Angel of Independence

The Monument of Independence
Native name
Spanish: Monumento a la Independencia, Ángel de la Independencia
PaseoAngelBicylistsDF.jpg
Independence Column front view
LocationMexico City, Mexico
Coordinates19°25′37.1994″N 99°10′03.7554″W / 19°25′37.1994″N 99°10′03.7554″W / 19.426999833; -99.167709833
Elevation45 metres (148 ft)
Inaugurated byPorfirio Díaz
BuiltSeptember 16, 1910
Built forCentenary of Mexican Independence
RestoredSeptember 16, 1958
Restored byJosé Fernández Urbina
ArchitectAntonio Rivas Mercado
Gonzalo Garita
Manuel Gorozpe
Enrique Alciati (sculptures)
Architectural style(s)Corinthian column
Victory column
Governing bodyInstituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia
Angel of Independence is located in Mexico City Central
Angel of Independence
Location in central/western Mexico City

The Angel of Independence, most commonly known by the shortened name El Ángel and officially known as Monumento a la Independencia ("Monument to Independence"), is a victory column on a roundabout on the major thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma in downtown Mexico City.

El Ángel was built in 1910 during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico's War of Independence. In later years it was made into a mausoleum for the most important heroes of that war. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City, and it has become a focal point for both celebration or protest. It resembles the July Column in Paris and the Berlin Victory Column in Berlin.

Description

Victory on Column top

The base of the column is quadrangular with each vertex featuring a bronze sculpture symbolizing law, war, justice and peace. Originally there were nine steps leading to the base, but due to the sinking of the ground, an ongoing problem in Mexico City, fourteen more steps were added.

On the main face of the base facing downtown Mexico City, there is an inscription reading La Nación a los Héroes de la Independencia ("The Nation to the Heroes of Independence"). In front of this inscription is a bronze statue of a giant, laureled lion that guides a child, which symbolizes, according to Rivas Mercado, "the Mexican people, strong during War and docile during Peace."[1]

Next to the column there is a group of marble statues of some of the heroes of the War of Independence. The column itself is 36 metres (118 ft) high. The structure is made of steel covered with quarried stone decorated with garlands, palms and rings with the names of Independence figures. Inside the column is a two-hundred step staircase which leads to a viewpoint above the capital. The Corinthian-style capital is adorned by four eagles with extended wings from the Mexican coat of arms used at the time.

Crowning the column there is a 6.7 metres (22 ft) statue by Enrique Alciati of Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory, like other similar victory columns around the world. It is made of bronze, covered with 24k gold (restored in 2006) and weighs seven tons. In her right hand the Angel, as it is commonly known, holds a laurel crown above Miguel Hidalgo's head, symbolizing Victory, while in her left she holds a broken chain, symbolizing Freedom.