The Castle in the Middle of a City

The only castle that served as a residence for royalty in North America

By Google Arts & Culture

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Castillo de Chapultepec

Located in the highest part of Cerro del Chapulin and surrounded by the Chapultepec forest, this building offers a privileged view of Mexico City.

At the time of the Aztec Empire, this site was ideal for studying the movement of the stars, which explains why during some stages of its history it was converted into an astronomical observatory.

During the monarchy, Emperor Maximilian and Empress Charlotte decided to occupy the rooms facing the east because of the view offered by the panoramic terrace towards the Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcanoes.

This 18th-century construction has had various uses throughout its history: observatory, a military academy, imperial and presidential residences, and it currently houses the National Museum of History.

The privileged location, the historical value and the architectural beauty of this landmark make it impossible to diminish its prominent role.

Chapultepec Castle 3 (2014-04-25/2014-04-25) by Alberto Loyo

Built with chiluca stones, cedar beams and other woods brought from local forests, the current Alcázar has undergone various modifications.

The current appearance was reached at the time when it was the imperial residence in which the gardens and the panoramic terrace were designed.


The Castle was sought to be a showcase of artistic and technological progress in Mexico, thus a large stained-glass window on the eastern terrace and an elevator were installed.

Chapultepec Castle 2 (2020-02-25/2020-02-25) by Andrés Mallen

It still remains as the only castle in North America that actually served as a residence for royalty: Emperor Maximilian and Empress Charlotte lived there.

The first building, a recreation house for the newly arrived viceroys, was seriously damaged by an explosion. The current building was built in 1785 by engineers Francisco Bambitelli and Manuel Agustín Mascaró.

The tower is known as “Tall Gentlemen”.

The first film exhibition in Mexico was held in one of the rooms of the castle in 1896.

Did you know that the Castle was used during the filming of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet film?

This construction has always been present in the history of Mexico, not only because it crowns the Chapultepec hill or because it now serves as a history museum that houses pieces of great value, the building itself is a masterpiece of architecture.

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