Plaza Tolsá

sights / Squares & plazas

Plaza Tolsá information

Mexico City , Mexico
Getting there
Metro: Bellas Artes
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Several blocks west of the Zócalo is this handsome square, named after Manuel Tolsá, the illustrious late-18th-century sculptor and architect who completed the Catedral Metropolitana. He also created the bronze equestrian statue of the Spanish king Carlos IV (who reigned from 1788 to 1808), which is the plaza’s centerpiece. It originally stood in the Zócalo.

Unfortunately a botched restoration job using a nitric-acid solution recently left part of the statue's surface badly damaged. King Carlos rides in front of the Museo Nacional de Arte . Built around 1900 in the style of an Italian Renaissance palace, the museum holds collections representing every school of Mexican art until the early 20th century. A highlight is the work of José María Velasco, depicting the Valle de México in the late 19th century.

Opposite is the Palacio de Minería , where mining engineers were trained in the 19th century. Today it houses a branch of the national university’s engineering department. A neoclassical masterpiece, the palace was designed by Tolsá and built between 1797 and 1813. Visits are by guided tour only. The palace contains four meteorites that struck northern Mexico, one weighing more than 14 tonnes. There's also a museum on Tolsá’s life and work.