Monumental Mansion of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández

Surrounded by dark volcanic stone walls, stories from Mexico’s golden age of film mingle in the Casa Fortaleza (Fort House) that belonged to the Mexican director.

Created in the Mexican architectural style reminiscent of hacienda estates in Puebla, this massive house also harbors memories of when Emilio discussed his movies’ screenplays with Gabriel Figueroa and Mauricio Magdaleno, or when he had his bohemian get-togethers with Diego Rivera, Juan Rulfo, María Callas, and Frida Kahlo. Or the time Marilyn Monroe learned to drink tequila… And several recollections with influential figures in cultural life in the 20th century.

Throughout the house, bits of art are tucked here and there—baptismal fonts and figures of saints from Puebla, the kitchen covered in Talavera tiles, pre-Hispanic elements on the patio, paintings and pieces from old buildings—all of these lend a unique beauty to this creation by architect Manuel Parra.

Every other weekend, you can learn more about “El Indio” Fernandez’s legacy and see his bedroom, look at photos, enter the room where Agustín Lara played piano, and wander through the light-filled spaces. On the Day of the Dead and on December 12, the doors are opened to share the altars and displays of faith. Classes on Mexican cuisine are also taught.




Monumental Casa de Emilio El Indio Fernández, Ignacio Zaragoza, Santa Catarina, Ciudad de México, CDMX, México

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