This site had been occupied by a fortress since the days of the Aztec, although the present palace wasn't built until 1784. When open, the castle offered a beautiful view of Mexico City. During the French occupation of the 1860s, Empress Carlota (who designed the lovely garden surrounding the palace) could sit up in bed and watch her husband, Maximilian, proceeding down Reforma on his way to work. Later this was the official home of Mexico's president until 1939. In 2004, archaeologists discovered an ancient Teotihuacán settlement behind the landmark. They are currently working on excavations, which are expected to demonstrate that the Teotihuacán culture spread and influenced the area around Mexico City earlier than previously thought, sometime between A.D. 300 and 600.
- © Frommer's 2013
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