Mexico’s Own Parthenon: A Notoriously Crooked Cop’s Greek-Themed Playhouse

From 1976 to 1982, Arturo “El Negro” Durazo held a vast amount of power as police chief of Mexico City and he used this post to build himself an empire of corruption. In six years, El Negro managed to turn the entire Mexican police force into his personal racketeering scheme, and in that short amount of time, he also acquired a fortune. As with any illegal trade, cash must be funneled through legitimate means. Durazo built himself a palace and spent years throwing lavish parties and flying his friends in on police helicopters. Rumor has it that El Negro was a worshipper of the devil and that he held prisoners hostage and forced them to fight tigers. If they survived, they would be freed. The debauchery in the murals on the walls speak for themselves. By the presidential election of 1982, moral reform of Mexican government was demanded and El Negro fled the country. He was eventually caught in Costa Rica and served a long-term prison sentence. Upon his arrest, the palace was abandoned and looted. What remains today is a skeleton of what once was a temple of greed. This replica of the Greek Parthenon still sits atop the hills of Zihuatanejo like a scar on the city’s landscape. For a small bribe, the groundskeeper will grant you access, and you can experience the hedonism for yourself.

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