May 15, 2011

Mexico City, Mexico

Scenes from the View-Master packet Mexico City (B 002) from the Famous Cities Series.


View-Master Mexico City (B002), Packet Cover

Packet Cover


View-Master Mexico City (B002), Booklet Cover

Booklet Cover


From the 16-page booklet:

A BIT OF BACKGROUND.  Mexico City probably is the oldest continuously-occupied city in America.  It was founded in 1325 by the Mexicas, a tribe of the Aztecs.  They named their city Tenochtitlan, meaning “The Place of Cactus Fruit.”  The valley in which it was built, Anahuac, contained a series of lakes, and the city was built on the islands in the largest lake, Texcoco.  Today, all of the lakes are dry.

In the 194 years between its founding and the coming of the Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes, in 1519, Tenochtitlan grew into a city of 300,000 people.  It contained 60,000 homes, great temples, markets, and a series of canals and causeways that linked the islands together.  The Aztecs were among the most highly developed of the American Indians.  The had a calendar, a science of engineering, and an elaborate religious and social structure.  But Cortes destroyed them and their city in less than two years.  The old Tenochtitlan was gone by 1521, and a new town, colonial Mexico City, rose, literally, on the ruins.  It became the country’s capital, first of the Spanish colony, and after the War for Independence in 1810, of modern Mexico.  Today, with a metropolitan population of 5,215,000, it is not only largest in Mexico, it also ranks behind New York and Chicago as third largest in North America.  It is growing at an incredible rate; and many new, daringly-conceived buildings rise each year.  A centuries-old water problem was relieved by the completion of an enormous project in the 1950’s; but water—too much or not enough—remains one of the city’s main concerns.  Mexico City is proud of its rapid growth, its new airport and university campus, both opened in 1952; and it looks forward to 1968, when it will host the Olympic Games.


Scene 6

Columbus Circle

View-Master Mexico City (B002), Scene 6: Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle


From the 16-page booklet:


As it angles through mid-town Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma is flanked by large office buildings and hotels, as seen in the picture. Glorieta Colon (Columbus Circle), in the center, is dominated by a huge statue of the Navigator, executed by the French sculptor, Charles Cordier.


Scene 12

The National Palace

View-Master Mexico City (B002), Scene 12: The National Palace

The National Palace


From the 16-page booklet:


Montezuma’s palace once rose on the site of the present National Palace. Cortes, whose deceit and use of superstition, murder, torture, and just plain luck, conquered the Aztecs, destroyed the original building and began raising a fortress-like residence for himself. But it was destroyed by riots, and the existing palace was started in 1692. It has been altered many times since—the latest alteration being the third story, added in 1927. Several government offices and the Office of the President are housed inside. One of the building’s most popular attractions is the group of murals by Diego Rivera, 20th century painter, and Independence Bell with which Father Hidalgo tolled his freedom cry.


Scene 14

Contemporary Apartments

View-Master Mexico City (B002), Scene 14: Nonoalco-Tlaltelolco Apartments

Nonoalco-Tlaltelolco Apartments


From the 16-page booklet:


Mexico City is very old; it also is very modern. The architecture includes examples of the Aztec, Colonial, and the most contemporary in the world. In what was once a slum area, the Nonoalco-Tlaltelolco housing development represents the finest of today’s Mexican architecture, with 12,000 apartments, housing 70,000 people. Dominated by the 24-story Insignia Tower (416 feet tall) and undoubtedly the most impressive A-frame structure in the world, its spire houses a 47-bell carillon, whose largest bell weighs 5 1/2 tons.


Scene 15

Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine

View-Master Mexico City (B002), Scene 15: Our Lady of guadalupe Shrine

Shrine of Mexico’s patron saint, Virgin of Guadalupe


From the 16-page booklet:


In the winter of 1531, so tradition says, an Indian named Juan Diego was walking on Tepeyac Hill, northeast of Mexico City. The Virgin suddenly appeared to him and bade him tell the bishop that she desired a church to be built on the spot. As a token of her intent, the Virgin imprinted her portrait on the cloth of Juan’s tilma (mantle). A church—the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe—was built on the site; and the tilma, with its sacred image, hung in honor over the altar. By historic coincidence, the shrine is built on an Aztec holy spot, where the Indians worshipped the goddess, Tonantxin—the Mother of God.

The “cult of the Virgin” is now the most fervent and powerful in Mexico. She is the country’s “patroness”; and during the War for Independence, the word, “Guadalupe,” was the rallying cry of the revolutionary army. Today, during ten days early in December, the month of Juan Diego’s vision, upwards to 100,000 people visit the shrine.

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