Museo Anahuacalli

Museo 150, San Pablo Tepetlapa, Coyoacán, 04620 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5617 3797


It was Diego Rivera’s wish to share with the rest of his countrymen the massive amount of artifacts and pieces of work he had in his private collection of pre-Columbine art from Mesoamerica, so even before his wife Frida Kahlo’s death (she died in 1954), he had already conceived with her an imposing and magnificent museum that would be a worthy place that could house the artifacts of these ancient cultures that he loved so dearly for all of his life. Such was his fascination with the cultural legacy of his ancestors that the museum holds on display 2,000 pieces from the 50,000 pieces of his total personal collection.

The result was the imposing black pyramid-looking museum that’s in Coyoacán, 3 miles from Kahlo’s own Casa Azul and whose design was made by architects Juan O’Gorman, Heriberto Pagelson, and Diego’s daughter, Ruth Rivera. O’Gorman also designed the adjoining home studios where Rivera and Kahlo lived side by side for a while in San Ángel. The Museo Anahuacalli is a pyramid made from black stone obtained from the debris of the Xitle volcano eruption, the building forms a teocalli, the ancient building where the gods were revered, and the influence of the Teotihuacan culture is notable, especially in the boards, which recreate the image of Tlaloc the god of the rain. The building shows also Mayan and Aztec influences in its design throughout the museum’s different showrooms. The museum was opened in 1964, unfortunately, several years after Rivera’s passing, and even 10 years after the death of Frida Kahlo.

Anahuacalli means “house surrounded by water” in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs, and its concept, in general, was carefully crafted by Rivera with architect O’Gorman. The first floor which is dark and cool represents the underworld and houses sculptures and artifacts related to the gods of this region. The second floor represents earth and has on display figurines and artifacts used in daily activities. The third floor represents the heavens, and on the top floor, there’s a terrace where visitors can enjoy scenic views of Coyoacán. Access to the museum costs $80 pesos and probably the best way to get there is to get to “Xotepingo” light rail station (the light rail line connects with the terminal station of Metro Línea 2) and take an Uber or cab from the station.

The Museo Anahuacalli, along with the Dolores Olmedo Museum, is a place where you can go in and enjoy Diego Rivera’s way of thinking and living (Anahuacalli has some of his paintings too), particularly if you’re interested in getting to know about the man beyond his politically charged murals.


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