Feliz cinco de Mayo! For this installment of Monument Monday, we’re celebrating the history of Mexico by featuring El Ángel de la Independencia, or “The Angel of Independence.” This statue, which is often shortened to “El Ángel”, stands proudly in a round about in downtown Mexico City. It was originally built in 1810 to celebrate the centennial of Mexico’s independence from Spain.

angel de la independencia

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At the top of the victory column (similar to the July Column in Paris or the Victory Column in Berlin) stands a twenty two foot tall statue of the Greek goddess of Victory. She weighs a feather-light seven tons and is made completely from bronze and coated with 24 karat gold. In one hand she holds a laurel crown symbolizing victory and in the other she holds broken chains, symbolizing freedom.

At the base of the column there are bronze statues personifying Law, War, Justice and Peace. In addition, there is a statue of a boy leading a lion which symbolizes the strength and innocence of youth during war. An eternal flame has been burning since 1929 to commemorate the heroes of the Mexican War for Independence. There is a mausoleum which features what is left of the Heroes that were installed at the base of the monument. It includes Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Mario Morelos, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, Jose Mariano Jimenez, Guadalupe Victoria, and several others.

Visitors are allowed to visit the monument and mausoleum, and even climb to the top of the tower. It’s the equivilant of climbing a 12 story building with no landings or places to stop. Also, the staircase is tightly confined, and is not recommended for those who aren’t psychically able to complete the climb or who would be uncomfortable with small spaces. But, the view from the top is absolutely spectacular.

Have you seen El Ángel?

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Gabbi Ewing is a rising junior studying Journalism as well as Film & Television at NYU. She is a New Jersey native who enjoys traveling, writing, skiing, and swimming. She hopes to travel the world, but her next adventure is taking her to Sydney, Australia to study with NYU. She aspires to work for National Geographic or Discovery Channel and to use her film, photography and writing skills to help people experience new cultures and places that they don't have the opportunity to travel to themselves.

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