the centennial celebration of the country’s independence from Spain, but when the Mexican Revolution began 1910, work on this beautiful building was interrupted. Ultimately, the opera house in Mexico City was not finished until 1934.
Some visitors today aren’t aware that the Palacio de Bellas Artes is still an active theater. This national monument is so striking that many assume it to only function as a museum. The exterior is made of marble, and reflects the taste of Italian architecture. The interior is Art Deco in style, and has a few features that inspire awe in the crowds. There are a few main attractions of the theater, but for many travelers, the stage curtain is their favorite. This piece of Tiffany stained glass details a panoramic view of the Mexican valley, and its beauty often surprises visitors. Other works of art in the theater include murals by Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and Jose Clemente Orozco. If you’re interested in the history and artwork of the building, the bookstore has a variety of detailed information on the palace and artists.
If you’re planning a visit to the Mexico City Palace of Fine Arts, keep in mind that it is open to the public every day at 10 am. For some extra information about the history and significance of the theater, join the guided tour on Tuesday or Friday at 1 or 1:30 pm. A restaurant, gift shop, and bookstore make this a great place to spend a rainy day in Mexico City. Located on the western side of the Centro Historico, the Opera House in Mexico City is close to many other historical attractions as well, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral. If you have a little extra room in your budget, enquire about tickets for an opera, ballet, or dramatic performance. Seeing the Palace of Fine Arts filled with an excited crowd is again a different experience from exploring its treasures during the day.