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Alexander von Humboldt: „Extract from Humboldt’s New Spain. Brief description of the City of Mexico“, 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-23-neu> [abgerufen am 17.04.2024].

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Titel Extract from Humboldt’s New Spain. Brief description of the City of Mexico
Jahr 1817
Ort Alexandria, Virginia
Nachweis
in: Alexandria Gazette & Daily Advertiser 18:5060 (31. Oktober 1817), S. [2].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung; Fußnoten mit Asterisken, Kreuzen und Paragraphen.
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.76
Dateiname: 1809-Voyage_de_MM-23-neu
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 1
Spaltenanzahl: 2
Zeichenanzahl: 5489

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|2| |Spaltenumbruch|

Extract from Humboldt’s New Spain.


Brief description of the cityof mexico.

Mexico has been very much embel-lished since the residence of the Abbe Chappe there in 1769. The edificedestined to the school of mines, forwhich the richest individuals of thecountry furnished a sum of more thanthree million of francs, * would adornthe principal places of Paris or Lon-don. Two great palaces [hotels] werelately constructed by Mexican artists,pupils of the academy of Fine Artsof the capital. One of these palaces,in the quarter della Traspana, exhibitsin the interior of the court a verybeautiful oval perystyle, of coupledcolumns. The traveller justly ad-mires a vast circumference paved withporphyry flag, and enclosed with aniron railing, richly ornamented withbronze, containing an equestrianstatue of King Charles the Fourth,placed on a pedestal of Mexican mar-ble, in the midst of the Plaza Major of Mexico, opposite the cathedral andthe viceroy’s palace. However itmust be agreed that notwithstandingthe progress of the arts within theselast thirty years, it is much lessfrom the grandeur and beauty of themonuments, than from the breadthand straightness of the streets, andmuch less from its edifices than fromits uniform regularity, its extent andposition, that the capital of New Spainattracts the admiration of Europeans.From a strange concurrence of circum-stances, I have seen successivly, with-in a very short space of time, Lima,Mexico, Philadelphia, Washington,|Spaltenumbruch|Paris, Rome, Naples, and the largestcities of Germany. By comparingtogether impressions which follow inrapid succession, we are enabled torectify any opinion which we mayhave too easily adopted. Notwith-standing such unavoidable compari-sons, of which several, one wouldthink, must have proved disadvanta-geous to the capital of Mexico, it hasleft in me a recollection of grandeurwhich I principally attribute to themajestic character of its situation andthe surrounding scenery. In fact, nothing can present a morerich and varied appearance than thevalley, when, in a fine summer morn-ing, the sky without a cloud, and ofthat deep azure which is peculiar tothe dry and refined air of high moun-tains, we transport ourselves to the topof one of the towers of the cathedralof Mexico, or ascend the hill ofChapoltepec. A beautiful vegetationsurrounds this hill. Old cypresstrunks§ of more than 15 & 16 metres|| in circumference, raise their nakedhead above those of the Scinus, whichresemble in their appearance theweeping willows of the east. Fromthe centre of this solitude, the summitof the porphyritical rock of Chapolte-pec, the eye sweeps over a vast plainof carefully cultivated fields, whichextend to the very feet of the collos-sal mountains covered with perpetualsnow. The city appears as if washedby the waters of the lake of Tezcuco,whose basin, surrounded with villa-ges and hamlets, brings to mind themost beautiful lakes of the mountainsof Switzerland. Large avenues of elmsand poplars lead in every direction tothe capital; and two aqueducts con-structed over arches of very great ele-vation, cross the plain and exhibit anappearance equally agreeable and in-teresting. The magnificent conventof Nuestra Sonora de Gaudaloupe,appears joined to the mountains ofTepeyacac, among ravines, whichshelter a few date yucca trees. To-wards the south, the whole tract be-tween San Angel, Tacabaya, and SanAugustin de las Cuevas, appears animmense garden of Orange, Peach,Apple, Cherry, and other Europeanfruit trees. This beautiful cultiva-tion forms a singular contrast withthe wild appearance of the nakedmountains which enclose the valley, among which the famous volcanoes ofLa Puebla, Popocatepetl, and Iztac-cihuatl are the most distinguished.—The first of these forms an enormouscone, of which the crater, continual-ly inflamed and throwing up smokeand ashes, opens in the midst of eter-nal snows.

saw a part completed, the FederalCity will undoubtedly one day be amuch finer city than Mexico. Phila-delphia has also the same mode of con-struction. The alleys of platanus,acacia, and populous heterophylla,which adorn its streets, almost give ita rural beauty. The vegetation ofthe banks of the Potomac and Dela-ware is also richer than what we find2,300 metres (7,500 feet) of elevationon the ridge of the Mexican Cordille-ras. But Washington and Philadel-phia will always look like Europeancities. They will not strike the eyesof the traveller with that peculiar, Imay say that exotic character whichbelongs to Mexico, Santa Fe de Bog-ata, Quito, and all the tropical capitals,constructed at an elevation as high orhigher than the passage of the greatSt. Bernard.* 124,800l. sterling. Trans. Seechap. VII. This colossal statue was executedat the expense of the Marquis de Bran-ciforte, formerly viceroy of Mexico,brother-in-law to the Prince of Peace.It weighs 450 quintals, and was mo-delled, founded and placed by the sameartist, M. Tolsa, whose name de-serves a distinguished place in the his-tory of Spanish sculpture. The me-rits of this man of genius can only beappreciated by those who know thedifficulties with which the executionof these great works of art are at-tended even in civilized Europe. From the plan of the City ofWashington, and from the magnifi-cence of its capitol of which I only§ Los Ahuahuetes. Cupressus dis-ticha Lin. || 49 and 52 feet. Trans.