KEYWORDS: monuments, history, travel, tourism, lakes, mountains, pyramids
CHAPULTEPEC PARK AND PALACE
El Bosque de
Chapultepec (Grasshopper Hill) is Mexico City’s largest oasis and one of
the loveliest places. In many locations such as Chapultepec Park ( millions of grasshoppers rubbed their wings and made the chirping sound, which resonated throughout central Mexico, and thus the name), is home to forests, lakes and several important sights and
attractions, most of which are located at and near the
Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main thoroughfare.
Situated at the end of a long paved path near the main entrance to
the park, is the Monumento a los Niños Heroes (Monument of Young Heroes),
one of Mexico City’s most important monuments. Built in 1952, it honours
six young cadets who refused to surrender to American troops during the
Battle of Chapultepec in 1847.
The path starting from this monument, leading to the top of Chapultepec
Hill, goes to the Castillo de Chapultepec, formerly an imperial palace and presidential residence. Today,
Chapultepec Castle houses the country’s National History Museum, the Zoo and various museums including the most important National Museum of Anthropology. From the hill top, is laid out the the panoramic view of the Mexico City.
After visiting Chapultepec Park, you can take a leisurely stroll along the
Paseo de la Reforma. It is like being in Madrid, after visiting the Museo del Prado, Los Sibeles, you take a cool walk along the Paeo del Retiro. Several interesting Mexico City sights and
attractions are located along this main boulevard including the
Monumento a la Independencia ,popularly known as El Angel (The Angel) which was inaugurated by the then president of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz, to commemorate the 100 years of the Independence of Mexico. It is one of the emblematic monuments of the city and is a cultural icon and a place for festivals and national celeberations
La Diana Cazadora (Fountain of Diana the Huntress) whose real name was The Arrow thrower of the Northern Stars "La Flechadora de las Estrellas del Norte.
The young girl who posed nude for the sculptor was called Helvia Martínez Verdayes. The bronze sculpture was elaborated from April to September 1942 and once finished, the figure of the young model, who worked without any remuneration, was immortalised and the sculpture placed in El Paseo de la Reforma, one of the beautiful avenues of the city of Mexico. Replicas of the statue were thereafter, erected in many cities in the country.
A wide pedestrian promenade extends along the
middle of the boulevard, reminding you that you may be in La Rambla in Barcelona, making it easy to explore this area of the city
on foot. On Sunday mornings the Paseo de la Reforma is closed to motorised
traffic, to enable the city’s cyclists to have a free rein in the congested and polluted city.
PALACIO DE BELLAS ARTES
Mexico City's imposing Palacio de Bellas
Artes (Bellas Artes Palace), located west of the
Zocalo, next to the Alameda Central Park, is a beautiful and impressive building,built of white marble. The original work, commissioned by President Porfirio Diaz, to replace the previous National Theatre, was started by the Italian architect Adamo Boari in 1904, in order it to be finished in time to commemorate the centenary of Mexican Independence in 1910. However, the work was stopped, first because of the swampy sub-soil, and then because of the break of the Mexican Revolution against longtime autocrat Porfirio Diaz (who had ordered the construction in the first place), which lasted until around 1920. At
the end of the Revolution, Mexican architect, Francisco Mariscal,
continued the project, and the landmark was finally inaugurated in 1934.
The Palace hosts exhibitions and theatrical performances and is the main
venue of the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. It hosts visual arts, dance, music, architecture and literary events.
There are two museums housed within the building: the Museo del Palacio
de Bellas Artes and the Museo Nacional de Arquitectura (National Architecture
Museum) which occupies the top floor of the building. There are epic
murals on interior walls on the first and second floors by some of
Mexico's greatest artists, including Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco,
David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo.
One of the highlights of the Palace is the glass curtain in the main
theatre. Designed by Mexican artist Dr. Atl, aka Gerardo Murillo, and
built by Tiffany of New York, this impressive stage curtain is a
stained-glass fold able panel, representing the landscape of the Valley of
Mexico with its two great volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztacchihuatl.
When we visited the Palace, there was a
concert going on in the theater, and next to it, in a very posh restaurant, full of
people in elegant dresses, enjoying their lunch. We of course came out,
crossed the street and on the opposite side, went to a restaurant atop
the Sears Roebuck building. You see, it was lunch time and we were
getting hungry, walking the Alameda and window shopping the busy
EL TEMPLO MAYOR
Under the city lie the ruins
of the pre-Hispanic Aztec capital, once known as Tenochtitlan. At the
centre of this ancient empire was the Templo Mayor, the most important
religious area for the Aztecs. The discovery of thousands of objects used for religious ceremonies, figurines, masks and a giant sculpture of the goddess of the moon and a huge monolith made in her honour, was a major archaeological find. Archaeologists discovered it under the
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral in the
mid-1900s and excavated in the 1970s.The Spanish Conquerors destroyed the temples and built over the great temple of Tenochtitlan.