Casa China - Atlas Obscura

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Casa China

A mysterious, abandoned Chinese building in Mexico pays homage to the area's East Asian immigrants. 


For sale since 2017, Valladolid’s Casa China (Chinese House) is a very large building, painted in bright shades of red, green, and yellow, that stands out thanks to its East Asian-inspired architecture. With two guardian lions flanking the entrance and pointed, tiled finishes on the roof in the classic Chinese xieshan roof style, the building’s main influence comes from Chinese architecture. The Yucatán Peninsula is known for its history of immigration from East Asia, especially from China and Korea.

Migration peaked during the boom of the henequén, or sisal, fiber industry. Not unlike other booms in the Americas, such as the Gold Rushes or Canadian and American railroad expansion, East Asian laborers were underpaid and forced to work under exploitative conditions. Over the centuries, the East Asian and Mexican communities would intermix, especially since the Yucatán did not see anti-Chinese movements like those that occurred in the country’s northern states.

The city’s Chinese-Mexican community often used the Casa China building as a meeting place. Eventually,  it became the property of the municipal president, who even used it as an office, preferring it to the City Hall. By 2017, it lay abandoned, however, and was put on the market.

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