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Alexander von Humboldt: „Humboldt’s History of New-Spain“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <https://humboldt.unibe.ch/text/1809-Voyage_de_MM-09-neu> [abgerufen am 17.04.2024].

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Titel Humboldt’s History of New-Spain
Jahr 1811
Ort Washington, District of Columbia
Nachweis
in: National Intelligencer 11:1661 (4. Juni 1811), S. [2].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung.
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.76
Dateiname: 1809-Voyage_de_MM-09-neu
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 1
Zeichenanzahl: 4631

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CITY OF MEXICO. Humboldt’s History of New-Spain.

[extract.] “The valley in which the city of Mexicostands is upwards of 6500 feet above the levelof the sea. It is of an oval form, encompassedon all sides by mountains. It contains severallakes. The largest is salt. Formerly it sur-rounded the city, which was approached onlyby causeways, constructed in the water. But,at present, the extent of this lake is diminish-ed, and the city is now on the land, at somedistance from the water’s edge. The circum-ference of the valley is 67 leagues. “Mexico is undoubtedly one of the finestcities ever built by Europeans in either hemis-phere. With the exception of St. Petersburgh,Berlin, Philadelphia and some quarters inWestminster, there does not exist a city of thesame extent, which can be compared to thecapital of New Spain, for the uniform level ofthe ground on which it stands, for the regu-larity and breadth of the streets, and the extentof the public places. The architecture is gene-rally of a very pure style, and there are evenedifices of very beautiful structure. The ex-terior of the houses is not loaded with orna-ments. “The Ballustrades and gates are all of Biscayiron, ornamented with bronze, and the houses,instead of roofs, have terraces like those inItaly, and other southern countries. “Mexico has been very much embellished,since the residence of the abbe Chappe there in1769. The edifice destined to the School ofMines, for which the richest individuals of thecountry furnished a sum of more than threemillions of francs, would adorn the principalplaces of Paris or London. Two great palaces[hotels] were recently constructed by Mexicanartists, pupils of the academy of fine arts of thecapital. One of these palaces, in the quarter della Traspana, exhibited in the interior of acourt a very beautiful oval peristyle of coupledcolumns. The traveller justly admires a vastcircumference, paved with porphyry flags, andenclosed with an iron railing, richly ornament-ed with bronze, containing an equestrian statuteof King Charles the fourth, placed on a pedestalof Mexican marble, in the midst of the PlazaMajor of Mexico, opposite the cathedral, andthe viceroy’s palace. However, it must be a-greed, that notwithstanding the progress of thearts, within these last thirty years, it is muchless from the grandeur and beauty of themonuments, than from the breadth & straight-ness of the streets, and much less from its edi-fices, than from its uniform regularity, its ex-tent and position that the capital of New Spainattracts the admiration of Europeans. “Nothing can present a more rich and variedappearance, than the valley, when, in a finesummer morning, the sky without a cloud, andof that deep azure which is peculiar to the dryand rarified air of high mountains, we transportourselves to the top of one of the towers of thecathedral of Mexico, or ascend the hill of Cha-poltepeck. A beautiful vegetation surroundsthis hill. Old cypress trunks, of more than 15and 16 metres in circumference, raise their nak-ed heads above those of the schinus, which re-semble, in their appearance, the weeping willowsof the east. From the centre of this solitude,the summit of the porphyritical rock of Chapolt-peck, the eye sweeps over a vast plain of care-fully cultivated fields, which extend to the veryfeet of the colossal mountains covered with per-petual snow. The city appears as if washed bythe waters of the lake of Tezcuco, whose basin,surrounded with villages and hamlets, brings tomind the most beautiful lakes of the mountainsof Switzerland. Large avenues of elms and pop-lars lead in every direction, to the capital;and two aqueducts, constructed over archesof very great elevation, cross the plain, and ex-hibit an appearance equally agreeable and inter-esting. The magnificent convent of NuestraSe noro de Guadalope, appears joined to themountains of Tepeyacack, among ravines, whichshelter a few date and young yucca trees. To-wards the south, the whole tract between SanAngel, Tacabaya, and San Augustin de lasCuevas, appears an immense garden of orange,peach, apple, cherry, and other European fruittrees. This beautiful cultivation forms a singu-lar contrast with the wild appearance of the nak-ed mountains which enclose the valley, among which the famous volcanos of La Puebla, Popo-cantepelt, and Iztaccicichualt are the most dis-tinguished. The first of these forms an enor-mous cone, of which the crater, continually in-flamed, and throwing up smoke and ashes,opens in the midst of eternal snows.”