Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another Gem

Now matter how many times I visit Mexico City, I always discover something I had not seen before.  I guess that's to be expected in a city of twenty million people.

Yesterday afternoon was warm and sunny.  So after I had completed my shopping at the San Juan Market, I decided to do some walking rather than go back to the apartment right away.  I walked down Ayuntamiento Street heading west.  All of the stores seemed to be devoted to electrical and plumbing supplies and to floor tiles.  Occasionally there would be a man outside of one of the stores with a sign saying that he did plumbing or tile work.

I soon reached La Ciudadela Market, another place specializing in Mexican handicrafts. But since I had already bought everything I wanted to buy, I bypassed the market, crossed the adjacent Park of La Ciudadela, and came to the large colonial building which gave its name to both the park and the market.  "La Ciudadela" (The Citadel) was built late in the colonial period to serve as the Royal Tobacco Factory of New Spain.  After Mexico won its independence, the building was converted into a military barracks and storage place for munitions.  During the Mexican Revolution it was the scene of much fighting when General Victoriano Huerta staged a coup d'etat against the legally elected president, Francisco Madero.  In the 1940's the building was converted into The Library of Mexico.

I had passed La Ciudadela a number of times when going to the market, but it wasn't until yesterday that I had ventured inside.


The interior of the colonial building contains numerous courtyards or "patios".  One of them has been roofed over and converted into a reading room.  The blending of styles between the nineteenth century building and the modern renovations was quite interesting.

In one of the "patios" there were a number of small flowering trees.  The trees had long seed pods, and, looking at the flowers, I am pretty sure that they are vanilla trees.

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