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Royal Photograph Gallery

Published in New York in 1893

Quotes Are From the Book

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Cathedral, Mexico (at Plaza Templo Mayor) 

A recent photo is here

"Where stood an Aztec temple now rises this majestic pile, which was ninety-four years in course of erection and cost $1,750,000.  It was founded in the reign of Charles V., in 1530, but building operations were not begun until 1573.  Its campaniles are 200 feet high, with the dome; and the length of the edifice is 432 feet, its breadth about 200 feet.  The old Mexican calendar stone, built into one of the walls, was dug up in 1790.  It had been buried as a profane thing by Cortez, but archaeologists find great satisfaction in its resuscitation.  On its surface are curious carvings occupying its entire surface, which is a circle of twelve feet diameter.  The interior of the cathedral is fine and imposing".



Church of Guadalupe

"Half an hour's ride from the Plaza mayor, Mexico, stand the cathedral and chapel which are the principal objects of interest in Guadalupe.  From the chapel a fine view of the valley of Mexico is enjoyed.  The cathedral is a brick building, with a dome and four towers.  A solid silver railing, a yard high, leading from the choir to the high alter and extending round the edge of the latter, is that feature of the interior which excites the greatest interest in the mind of the average tourist.  Oil paintings of no particular merit, wax work, and the carvings in the choir impress the devout only less than the picture of the Virgin Mary which hangs in the high altar.  The story of how the Blessed Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor working Indian, is told in verses sold at the door of the cathedral, in which are celebrated special festivals in her honor".



Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City

"Montezuma had a residence on the same site as the castle now standing, and his eyes rested on at least some of the noble trees which are the admiration of travelers to-day.  One of these, known as the cypress of Montezuma, measures forty-six feet in circumference.  The memory of another ill-fated ruler, that of Maximilian, is associated with Chapultepec.  This was the scene of his short-lived dignity as the head of a court, and here he gave his last great entertainment, aptly known as the Feast of Belshazzar, on his fatal return from Orizaba to Queretaro.  The lower tier of buildings, seen beneath the trees, is now the National Military Academy, the West Point of Mexico, and the upper structure is, so to speak, the Mexican White House, where the President lives.  Fine views are commanded from the castle, not only of the city of Mexico, but of the whole valley in which it is built, and two noble mountains dominate the landscape.  The palace is of marble; some of its decorations are in fine taste, but, taken as a whole, the large sums of money spent by Maximilian in its embellishment do not constitute an example of judicious outlay".



National Palace, Mexico City

"The Mexican Senate has its sessions in this building, which is, besides, the official home of the administration, where the President, his ministers and military commanders, have their rooms for the dispatch of public business.  Ambassadors' Hall is 310 feet long by 30 feet wide.  The chief meteorological observatory of Mexico is on this building, seven thousand feet nearer the heavens than  structures devoted to the same use in Washington and Greenwich.  Axayacatl, father of the unhappy Montezuma, had a palace where that of the illustration now stands, in which, says tradition, was one room large enough for the accommodation of three thousand persons.  The National Palace is seven hundred feet long, built of marble, in appearance not unimposing and certainly not beautiful.  It is easy of access by the stranger, who is shown, among other objects that may be more interesting, the state coach used by the Emperor Maximilian".



Chinampas or Floating Gardens of Mexico

"The plateau of central Mexico is between 7000 feet and 8000 feet above sea level.  It is dotted here and there with lakes, some of fresh water and some of salt water. That of Texcoco is salt; lakes Chalco and Xochimilco are fresh.  The last named are covered with a mass of floating vegetation, necessitating the cutting of canals to maintain communication with the shores of the lakes and the islands which they encompass.  In some instances, the floating masses are dense enough to admit of gardens being made upon their surface, upon which are produced corn, vegetables and flowers.  These gardens are made of turf, laid in strips from sixty feet to ninety feet long and about six feet wide, to a thickness which raises the island thus created from two to three feet above the water.  Soil is placed on it, and garden operations follow".



Cathedral at Chihuahua, Mexico

"The city of Chihuahua is situated at an elevation of 4690 feet, and has a salubrious climate.  Its environs are productive of fruit, vegetables and the cereals, and the State of the same name, of which it is the capital, is a fine grazing country.  Chihuahua was founded about two centuries ago by adventurers intent upon developing the silver mines in the neighborhood.  Its chief ornament is the parish church, generally called the cathedral, which has an imposing exterior and cost $800,000 to build.  Fifteen miles from Chihuahua are the silver mines of Santa Eulalia, the product of which was taxed in order to raise money for the erection of the cathedral".



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