By Roberto Escartín
Alameda is the first park of the City, where the illuminated fountains combine with the quiet court yards of ancient convents and the glamour of the Opera House (Bellas Artes) . This mood goes back to 1592 when the Viceroy Luis de Velasco ordered its creation in the packed space of Mexico island-city. The initial planted poplar trees didn't succeed, but other kinds of trees formed an small forest, an ideal frame for seduction. Later, in the western tip of the square was chosen by the Inquisition for the infamous punishments.
The modern shape of the garden dates from the end of the XVIII Century when it was enlarged. Geometric pathways and fountains made it's adornment, enticing elegant ladies and their flamboyant slaves to prance around. During the Romanic Era some cheerful sculptures where laid along the causeways; the most remarkable is the Benito Juárez Monument, in the South border, set up in 1910.
Around the park you'll find the exquisite Franz Mayer Collection, featuring amazing furniture and glittering pieces of silver from colonial times as well as temporary design exhibitions. In front of Hilton Hotel there is a small square and a museum containing the outstanding Diego Rivera Mural that depicts his vision of the park life and History in a wonderful array of characters from different eras. On the South Side, you can also visit the Museum for the Memory and Tolerance, an impressive contemporary installation featuring historic facts that should never be forgotten. Nearby, casual beer bars and a Chinese alley offer authentic Cantonese food organize New Year's festival around February every year. Modern skyscrapers in the south side of Alameda park have completely changed the environment of this area.
Since year 2000, office buildings, new apartments, museums and splendid hotels combine with the traditional ways of life of San Juan district, one of the most renown culinary market hubs in Mexico City.
Enjoy Alameda park with a guided tour, that can give you immense number of details and understanding about this fascinating area.
By Roberto Escartín
Attending Mexico City’s Opera House is one of the most rewarding artistic experiences in Mexico City. Locally known as “Palacio de Bellas Artes” since is a theater, but also a fine arts museum, and a landmark in the city of palaces. It is placed where a nunnery used to be in Colonial times, canceled by the XIX Century urban development to become a factory and shops. During those days, another theater, Teatro Nacional, used to be the hub of social life, but Porifirian regime created it in 1905 to display the elegance and refinement this society was looking for, included a ball room on the upper floor. You can admire in the impressive marble and bronze sculptures, integrated with the Art Nouveau eclectic building, designed by the Italian architect Adamo Boari. But the new theater, located next to Alameda Park wasn’t finished until 1934, after the Mexican Revolution, with a complete new concept: the modern and nationalistic Art Deco style was imposed to the lobby and exhibition rooms, which today show mural paintings by famous artists and great temporary exhibitions. Today, Bellas Artes is the venue for the National Symphonic Orchestra, The Folkloric Ballet and the Opera Company, a truly delight of locals and visitors.
Staying in Alameda area can be a good option, as many of the city's museums are located nearby, and fast and easy transport is available as well as some restaurants.
Hilton Reforma (*****)
70 Juarez Avenue, in front of Alameda Park
Phone: +52 55 5130 5300