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Alexander von Humboldt: „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-24-neu> [abgerufen am 17.04.2024].

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Titel Brief description of the city of Mexico
Jahr 1817
Ort Trenton, New Jersey
Nachweis
in: Trenton Federalist 18:976 (10. November 1817), [o. S.].
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua (mit lang-s); Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung; Fußnoten mit Kreuzen und Paragraphen.
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.76
Dateiname: 1809-Voyage_de_MM-24-neu
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 1
Zeichenanzahl: 5460

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Brief description of the city of Mexico. Extract from Humboldt’s New Spain.

Mexico has been very much embelliſh-ed ſince the reſidence of the Abbe Chap-pe there in 1769. The edifice deſtined tothe ſchool of mines, for which the richeſtindividuals of the country furniſhed aſum of more than three millions francs,*would adorn the principal places of Parisor London. Two great palaces [hotels]were recently conſtructed by MexicanArtiſts, pupils of the academy of FineArts of the capital. One of these palaces,in the quarter dela Traspana, exhibits inthe interior of the court a very beautifuloval perystyle, of columns. The travel-ler juſtly admires a vaſt circumferencepaved with porphyry flags, and enclosedwith an iron railing, richly ornamentedwith bronze, containing an equeſtrianſtatue of King Charles the Fourth,placed on a pedeſtal of Mexican marble,in the midſt of the Plaza Major ofMexico, oppoſite the cathedral and theviceroy’s palace. However, it muſt beagreed that notwithſtanding the progressof the arts within theſe laſt thirty years,it is much less from the grandeur andbeauty of the monuments, than from thebreadth and ſtraitness of the ſtreets andmuch less from its edifices than from itsuniform regularity, its extent and poſi-tion, that the capital of New Spain at-tracts the admiration of Europeans.From a ſingular occurrence of circum-ſtances, I have ſeen ſucceſſively, withina very ſhort space of time, Lima, Mexico,Philadelphia, Waſhington, Paris, Rome,Naples, and the largeſt cities of Germany.By comparing together impreſſions whichfollow in rapid ſucceſſion, we are enabledto rectify any opinion which we may havetoo eaſily adopted. Notwithſtanding ſuchunavoidable compariſons, of which ſeve-ral, one would think, muſt have proveddiſadvantageous to the capital of Mexico,it has left in me a recollection of grand-eur which I principally attribute to themajeſtic character of its ſituation andthe ſurrounding ſcenery. In fact, nothing can preſent a morerich and varied appearance than the val-ley, when, in a fine ſummer morning, thesky without a cloud, and of that deepazure, which is peculiar to the dry andrarified air of high mountains, we trans-port ourſelves to the top of one of thetowers of the cathedral of Mexico, or as-cend the hill of Chapoltebec. A beau-tiful vegetation ſurrounds this hill. Oldcypress trunks,§ of more than 15 and 16metres|| in circumference, raiſe their na-ked heads above thoſe of the Schinus,which reſemble in their appearance theweeping willows of the eaſt. From thecentre of this ſolitude, the ſummit ofthe porphyritical rock of Chapoltebec,the eye sweeps over a vaſt plain of care-fully cultivated fields, which extend to thevery feet of the coloſſal mountains cover-ed with perpetual snow. The city ap-pears as if waſhed by the waters of thelake of Tezcuco, whoſe baſin, ſurroundedwith villages and hamlets, bring to mindthe moſt beautiful lakes of the mountainsof Switzerland. Large avenues of elmsand poplars lead in every direction to thecapital; and two aqueducts, conſtructedover arches of very great elevation, crossthe plain, and exhibit an appearanceequally agreeable and intereſting. The magnificent convent of NueſtraSenora de Gaudaloupe, appears joined tothe mountains of Tepeyacac among ra-vines, which ſhelter a few date and youngyucca trees. Towards the ſouththe whole tract between San Angel,Tacabaya, and San Auguſtin de lasCuevas, appears an immenſe garden oforange, peach, apple, cherry, and otherEuropean fruit trees. This beautifulcultivation forms a ſingular contrast withthe wild appearance of the naked moun-tains which encloſe the valley, amongwhich the famous volcanoes of La Puebla,Popocatepetl, and Iztaccihuatl are themoſt diſtinguiſhed. The firſt of theſeforms an enormous cone, of which thecrater, continually inflamed and throwingup smoke and aſhes, opens in the midſt ofeternal snows.

* 124.800l. ſterling See chap. VII. This coloſſal ſtatue was executed atthe expenſe of the Marquis de Branciforte,formerly viceroy of Mexico, brother-in-law to the Prince of Peace. It weighs450 quintals, and was modelled, foundedand placed by the ſame artiſt, M. Tolsa,whoſe name deserves a diſtinguiſhed placein the hiſtory of Spaniſh sculpture. Themerits of this man of genius can only beappreciated by thoſe who know the diffi-culties with which the execution of theſegreat works of art are attended even incivilized Europe. From the plan of the City of Waſh-ington, and from the magnificence of itscapitol, of which I only ſaw a part com-pleted, the Federal City will undoubtedlyone day be a much finer city than Mexico.Philadelphia has alſo the ſame regularityof conſtruction. The alleys of platanus,acacia, and populous heterophylla, whichadorn its ſtreets, almoſt give it a ruralbeauty. The vegetation of the banks ofthe Potomac and Delaware is alſo richerthan what we find 2.300 metres (7.500feet) of elevation on the ridge of theMexican Cordilleras. But Waſhingtonand Philadelphia will always look like Eu-ropean cities. They will not ſtrike theeyes of the traveller with that peculiar,I may ſay, exotic character, which belongsto Mexico, Santa Fe de Bogata, Quito,and all the tropical capitals, conſtructedat an elevation as high or higher than thepaſſage of the great St. Bernard.§ Los Ahuahuetes. Cupressus disticha Lin || 49 and 52 feet. Trans.