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A Time Capsule in Mexico City

by planetnomad on December 28, 2011

At three pesos for a single ride, Mexico City’s Metro is more than just an affordable deal. It presents an opportunity to be adventurous and traverse parts of its staggering sprawl to encounter wonderful surprises. With more than 150 stations crisscrossing the varied neighborhoods, there’s something to be found in each of them.

The San Cosme Metro station in colonia Santa María la Ribera is a perfect spot to encounter one of these “wonderful surprises”. Not too many blocks from this Station is the structure that’s come to be tied to the identity of this neighborhood just west of the Centro. Many refer to it as the “Mexican Alhambra” but, it’s best known as “El Kiosco”. It’s the grand and finely detailed Moorish Kiosk that’s been fixed here since 1910.

Designed by the engineer Ramón Ibarrola, it was constructed for Mexico’s participation in the 1884 New Orleans World’s Fair. Later, in 1904, it would be disassembled, crated and shipped again to the States where it would represent Mexico at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Upon its return to Mexico City it was reassembled and given a home in the City’s green space of the Alameda. It sat there, directly across the Ex-Convent of Corpus Christi. It remained there until 1910 when it was placed in colonia Santa María la Ribera, its current location.

This structure, more than just a pleasant “discovery” near some Metro stop,  represents an era when World Fairs predominated the international landscape and helped bridge unity and partnering across borders. It captures a spirit and level of tolerance for countries’ uniqueness that, sadly, may never be witnessed again. In spite of this, it behooves us as travelers and stewards of history to remind the younger generations to appreciate relics of the past and dig deeper into the story of their existence for the invaluable lessons captured.

I am a contributing writer for the Mexico Today Project, which, along with Marca País – Imagen de México “ is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.”

Disclaimer:  **Please note that I am being compensated for participation in this project and for attending its launch in Oaxaca. Also note that all posts and written contributions by me will be expressed in an unbiased form with all opinions reflecting my own.

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