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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: <> [abgerufen am 17.04.2024].

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Titel Humboldt’s History of New Spain
Jahr 1811
Ort Charleston, South Carolina
in: The Carolina Gazette 710 (6. Juli 1811), S. [4].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung.
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.76
Dateiname: 1809-Voyage_de_MM-14-neu
Seitenanzahl: 1
Spaltenanzahl: 2
Zeichenanzahl: 4605

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“The valley in which the city of Mexicostands is upwards of 6500 feet above the level ofthe sea. It is of an oval form, encompassed onall sides by mountains. It contains several lakes.The largest is salt. Formerly it surrounded thecity, which was approached only by causeways,constructed in the water. But, at present, theextent of this lake is diminished, and the city isnow on the land, at some distance from the water’sedge. The circumference of the valley is 67leagues. “Mexico is undoubtedly one of the finest citiesever built by Europeans in either hemisphere.With the exception of St. Petersburgh, Berlin,Philadelphia, and some quarters in Westminster,there does not exist a city of the same extent,which can be compared to the capital of New-Spain, for the uniform level of the ground onwhich it stands, for the regularity and breadth ofthe streets, and the extent of the public places.The architecture is generally of a very purestyle, and there are even edifices of very beauti-ful structure, the exterior of the houses is notloaded with ornaments. “The ballustrades and gates are all of Biscayiron, ornamented with bronze, and the houses,instead of roofs, have terraces like those in Italy,and other southern countries. “Mexico has been very much embellished,since the residence of the Abbe Chappe there in1769. The edifice destined to be the School ofMines, for which the richest individuals of thecountry furnished a sum of more than three mil-lions of francs, would adorn the principal placesof Paris or London. Two great palaces [hotels]were recently constructed by Mexican artists,pupils of the academy of fine arts of the capital.One of these places, in the quarter delle Tras-pana, exhibited in the interior of a court a verybeautiful oval peristyle of coupled columns. Thetraveller justly admires a vast circumference,paved with porphyry flags, and enclosed with aniron railing, richly ornamented with bronze, con-taining an equestrian statue of King Charles thefourth, placed on a pedestal of Mexican marble,in the midst of the Plaza Major of Mexico, op-posite the cathedral, and the viceroy’s palace.However, it must be agreed, that notwithstand-ing the progress of the arts, within these lastthirty years, it is much less from the grandeurand beauty of the monuments, than from thebreadth and straightness of the streets, and muchless from its edifices, than from its uniform regu-larity, its extent and position, that the capital ofNew Spain attracts the admiration of Europeans. “Nothing can present a more rich and variedappearance, than the valley, when, in a summermorning, the sky without a cloud, and of thatdeep azure which is peculiar to the dry and rari-|Spaltenumbruch|fied air of high mountains, we transport ourselvesto the top of one of the towers of the cathedralof Mexico, or ascend the hill of Chapoltepeck.A beautiful vegetation surrounds this hill. Oldcypress trunks, of more than 15 and 16 metresin circumference raise their naked heads abovethose of the schinus, which resemble, in theirappearance, the weeping willows of the east.—From the centre of this solitude, the summit ofthe porphyritical rock of Chapoltepeck, the eyesweeps over a vast plain of carefully cultivat-ed fields, which extend to the very feet ofthe colossal mountains covered with perpetualsnow. The city appears as if washed by thewaters of the lake of Tezcuco, whose basin, sur-rounded with villages and hamlets, brings to mindthe most beautiful lakes of the mountains ofSwitzerland. Large avenues of elms and poplarslead in every direction to the capital; and twoaqueducts, constructed overs arches of very greatelevation, cross the plain, and exhibit an appear-ance equally agreeable and interesting. Themagnificent convent of Nuestra Senoro de Gua-dalope, appears joined to the mountains of Tepey-acack, among ravines, which shelter a few dateand young yucca trees. Towards the south, thewhole tract between San Angel, Tacabaya, andSan Augustin de las Cuevas, appears an im-mense garden of orange, peach, apple, cherry,and other European fruit trees. This beautifulcultivation forms a singular contrast with the wildappearance of the naked mountains which en-close the valley, among which the famous volcanosof La Puebla, Popocantepelt and Iztaccicichualtare the most distinguished. The first of theseforms an enormous cone, of which the crater,continually inflamed, and throwing up smoke andashes, opens in the midst of eternal snows.”