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Mexico Travel - Chapultepec Park And Castle
( Originally Published 1939 - Presented For Historical Purpose )
EITHER THE TACUBA CARS OR THE VILLA OBREGON CARS going away from town will pass through the AVENIDA CHAPULTEREC. It is an interesting street, and there are many things to see on the way. At the corner of the Avenida Chapultepec and the Avenida Balderas (at this corner the Avenida Chapultepec changes its name and becomes the Arcos de Belem), you will see the great buildings of the CENTRO ESCOLAR REVOLUTION. This 1S a fine modern building, or rather a group of modern buildings, impressive in their extreme simplicity.From here on the street is wide, and leads to what used to be the main entrance to Chapultepec Park. Further out on the street, you will pass the remains of the old AQUEDUCT, which once brought water into Mexico City, but is now in ruins. Although it once had 904 arches, only 23 now remain. The conduit where the water once ran is now being converted into an enormous flower box.
Unless you have something definite in view when you are going up the Avenida Chapultepec, I would advise your leaving the car at the entrance to Chapultepec Park and doing a little sightseeing on foot.
CHAPULTEPEC PARK is about as lovely as any public park I have ever seen, and I have seen most of the great parks in the world. For natural beauty, I think this park sur passes almost all of them. I have never seen more magnificent old trees or more beautiful avenues in any public recreation ground.
Although the park is in constant use, it always appears to be clean and well kept. The best time to see it is Sunday, at about noon. If you go in at the entrance from the Reforma, your road will lead you straight to the Fountain of the Frogs. The Mexican people, and particularly the Mexican children, have a great fondness for this fountain, although as far as I could see, it had no great distinction.
The monumental entrance to the park is at the end of the Avenida Chapultepec. This is a good example of the type of construction that was popular in the 1870's, very much in the style of the decoration at the end of the Central Park Mall in New York City. Leading in from this entrance, there is a magnificent avenue of date palms.
On Sundays the park is crowded with people, some on foot, some on horseback, some listening to the band play. Almost always you will see a good many members of the ASSOCIATION OF CHARROS riding along the bridle path in their picturesque costumes of tight trousers, gay jackets, and incredibly expensive and peculiar hats.
There are many walks under the trees, all equally beautiful. Perhaps the best known is the Artists' Walk, which leads to the DON QUIXOTE FOUNTAIN. This fountain is a remarkably fine example of tile work, being decorated entirely with tiles illustrative of the famous story of Cervantes. On Sunday they move books from he library out into the niches, put up temporary stands around the fountain, and convert this part of the park into a free reading room.
CHAPULTEPEC CASTLE stands on the site of a summer residence of the old Aztec emperors. It is almost a per. fect example of a great palace of the period of Maxi milian and Carlotta. Even if you are not interested in palaces as such, you should visit Chapultepec Castle to ;et the superb VIEWS OF MEXICO CITY from the terraces. The palace technically is the White House of Mexico a.nd is one of the official homes of the president. The president does not live there now, so that the castle is ,pen to the public practically every day.
Many traces of Aztec culture can still be found around Chapultepec. In the park at the foot of the hill below he castle, and between the entrance to the park from the Paseo de la Reforma and the Avenida Chapultepec, here can still be seen in the living rocks of the hillside Aztec carvings, and several old stone heads found on the grounds.
Many of the trees in Chapultepec Park are hundreds of years old. One of them, known as the "Arbol de Moctezuma," is 45 feet in circumference and about 200 feet high. The common English name for the tree is the Mexican cypress, but the local name is Ahuehuete,meaning freely "very old gentlemen of great dignity, by the water."