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09.04.2009

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Colonia Juarez
Zones of Mexico City

 

Located to the south of Paseo de la Reforma, Colonia Juárez, the most exclusive in Mexico City during the years of Porfirio Díaz, still conserves some of its magnificent and elegant houses which witness on a daily basis the vibrant, financial and commercial, activity of the area. 

Colonia Juárez was established in 1874 by Rafael Martínez de la Torre, dividing the land of the old Hacienda de la Teja which occupied the plots to either side of Paseo de la Reforma, between Chapultepec Park and Bucareli Avenue. This businessman saw in those vacant lands a Real Estate opportunity that would allow to create a new neighbourhood that would attract the wealthiest people of the time who would colonize these lands with modern civilization. It was not until years later that this businessmans vision was finally materialized, with the help of Mexico City Improvements Company corporation, which began the construction of this neighbourhood following an orthogonal layout perpendicular to Paseo de la Reforma. This layout is the same in the whole area, except in the sector closest to the Centro Alameda area, where the streets reach diagonally towards Paseo de la Reforma, with the intent of allowing continuity to some streets that ran in this manner from the Historical Centre.

Towards the first years of the 20th Century, the area was scarcely occupied, situation which allowed one of its first and influential personalities, Don Ricardo García Granado, ex-consulate of Mexico in Europe, to baptize some of the areas uninhabited streets with the names Hamburgo, Bruselas, Berlin or Génova, as it was in these cities that his children had been born while he performed his diplomatic duties. Later on, with the introduction of the official nomenclature, his proposal was accepted, naming the streets after cities of the Old World. The streets, flanked by elegant eclectic mansions and magnificent decorations, reflected the desire of certain sectors of society of the time, of living in the European way; in contradiction to this, in 1906, the area changed its name from Americana to Juárez, in honour of the brilliant president who ended the second Mexican Empire of Maximilian of Hapsburg and Carlota Amalia of Belgium. 

In the 20th Century, due to the citys growth, the Colonia Juárez found itself suddenly immersed in the great metropolis; its original residents moved to new neighbourhoods like Lomas de Chapultepec, Polanco and Del Valle, among others, allowing for a lot of the houses to be transformed into businesses, originating in the mid-20th Century, the so-called Zona Rosa within its perimeter. With the passing of the years, the modifications in land use regulations and the 1985 earthquakes, lead to a process of abandonment which has been slowly reverted by the Paseo de la Reforma and Historical Centre regeneration programmes.

Colonia Juárez houses interesting examples of eclectic architecture which can be mainly  appreciated in Havre street and the surrounding area of the Giordano Bruno Plaza, which houses the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, built by the Hungarian community, as well as Mexico Citys Wax Museum, where outstanding personalities of Mexicos history are gathered under a lavish construction designed by the architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, who also designed the Angel of Independence. Other outstanding sites in the area are the Benjamin Franklin Library, Ripleys Museum and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) building.

Today, Colonia Juárez is one of the areas with most dynamism in Mexico City, due to the economical activity originated in Paseo de la Reforma. Because of this, the area is predicted to become once again what it was when it started, one of the most exclusive areas in the city.

 

 

 

 

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