La Ciudadela

sights / Squares & plazas

Lonely Planet review

The formidable compound now known as ‘The Citadel’ started off as a tobacco factory in the late 18th century, though it’s best known as the scene of the Decena Trágica (Tragic Ten Days), the coup that brought down the Madero government in 1913. Today it is home to the Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos , with holdings of over 300,000 volumes and an extensive map collection. The central halls are given over to art exhibits.

Centro de la Imagen , the city’s photography museum, is at the Calle Balderas entrance. This innovatively designed space stages compelling exhibitions, often focusing on documentary views of Mexican life.

Across the plaza, inside the Centro de Artesanías La Ciudadela , vendors offer a wide array of crafts from around Mexico, including black pottery from Oaxaca, guitars from Michoacán and silver jewelry from Taxco.