The Alameda - Central Park - Mexico City - May 1979
The Alameda Central began as an Aztec marketplace in the capital city of Tenochtitlan, founded in around 1345. By the mid-1500s under the conquistadors the central location was used to burn heretics at the stake under the Spanish Inquisition. In 1592, the governor of New Spain, Viceroy Luis de Velasco converted the Alameda into a public park and the marshy lands were drained and filled and planted with Poplar trees (Alamos). The park became a popular meeting ground for Spanish new society, and was the site of duels, courting and lively conversation. However, surrounded by a wrought iron fence the park still remained off limits to the general populace.
It was only after Mexican independence and the park was opened to the public that the Alameda Centrale achieved its present day incarnation as a gathering spot for diverse social groups. As modern Mexico City’s largest central park, the Alameda hosts a wide cast of characters including performers, candy sellers, shoe shiners, strollers, organ grinders, pick-nickers, school children, lovers and concert-goers. A downtown oasis of green, the park is surrounded by colonial mansions, cafes, restaurants, retail shops, skyscrapers and museums.