While I was walking around the streets of Mexico City’s centro historico a couple of weeks back, I had an idea to start a series of snapshots of interesting corners that I come across in my wanderings in the city.

Of course, the streets of the Mexican capital hold all sorts of intrigue beyond the corners.  For months  I dedicated myself to exploring them.  You can check out loads of photos and commentary on my Mexico City Metro Project site.

However, I liked the idea of having a collection of corners of the city and so this maiden post is realized.  I found the perfect corner to begin.

You may well be aware that Mexico City was built on the site of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan after the invading Spaniards, led by Hernan Cortes, conquered the city. At the time, Tenochtitlan was an extremely large and well organized city – probably the largest in the world.  The conquering Spaniards were amazed.

Tenochtitlan grew from a small settlement on an island in Lake Texcoco, granted to the Mexica peoples, who – as the legend goes – decided to build their city there after the prophecy of seeing an eagle perched upon a cactus devouring a snake was fulfilled.  The image is immortalized on the Mexican national flag.  The city grew and grew with the Mexica peoples using ingenious methods to expand their city by building on the shallow lake.  Mexico City today is very gradually sinking, many buildings in the downtown of the city are on a slight tilt and earthquakes are experienced acutely due to the sponge earth.  All of this is attributed to the fact that the city was built over what were once lake lands.

Some one hundred years later, in the 1420s, the by then powerful city-state of Tenochtitlan formed an alliance with two other nearby city-states; Texcoco and Tlacopan.  This triple alliance expanded the territory under its rule and imposed tribute payments on other Prehispanic cultures.  This rule and vast area that came under their control is what we know today as the Aztec Empire.

So, back to the corner.  At the intersection of Calle de Tacuba and Filomena Mata, in the historic centre of Mexico City, not at all far from the former centre of the great city of Tenochtitlan, is the Jardín de la Triple Alianza or Garden of the Triple Alliance which features sculptures of Itzcoatl, Nezahualcoyotl and Totoquihuatzin,the respective leaders of  Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan at the time.  I recommend a visit to the corner if you are in the downtown of Mexico City.  The exact location is here.  Below is a gallery with some shots.  I hope to post a second corner in the series soon.


Peter W Davies


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