Friday, April 04, 2014

Chapultepec - Grasshopper Hill

I keep going to new places and revisiting old ones!  Love it!  This time:  Chapultepec Forest (Chapultepec is an indigenous word that means Grasshopper Hill) and the Chapultepec Castle which, apparently, is the only real royal castle in the Americas!   Last time I visited this place my age could probable be counted with the fingers of just two hands!

So, anyhow, I had the opportunity to visit this morning, when it was cool and very placid, with beautiful blue skies.  First past the Monument to the Heroic Cadets, young soldiers who died defending the Chapultepec Castle during the Mexican-American war when American forces invaded and took Mexico City in 1847:



The castle itself served multiple purposes, from military academy, to home to Maximilian of Hapsburg during the Mexican Empire from 1864 to 1867, to observatory to museum.  It's fascinating looking at objects from this pivotal part of Mexico's history, like this emblem on the carriage that Benito Juárez (who overthrew Maximilian's empire and restored the Mexican Republic) used:



Not to mention the amazing views of the castle and Mexico City themselves!






Artwise, there was this very moving, strong ceiling mural about one of the cadets falling to his death with the Mexican flag in his hand during the invasion I had mentioned before:



As well as a very interesting, if rather small, temporary exhibition on Mexico's indigenous peoples from the north, including one that came down from the Great Lakes pushed away by the Americans.  A dozen nations or so in total.  All different, all with different languages and traditions, all unique and practically unknown to the average person:



We finished with a walk around the forest, with views of the city reflecting on a (rather too green) lake and some beautiful flowers whose petals had curled in a very curious angle, giving them a very peculiar look:




Pretty neat.  Definitely.  And I bet some of you didn't know Mexico City had been taken by the Americans, that Mexico was at some point an empire with a Hapsburg as its emperor, or that at least one of our indigenous groups is actually an indigenous group from the Great Lakes area (around the Canada-US border), eh?

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