Mexico City has a marvelous history, all within reach. Just stroll the city, and you will find many sites that testify to the life that prevailed in different eras, as do the historical buildings of the Colonia Roma. The capital city has changed drastically over the years, from pre-Hispanic constructions, some of which are still preserved, to the creation of European-style neighborhoods and buildings that can be found, above all, in neighborhoods such as Colonia Roma.
This area is one of the most vibrant in the capital. Colonia Roma goes back to 1903 when a large piece of land called the Potreros de Romita was bought by a group of wealthy men to develop a new housing project. Since then, buildings of different eras and styles have been built, some of which are still standing, giving life and enriching one of the most famous neighborhoods in the city, Colonia Roma.
Built in 1922, the Balmori building is one of the iconic constructions of the Roma neighborhood, a French-style design that draws the attention of pedestrians who walk in front of it. Shops were established on the ground floor, but the main occupancy was housing. In addition, at that time, to provide recreational options, a movie theater was adapted to this construction, which no longer exists.
In 1990 a group of artists took over the building with the sole purpose of preserving it, as it was going to be demolished to build a shopping mall. They improvised an art gallery as the first resource. Their effort paid off. This historic property still stands and has been declared an Architectural Heritage by the National Institute of Fine Arts.
Orizaba # 102, corner with Avenida Álvaro Obregón.
“THE HOUSE OF THE WITCHES”
Some buildings of Colonia Roma are also surrounded by legends, as “the house of the witches”, which was built in the year 1908 by the engineer RA Pigeon, who probably did not imagine that his work would inspire prominent Mexican writers.
This Gothic-style construction stands out for its elongated windows, it’s brick façade and a tower that has a hat-shaped tip. School children of the neighborhood associated this shape with the hats worn by witches and so named it in this manner. The name still sands!
One of the most famous stories about this place is that of “Pachita”, a woman who lived in the building’s service area, and who, according to urban stories, was a shaman (white witch) who practiced healing, a situation that enhanced the legend about this property.
The fame of “the house of the witches” grew so much that even several writers were inspired by it. The plot of José Emilio Pacheco´s novel “You will die away” takes place in this building.
Authors such as Sergio Pitol and Carlos Fuentes are among the writers who were inspired by this peculiar building. They wrote “El Parade del Amor” and “La Cabeza de la Hidra”, respectively.
This famous building is located exactly on the corner of Rio de Janeiro and Durango streets.
PARROQUIA DE LA SAGRADA FAMILIA
There are numerous churches in the city. The Parish of the Holy Family located in Colonia Roma is an iconic building of this area for its imposing architecture.
This temple, the first of its kind in the neighborhood, began construction in 1910 and it was until 1925 when the work was completed, a neo-Gothic parish that became a reference point of Colonia Roma.
The architects Manuel Gorozpe and Miguel Rebolledo were in charge of designing. Since its inaugural year, it attracted the attention of tourists and locals by the polychrome stained glass windows that give it its essence.
Colonia Roma´s visit would not be complete without stopping over its churches and parishes. Like other emblematic buildings, they bring together not only local inhabitants but also tourists who want to learn a bit of the tradition of this neighborhood.
Calle Puebla # 144, corner with Orizaba.
Without a doubt, the history of a city is accessible through its constructions, which not only witness the passing of time and the traditions of different eras, but also hide legends that reflect the culture.
Many historic buildings of the Colonia Roma have been saved by artists and famous authors have written novels inspired by them. It is a must-see for tourists.
In addition to “The House of the Witches”, the parish of the Sagrada Familia and the Balmori building, many others are worth visiting: El Parián shopping passage, the replica of the Fuente de la Cibeles (Madrid), Casa Lamm, the House of the Book of the UNAM, the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Renaissance Institute.
If you want to visit these properties, your best choice is lodging at Stanza Hotel, located precisely in Colonia Roma. Stanza Hotel is near to all the artistic, cultural and gastronomic displays that outlines this area of the city.
Located on Álvaro Obregón Avenue, after touring the neighborhood and learning about its history, you can enjoy a delicious meal at our restaurant Maiz y Olivo, were you can try the new proposal of Mexican food with a mediterranean touch, something that will undoubtedly end your walk through the streets of Colonia Rome with a golden touch!