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Moorish Kiosk
Santa María La Ribera / Image of Santa María La Ribera / Other attractions

Address: Alameda de Santa María La Ribera
Zona: Santa María La Ribera
Metro: Buenavista

As the symbol of an entire district the Moorish Kiosk was, from its creation, one of the most characteristic constructions of the area of Santa María la Ribera.

The Moorish Kiosk is located in the centre of Santa María la Ribera Road, on the corner where Dr. Atl and Salvador Díaz Mirón streets meet.

The history of this kiosk dates back to the end of the 19th Century, when it was designed by the Engineer José Ramón Ibarrola as Mexico’s Pavilion for the Universal Exhibition of 1884 – 1885 and for the St Louis Missouri Fair in 1902.  The structure of this kiosk (comprised of several arches and Mohammedan columns) is completely made of iron, a fashionable material in that time, and is thought to have been cast in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in ovens owned by the Northamerican magnate Andrew Carnegie who was a friend of the kiosk’s designer.    

After having participated in both exhibitions, the structure was brought back to Mexico in the beginning of the 20th Century and was installed to one side of the Central Alameda, in front of the Ex-Convent of Corpus Christi. During its time in this place, the Moorish Kiosk was host of the National Lotery raffles. Later, during the centennial celebrations, President Porfirio Díaz ordered for the Hemicycle to Juarez to be installed in that place. Because of this, and because of a petition from the people who lived in the Santa María la Ribera district, the kiosk was changed to its actual location, where it has turned into the community’s meeting place and its great pride. This pride has fed a lot of myths about this construction, from the fact that it was donated by an Arab sheik to its association with astrological and magical aspects because of its octagonal shape and the great number of geometric decorations on it. The fact is that this kiosk stands out because it’s the only construction of its kind in the city. Several activities take place in the kiosk, from concerts of classical music or of popular bands, to neighborhood meetings or ballroom dances; they all grant this place a vitality that has been alive for more than 100 years.  Mexico, D.F. 2008. All rights reserved.