The elegant National Museum of Anthropology.
Mexico City and its environs are not just home to imposing examples of ancient architecture. The contemporary is also embraced and best manifested in the work of the man known as the father of Mexican modern architecture, Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, who died in 2013 aged 94. His mos well known, and imposing, works include the signature National Museum of Anthropology with its distinctive “umbrella” fountain; the world’s third largest football stadium, the 100,000-seat Estadio Azteca; and one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world, visited by millions every year, the New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The original Basilica goes back to the early days of Spanish settlement and is the national shrine of Mexico but because of the volume of pilgrims became inadequate. It celebrates the spot on the Hill of Tepeyac where Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, Mexico’s first indigenous saint, was said to have received four visitations from Our Lady of Guadalupe. His original cloak, said to bear an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is housed in the New Basilica.
Fit for the millions…the New Basilica of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.
The National Museum of Anthropology is Ramirez’s signature work and a fitting home for 600,000 invaluable heirlooms bequeathed by the early Mesoamericans such as the Aztec, Mayan, Zapotec and Mixtec civilisations. With its roof cantilevered over the courtyard and central pool mirroring the structure’s central perimeter wings the museum looks as much at home in the 21st century as when it opened in 1964. Its collection includes the famous Sun Stone – representing the Aztecs’ history of the world – unearthed under the Zocalo in 1790. It’s a monumental and elegant building perfectly designed to celebrate and preserve Mexico’s monumental heritage.
Timeless design – National Museum of Anthropology.
Pictures from the museum collection in the next post.