Murals have always been a staple of artwork around the world. Excluding the luxurious wall murals in Pompeiian villas, most murals—modern ones, at least—adorn building’s exteriors and are meant for public consumption. But in few cases are the murals so big that they stretch across multiple buildings, or even multiple neighborhoods. Just north of Mexico City is Pachuca de Soto, the capital city of the Mexican State of Hidalgo, which boasts one of the largest murals in the world.
Sitting atop the hills that constitute most of central Pachuca are the Cubitos and Palmitas neighborhoods. They are known for their sparse public infrastructure—so sparse that the houses furthest up the hills can only be reached on foot. Both neighborhoods were proposed as the site of a collective art work spearheaded by the Mexican government’s Nos Mueve la Paz (“We Are Moved by Peace”) outreach program, to address and reduce crime rates in the area.
The artwork was created by artists from the street art group Germen Crew, along with many of the neighborhood’s residents. They painted nearly every wall of every building on the hillside with waves of color meant to evoke the winds that give Pachuca its nickname of La Bella Airosa, or “The Windy Beauty.” The waves fan out from one building to next, giving the two neighborhoods a continuous, flowing look.
While the jury is still out on whether the Macromural’s social initiative aspects have succeeded, the 209 colorful buildings of the neighborhood have become a touristic attraction since the mural was completed in 2015. With its total painted area reaching 40,000 square meters, it is the world’s largest mural, besting a mural in Arkansas by tens of thousands of feet.
Know Before You Go
Pachuca de Soto is about an hour and a half northeast of Mexico City by car. The Cubitos and Palmitas neighborhoods are in the center of town. There's also a bus to Pachuca directly from the Mexico City airport.