El Angel de la Independencia, Mexico City
The el Angel de la independencia, Mexico City or more commonly shortened to just El Angel is one of the iconic land marks of Mexico City. The golden statue of the Greek god Victory stands high above the constant traffic passing along the Paseo de la Reforma, and the monument celebrates the struggle for independence from Spain. The lower levels of the monument have been transformed into a mausoleum with key figures from the independence movement buried below. The El Angel is a focal point for Mexico City with national celebrations and protests centred around the patriotic monument.
Tourist Guide El Angel de la Independencia
For visitors the El Angel de la Independencia has a viewing platform just below the base of the victory statue which provides great views along Mexico City’s main avenue. This climb of the 36 meter column is only advised for those in very good health and not susceptible to claustrophobia as the 214 steps are narrow and steep. Small groups of visitors of approximately 12 are taken on a tour which lasts for 15 minutes. Though the El Angel was created to champion victory and inspire Mexican self-belief the monument has had its fair share of calamities and accidents both during its construction and later due to natural disasters.
History of the El Angel de la Independencia Mexico City
The idea for a central statue was conceived by President Diaz in 1902 who wished an iconic monument as the focal point for the centenary celebration of the independence from Spain. Unfortunately there was a disconnect between the inspirational vision and its construction. The first stone was ceremonial laid by President Diaz on the 2nd January 1902 and the foundations were hurriedly dug so that the monument could be show to be being progressing quickly.
The problem with construction in Mexico City is that much of the sub soil is clay based and with the water table constantly dropping foundations need to be deep and strong. The first rushed reincarnation of the El Angel de la Independencia did not have the foundations suitable for a 45meter and many hundred tonne monument.
On the 14th May1906 as the monument had reached 2/3 of its intended height the stain on the outer walls became too much under the slightly shifting foundations and the entire monument collapsed. This disaster came as a major embarrassment to President Diaz who made sweeping changes to the company charged with the construction of El Angel. The monument was rebuilt at a much slower pace and with deep and solid foundations and was completed in time for centenary celebrations in 1910.
The deep re-dug foundations helped keep the monument standing during the 1957 earth quake but the massive quake shock the statue of victory from its standing. The 7 tone golden coated statue tumbled to the ground and cracking into irreparable pieces. The statue took a year to be re-cast and was reopened in 16 September 1958.