Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City
The Paseo de la Reforma, the principal east-west traffic artery of Mexico City, extends for a total distance of 15km/9.3mi from Tlatelolco to the residential district of Las Lomas ("The Hills") on the city's western boundary. The principal section, however, is the stretch from the intersection with Avenido Benito Juárez to Chapultepec Park. This boulevard is 60 m (200 ft) wide, with six to eight traffic lanes, a green strip in the middle, busts of famous men (mainly heroes of the wars of independence, etc.) along the sides and large roundabouts (glorietas) at the intersections, with monuments or groups of trees. The patrician houses of the colonial period which once flanked the street have almost completely disappeared, to be replaced by tall modern blocks containing offices, hotels, restaurants, cinemas and shops. This magnificent avenue was originally laid out during the reign of the Emperor Maximilian to provide a direct link between his residence in Chapultepec Castle and the official seat of government on the Zócalo. It takes its present name from the reforming laws promulgated by Maximilian's antagonist Benito Juárez in 1861.
The next-but-one glorieta is dominated by the Independence Monument (Monumento a la Independencia), known as "El Angel" from the figure of a winged goddess of victory which stands on top of a tall column. This memorial, too, was a gift from the dictator Díaz on the occasion of the century of Mexican independence in 1910. At the foot of the 36 m (118 ft) column will be seen statues to the heroes of the movement for independence, such as Miguel Hidalgo, Guerrero and Morelos. Since 1998, on an occasional trial basis, the crypt with the skulls of the freedom heroes Hidalgo, Aldama, Allende and Jiménez has been opened to the public. The foundations of the column were made very deep to prevent it from sinking into the swampy subsoil. However, because the surrounding land sinks about 20 cm (8 in.) every year the monument "grows" in a most curious fashion, so that a new step has to be added to its base nearly every year.
Ministry of Health
Further to the left past the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, on the edge of Chapultepec Park, is the Ministry of Health (Secretaría de Salubridad), which boasts frescos and stained glass by Diego Rivera in some of its rooms. To the right, in a small triangular garden, stands the Diana Fountain with a statue to the goddess of hunting (Fuente de Diana Cazadora), nearby a monument to Venustiano Carranza and, beyond this, at the entrance to the park, a statue of Simón Bolívar, the hero of South American independence.
To the south-east of the Glorieta de Cristóbal Colón, by way of Avenidas Versailles and Atenas, stands the Citadel (Ciudadela), a Neo-Classical building completed in 1907 in which the independence leader José María Morelos was confined before his execution. It now houses the National Institute of Handicrafts (Instituto Nacional de Artesanía), with a school for the training of craftsmen, an exhibition of articles for sale and a library, the Biblioteca México.
Going south-west down the Paseo de la Reforma from Avenida Juárez to the first intersection, the Glorieta de Cristóbal Colón, the visitor will see the Columbus Monument by the French sculptor Charles Cordier, erected in 1877. On the base of the statue are the figures of learned monks who played a leading part in the settlement of Mexico and the integration of the Indians: Juan Pérez de Marchena, Diego de Deza, Pedro de Gante and Bartolomé de Las Casas.
Revolutionary Dome (Republic Square)
The Plaza de la República is the site of the huge Monumento a la Revolución, commemorating the 1910 Revolution. This was formed from an unfinished building originally commissioned by Porfirio Díaz to house law-courts. The columns of the dome-shaped structure contain the remains of the revolutionary leaders Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, Lázaro Cárdenas and Plutarco Elías Calles. The ground floor houses the Museo de la Revolución.
To the south of the Paseo, lies the district known as the Zona Rosa ("Pink Zone") or Colonia Juárez, which is bounded on the south by the Avenida Chapultepec. In this area, in which the streets are named after European cities, there is a great concentration of hotels, restaurants, cafés, night spots, art galleries and elegant shops.
Institute of Social Security
Behind the next roundabout after the Independence Monument, on the left, stands the Institute of Social Security (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, I.M.S.S.). The entrance is decorated with relief carving and sculpture by Jorge González Camarena, and the interior displays frescos by Camarena and Federico Cantú.
Museo Universitario del Chopo
A little way from the Monument de la Revolución, at No. 10 Dr. Enrique González M., is the Museo Universitario del Chopo. This large steel structure was brought here from Germany in the early 20th c. and erected by the German engineer Luis Bachmeister. It now houses exhibitions of works by Mexican painters and sculptors.
Address: Enrique González Martínez, #10, Mexico
Opening hours: 10am-2pm, 4pm-7pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constititución) (Feb 5), Mexico - Benito Juárez Birthday (Mar 21), Mexico - Battle of Pueblo Day (May 5), Mexico National Day (Sep 1), Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16), Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20), Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 12), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in MXN: Adult $4.00
Statue of Cuauhtémoc
In the centre of the next glorieta (roundabout) continuing south-west on the Paseo de la Reforma stands a statue of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec ruler. Here the Paseo is crossed by the 26km/16mi long Avenida de los Insurgentes, the city's main north-south axis.
Monumento a Cuauhtémoc
A tall bronze sculpture of the last Aztec leader stands along the Paseo de la Reforma. He is depicted shooting an arrow into the air. The sculpture is by Miguel Noreña (1843-1894).
At Calle Londres 6 will be found the Wax Museum (Museo de Cera) and Chamber of Absurdities ("Aunque Usted no le crea"/"You"ll never believe it"); on the same street between Calles Amberes and Florencia lies a market for clothes and craftwork.
Fuente de la Diana Cazadora
A statue and fountain of Diana the Huntress stands in Chapultepec Park, cast of bronze this statue was originally erected in 1942 and has been restored recently.
Paseo de la Reforma Pictures
Map of Mexico City Attractions