The 15 monuments that adorn the Calzada de los Misterios in Mexico City are to be restored, the city government has announced.
The 15 monuments, representing the 15 mysteries of the rosary, were designed and erected in the late 17th century on the eastern sidewalk of the street, which connects the downtown area of the city to the foot of Tepeyac hill in the north, a point of religious importance since Aztec times.
Baroque in style, the stone monuments have a frontage of four meters, a depth of 1.5 and stand eight meters high.
Each representation of a mystery is supported by a pedestal, and all 15 are capped with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Their purpose was to guide pilgrims walking northward to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who could recite the rosary following the stone representations.
Over the years the monuments sustained damages, with seven being completely destroyed in the mid-19th century. These were finally replaced late in the 20th century.
Calzada de los Misterios is currently undergoing modifications for a future Metrobus route that will traverse it. Federal and local authorities decided the conclusion of that work was the right time to start a thorough restoration of the monuments that give the street its name.
The project presented by the government of Mexico City to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) calls for the restoration of all the monuments, those deemed historic and built with cantera rock, and the more recent ones, built of concrete.
“The paint is damaged and the cantera rock has problems with porosity and is breaking down in some parts, so many of the pieces will have to be replaced,” explained Arturo Balandrano Campos, the national coordinator of historic monuments at INAH.
“The pedestals are covered in graffiti and will have to be thoroughly cleaned . . . with all these actions, the mysteries will be completely restored.”
The government of Mexico City will hire a firm to carry out the work under the supervision of experts from INAH.
The restoration of each monument is estimated to take three months.
La Calzada de los Misterios lies on what in Aztec times was the Tepeyac causeway, which served as a bridge between the city of Tenochtitlán and the mainland, to the north. The wide avenue also served to separate the fresh spring-fed waters around the Aztec capital from the more brackish waters.
Source: Milenio (sp)