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Liberty symbol: Independence Angel

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

El Ángel was built to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico's War of Independence, celebrated in 1910. 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 bears a resemblance to the Victory Column in Berlin.








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 fourteen more steps were added.

Base:


On the main face of the base, which faces 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 lion led by a child, representing strength and the innocence of youth during War but docility during Peace.

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 meters 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.

Lion led by a child:


Heroes, Vicente Guerrero, José María Morelos, Francisco Javier Mina y Nicolás Bravo:



The Law:


The Peace:


The Justice:


The war:



Crowning the column there is the sculpture that gives the name to the monument. The 6.7 meter statue by Enrique Alciati represents the Winged Victory. It is made of bronze, covered with gold and weighs 7 tons. In her right hand the Angel holds a laurel crown, symbolizing Victory, while in her left she holds a broken chain, symbolizing Freedom.

Victory Angel:




Base





An eternal flame (Lámpara Votiva) honoring these heroes was installed in the base of the column at the order of President Emilio Portes Gil in 1929.

The monument suffered some damage during an earthquake on July 28, 1957 when the sculpture of the Winged Victory fell to the ground and broke into several pieces. Sculptor José Fernández Urbina was in charge of the restoration, which lasted more than a year. The monument was reopened on September 16, 1958. It survived, undamaged, the devastating earthquake of September 19, 1985.


 

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