The Tribuna Monumental is a giant monument in Chapultepec Park (Section 1). It was built in the style of a Roman amphitheater, or hemicycle. It’s dedicated to the fallen of Mexico’s Squadran 201 who were killed in the Pacific theater during World War II. It’s also known as the Monumento a las Águilas Caídas, that is, the Monument to the Fallen Eagles. It’s more rarely referred to as the Monumento a los Héroes del Escuadrón 201, too.
But in fact, the monument originated as a work by a then very young architect, Nicolás Mariscal (1875-1964). He designed it, originally in 1905, in tribute to the 1847 Battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec. Some of those casualties would have fallen on these very slopes. Mariscal is principally remembered in today’s Mexico City for the striking Fatima Church in Roma Norte. Church construction began some 53 years after this monument, in 1958.
The Tribuna Monumental was re-dedicated to the members of the Mexican Air Force in 1990. The monument includes a number of commemorative bronze plaques listing the names of the more than 200 members of Squadron 201. They were the only Mexican military contingent to see active duty during World War II. Five of them lost the lives in the conflict.
The monument is directly behind a famous ahuehuete tree. El Sargento, as the grand tree is named, is said to have been planted by Nezahualcóyotl himself in 1460. It’s believed to have been more than 500 years old when the tree died in 1969.
With all that said, the monument and its plaza are refreshing places to find oneself. Usually all but empty, it has been used for works of theater in the past.