Past the eastern end of the Plaza Tapatía, you’ll find the Hospicio Cabañas Cultural Institute. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the massive stone building was constructed in 1805, but its fortress-like appearance gives it a more ancient air.
Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas y Crespo founded the institute as an orphanage and home for the elderly and homeless. He called it la Casa de la Misericordia, or The House of Mercy. Interrupted occasionally by major wars and revolutions, the building functioned as an orphanage for nearly two hundred years until 1980, when the children were moved to a more modern location. Today the gracious old building hosts art exhibits, art and music classes, and an art cinema.
The cultural institute now contains 23 courtyards, a theater, a collection of folk art and a regular roster of temporary exhibits, but it’s best known for a chapel adorned with 57 frescos by world renowned muralist José Clemente Orozco. The site also houses the world’s largest collection of the Orozco’s drawings. Guided tours of the building and murals are available on the half hour.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am-6pm. Admission is 70 pesos; kids and seniors 20 pesos.