The Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento is the main seat of the Mexico City government. It’s home to a small museum and several galleries which are open to the public. The Cabildos Hall and the Francisco Gamoneda Documentation Center are also inside the building. The first City Council meeting was there on May 10, 1524.
- The legislative and administrative government of Mexico City was known as the Ayuntamiento from 1519 until 1928.
- The sister Mexico City Government Building, to the immediate east on the south side of the Zócalo, dates from 1948.
- The Salon de Cabildos is a meeting room which was redecorated in the Art Nouveau style in 1893. A raised platform overlooks seating for 119. The ceiling gears an oil painting by Francisco Parra. The outer walls holds portraits of some of the City’s most famous residents, among them Fray Servando Teresa de Mier. The room is open to the public and tours can be arranged.
- The Salones de Virreyes is two galleries containing the portraits of the 62 viceroys of New Spain beginning with Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco.
The building was begun under the orders of Hernán Cortés in 1522. An early version opened between 1527 and 1532. Pedro de Arrieta and José Miguel Álvarez are the two architects credited with that structure.
The earliest building undoubtedly used stones from the earlier Mexica temples. Built like a fortress, it served a function in protecting inhabitants from those forbidden to settle in the area. Only the foundations and a few walls of the original City Hall building remain.
In 1714, the City Hall was rebuilt in the Peninsular Baroque style, with arches and ornaments. That remodeling left it with much of its present appearance.
For the Centenary of the Independence in 1910, a further restoration added another floor and totally reconstructed the building. A fourth floor was added only in 1934. This coincided with planning for the twin Government of Mexico City Building next door. Construction began in 1941, and both buildings reopened in 1948. The Supreme Court building, on the southeast corner of the Zócalo, was built between 1935 and 1941.
But the Palacio del Ayuntamiento remains a particular focus of pride for the City. It’s also the sight of frequent press conferences and official events which will occasionally limit public access.