La Ciudadela

La Ciudadela showing markets

La Ciudadela

After the unlikely change from a tobacco factory to a prison, this building has evolved to a library surrounded by arts, dance and handicrafts.

Now the city’s primary library, La Ciudadela has served a variety of roles over its 200 years of Mexican history. Come to this former tobacco factory to visit the library or stroll around the neighboring streets to purchase souvenirs or see local art and handicrafts.

Architect José Antonio González and engineer Miguel Constanzo built the Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Tobacco Factory) in 1807, but local residents quickly called it La Ciudadela for its citadel-like shape. Note the unadorned façades of this simple one-floor structure.

Soon after the Mexican War of Independence began in 1810, the building became a military headquarters and prison. The leader of the revolution, the Roman Catholic priest Jose María Morelos y Pavón, was held captive here before his execution. A century later, many people were executed in the building during the country’s Decena Trágica (Ten Tragic Days) ending Francisco I. Madero’s democratic government. Reflect upon this violent past as you visit the quiet library of the present.

The Biblioteca de México and the Centro de la Imagen now occupy the 200-year-old building. Do some reading or research at the library or attend a photography exhibition at the Image Center.

Outside the building find the Plaza Morelos, a square with trees, a monument to Morelos and two bronze fountains. On weekends take advantage of free dance lessons in this spot that has become known as Plaza del Danzón (Cuban Dance Square). Walk just beyond the square to the Mercado de Artesanias La Ciudadela, where you can purchase colorful souvenirs and local handicrafts from more than 300 vendors representing more than 20 Mexican states.

Find La Ciudadela in Mexico City’s historical center near Alameda Central. Take the metro and stop at Balderas. The library is open daily except holidays and the image center is open Tuesdays through Sundays. While you are in the area, visit the Palace of Fine Arts or attend a Sunday concert in Alameda Central.

Top Hotels Close to La Ciudadela

Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
4 out of 5
Paseo De La Reforma 80, Col. Juarez, Mexico City, CDMX, 6600
The price is NT$2,361 per night from May 22 to May 23
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Reviewed on 2022/5/14

Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
4.5 out of 5
Paseo De La Reforma 1, Mexico City, 06030
The price is NT$2,971 per night from May 22 to May 23
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Barceló México Reforma
Galeria Plaza Reforma
Galeria Plaza Reforma
4 out of 5
Hamburgo 195 Col Juarez, Mexico City, 06600
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is NT$2,643 per night from May 21 to May 22
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Mexico City. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and a rooftop terrace. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the ...
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Reviewed on 2022/5/13

Galeria Plaza Reforma
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in La Ciudadela


Best Lodging Options Near La Ciudadela

ibis México Alameda
ibis México Alameda
3 out of 5
Balderas No 49, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City, CDMX, 6040
The price is NT$1,182 per night from May 22 to May 23
ibis México Alameda
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
4 out of 5
Paseo De La Reforma 80, Col. Juarez, Mexico City, CDMX, 6600
The price is NT$2,361 per night from May 22 to May 23
Fiesta Americana - Reforma
Barceló México Reforma
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4.5 out of 5
Paseo De La Reforma 1, Mexico City, 06030
The price is NT$2,971 per night from May 22 to May 23
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Galeria Plaza Reforma
Galeria Plaza Reforma
4 out of 5
Hamburgo 195 Col Juarez, Mexico City, 06600
The price is NT$2,643 per night from May 21 to May 22
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Hilton Mexico City Reforma
Hilton Mexico City Reforma
4.5 out of 5
Avenida Juarez 70 Colonia Centro, Mexico City, 06010
The price is NT$3,666 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
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Sevilla Palace Hotel
Sevilla Palace Hotel
3 out of 5
Avenida Paseo de La Reforma 105, Mexico City, 06030
The price is NT$1,941 per night from May 21 to May 22
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Hotel Casa Blanca
Hotel Casa Blanca
3.5 out of 5
Lafragua No. 7, Col. Tabacalera, Mexico City, CDMX, 6030
The price is NT$1,573 per night from May 20 to May 21
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Ramada by Wyndham Mexico City Reforma
Ramada by Wyndham Mexico City Reforma
3 out of 5
Puente De Alvarado 22, Col. Tabacelera, Mexico City, 06030
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Zocalo Central Mexico City
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4 out of 5
Cinco de Mayo 61, Centro Historico, Mexico City, 06000
The price is NT$3,405 per night from Jun 1 to Jun 2
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Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.