Holy Week 2019 in México City26 November, 2023
Chapultepec, everything you need to know to visit it26 November, 2023
Every street and avenue in Mexico City has a story to tell, and Paseo de la Reforma is no exception, especially if we take into account that it is a road that has witnessed different historical stages that marked the country.
Reforma is one of the main avenues of the capital and due to its length, which exceeds 12 kilometers, it is also considered one of the largest; It is full of monuments, parks and other attractions that are worth knowing.
Before talking precisely about these attractions, we are going to delve a little into the history of this emblematic road, which, like other areas of Mexico City, had a European influence from the moment its construction was planned.
Maximilian of Habsburg, the emperor of Mexico, ordered the construction of the Paseo de la Reforma influenced by his wife, Carlota Amalia of Belgium, who - according to legends - complained to her husband about her absence from Chapultepec Castle because the bad news Road conditions prevented him from arriving.
The emperors lived in the castle and to get to this property the roads were very different from the way they are today. Reforma was a dirt road guarded by many trees and bushes, around them there was nothing, only large green areas.
For this reason, Maximiliano decided that it was time to build the Paseo de la Emperatriz, the name with which this road was born, whose straight line shape was to connect the Chapultepec Castle with the Glorieta del Caballito.
The engineer Luis Bolland Kuhmackl, the architects Carl Gangolf, Ramón Rodríguez, as well as Santiago Rebull, Miguel Noroña and Felipe Sojo, artists from the Academy of San Carlos, were the men who were in charge of designing and giving life to the Paseo de la Reforma.
As we mentioned at the beginning, this road had European influence since the emperor ordered its construction, as he requested that it have many trees, a wide median (like Álvaro Obregón Avenue) and also be decorated with fountains and sculptures.
The work began and after a while, the first section of the avenue was completed, which was called Paseo de la Emperatriz, in which only people from the imperial court could travel.
However, the construction of Paseo de la Reforma was suspended during the presidency of Benito Juárez (between 1858 and 1872) and it also changed its name, since at that time it was known as Paseo Degollado.
After Juárez's death, the new president Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada ordered that work to finish the road be resumed. However, it was Porfirio Díaz who influenced this avenue to adopt the appearance it currently has, full of trees, sculptures, monuments and old mansions of which are preserved to this day.
In 1920 this avenue increased its extension to what is now Lomas de Chapultepec; Later, in 1957, a new extension was made, but now on the north side, towards what is now the Calzada de los Misterios.
Chapultepec, a tourist symbol of Reforma
Changes and a long history are something that characterizes Paseo de la Reforma, an avenue along which you can find various tourist attractions, the most popular of which is, without a doubt, Chapultepec.
The history of “Chapulín Hill” is just as interesting as that of Reforma, in 1325 Chapultepec was classified as a sacred place and several years later, in 1530, Emperor Carlos Quinto ordered that it become property of Mexico City.
In this way, the first viceroys who lived in Mexico visited Chapultepec to take short walks and hunt animals. For this reason, Viceroy Luis de Velasco ordered a pleasure palace to be built on the slopes of this hill, but it was destroyed in 1784 due to an explosion.
But the viceroys were not satisfied with that, so in 1785 Bernardo de Gálvez ordered the construction of another palace, this time on the top of the hill, and this is how Chapultepec Castle was born.
This site went through different historical stages, for example, it served as the headquarters of the military college until the bombing it suffered from the United States in 1847, it was the imperial house of Maximilian and Carlota, and also the presidential house of several leaders, including Porfirio Diaz.
The Castle's function as a presidential residence ended in 1939, when it was declared that it would be the headquarters of the National Museum of History, a cultural space that was inaugurated on September 27, 1944.
In this Museum, as its name indicates, different stages that marked the history of Mexico are shown, from the conquest of the Spanish, the creation of New Spain, the War of Independence and the arrival of the 20th century, with inventions such as the television.
Mexico City Monuments
In addition to Chapultepec, Paseo de la Reforma has other places worthy of attention, which beautify this road and also remained as witnesses of the events that marked the history of our country.
Although different monuments can be seen throughout the Mexican capital, those located along Reforma have a special charm, which many people want to capture with their cell phone cameras.
Angel of the Independence
The Independence Monument is a brilliant representation of the Winged Victory, which is located on Paseo de la Reforma, in a roundabout between Río Tiber and Florencia streets.
The construction of the entire monument began in 1902, when Porfirio Díaz laid the first stone of the structure that supports the Angel.
