While it’s now an unmistakable icon of the Santa María la Ribera neighbourhood, the Kiosco Morisco has a somewhat checkered history of relocation, relocation, relocation. Originally designed by a Mexican engineer named José Ramón Ibarrola, the original purpose of the very un-Mexican in design kiosk was (ironically) to represent Mexico on an international level as the Mexican Pavillion at the New Orlean’s International Exposition from 1884-1885, and at the Saint Louis, Missouri Fair in 1904. After this, it was moved back to Mexico and positioned next to the historic centre’s Alameda Central in 1906, briefly becoming the location for the National Lottery draws. However, its time in the Alameda Central came to an end due to the whim of President Porfirio Díaz in 1910, who decided he wanted to construct the Hemiciclo a Juárez in the spot occupied by the Kiosco Morisco. It was this twist of fate and fancy that led to it being relocated for a third time to its current home in Santa María.
Constructed entirely from steel, the Kiosco Morisco is most well-known for the gorgeously elaborate, Islamic-inspired geometric patterns that curl around the 44 external and eight internal pillars, as well as the ceiling and roof, which are topped by the dainty glass dome and bronze eagle. In fact, it is this detailing, along with the distinctive octagonal form of the kiosk, which has led many to believe it has astrological and magical significance. However, that’s not the strangest rumour the Kiosco Morisco has sparked, with many believing it was a gift from an Arab Sheikh or the idea that it was Chinese in origin.