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Museo del Palacio Universum — Oaxaca City, Oaxaca


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Neoclassical Architecture, Museum     (B)
Even though the neoclassical former governor’s palace housing this museum was built in 1884, long after the waves of extravagant baroque construction had receded from the city, it is still one of the most elegant and impressive buildings in the city. Facing north, the front of the museum, which is lined with arches, spans the entire southern edge of the Zócalo, a full city block wide. Three large courtyards, also lined with arches, fill the interior, about half a city block deep. Lively murals cover the walls of the center and eastern stairwells, painted by Arturo García Bustos in the 1980s, the murals celebrations of México’s Independence and the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Aztec cultures.

Today, the museum hosts the occasional special event and a modest collection of rotating art exhibits. Set aside in a small corner of the western most of the three courtyards, the exhibits are dwarfed by the immense building surrounding them, making the moniker of museum something of a stretch. More so than the exhibits, the architectural beauty of the building itself and the two murals tucked away in the staircases are what makes this place worthy of a visit.


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