As part of this symbolic act, the president placed a chest inside the structure, in which there was an act of independence and coins from that time.
The entire work is due to three important men: Antonio Rivas Mercado, the architect; Enrique Alciati, the sculptor; Roberto Gayol, the engineer.
Together with all their equipment, these men began the work, but in 1906 a problem arose, one of the sides of the structure was beginning to sink, so they had to demolish everything and start again.
Finally, the work to build this monument ended in 1910, precisely the year in which the centenary of Mexican independence was commemorated.
The sculpture of the Winged Victory was made with bronze and taking into account from the floor to the tip of the Angel, in total the monument measures 94.66 meters.
There is a fact that not many know, and that is that on July 28, 1957, an earthquake damaged this symbol of Paseo de la Reforma, so a new sculpture had to be built and the Angel of Independence was reopened on September 16 from 1958, with an image that lasts to this day.
Without a doubt, it is one of the most representative symbols of all of Mexico City, which impresses national and foreign tourists with its beauty and history.
The Diana Cazadora
Another very important monument that beautifies Reforma is the Diana the Huntress, which is actually called The Arrow Shooter of the North Stars, a little-known fact, but very interesting.
This emblematic fountain is located between Mississippi and Sevilla streets, it was designed by the architect Vicente Mendiola Quezada, while the sculpture of the goddess was made by the sculptor Juan Fernando Olaguíbel.
The work to give life to this monument began in 1938, until on October 10, 1942, the Diana the Huntress Fountain was inaugurated by the president of that time, Manuel Ávila Camacho.
This fountain was built with the objective of beautifying Mexico City, by order of Javier Rojo Gómez, who was regent of the then Federal District. For this, it was sought that a woman could represent Diana, a Roman goddess of hunting.
The chosen one was Helvia Martínez Verdayes, a 16-year-old model who was immortalized as Diana the Huntress, which at first caused controversy because it showed the naked body of a woman; However, it is currently a symbol of the capital's culture.
A little further north, but also on Reforma, is the Monument to Cuauhtémoc, which was built thanks to Vicente Riva Palacio, who wanted to honor in some way the last Mexica emperor that our country had before the Spanish conquest.
It all began in 1877, when Riva Palacio called on sculptors and architects to choose the winning work from the many that participated in a public competition.
The architect Francisco H. Jiménez was the winner, as his work brought together elements of pre-Hispanic architecture. Thus, the first stone of the monument was laid on May 5, 1878 and it took nine years to finish building it.
This important symbol, located at the intersection of Paseo de la Reforma and Insurgentes Avenue, has at the top of its structure a sculpture of Emperor Cuauhtémoc, which is guarded by eight bronze leopards that give an imposing image to this capital monument.
Insurgentes, a famous and popular road crossing
The active life of Mexico City can be seen reflected in one of the most famous road intersections it has, it is Insurgentes and Reforma, which is located right in the central area of the capital. Insurgentes Avenue is the busiest and largest road in the Mexican capital.
Along it there are corporate areas, other residential areas and some more that are dedicated to commercial activities. Precisely the area that includes the crossing that we already mentioned is easy to recognize because a few steps away is the Monument to the Mother and nearby there is also the Monument to Cuauhtémoc and another one dedicated to Christopher Columbus.
However, that is not all that characterizes this intersection, there are also restaurants, parks and some museums that are worth visiting, for example, the Chocolate Museum. This open-air gallery is filled with color every Sunday, it is an excellent opportunity for people to buy works of art directly from their creators, in a totally familiar and safe environment.
And at the intersection of Reforma and Insurgentes we cannot fail to mention the new headquarters of the Senate of the Republic, which was inaugurated on April 13, 2011. It is a set of buildings with light colors, which contrast with the greenery. of the trees in Reforma.
In addition, photographic exhibitions showing the life of Mexico are regularly held within the gates of this enclosure, and if that were not enough, there is a small park with benches for people to take a moment to rest after touring Reforma.
In this way, for everything that gives life to Paseo de la Reforma, we can say that it is a road that is worth traveling through, to be surprised by each of its charms and remember a little of its history.
Also, near this avenue, you will find some of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city, such as Roma and Condesa. In these charming places, you will find the best accommodation in Mexico City, from boutique hotels to hotels with terraces and their own restaurant, such as Stanza, a place that combines the best of the mix between practicality and comfort.
Another attraction close to Insurgentes and Paseo de la Reforma is the Art Garden, a space that since January 23, 1955 has exhibited the works of different artists in the open air, such as sculptors, painters, engravers and photographers.