El Ángel de la Independencia ("The Angel of Independence"), most commonly known by the shortened name El Ángel and officially known as Monumento a la Independencia, is a victory column located on a roundabout over Paseo de la Reforma
in downtown Mexico
El Ángel was built to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico's War of Independence, celebrated in 1810. In later years it was made into a mausoleum for the most important heroes of that war. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City
, and it has become a focal point for both celebration or protest. It bears a resemblance to the July Column in Paris and the Victory Column in Berlin.
The base of the column is quadrangular with each vertex featuring a bronze sculpture symbolizing Law, War, Justice and Peace. Originally there were nine steps leading to the base, but due to the sinking of the ground fourteen more steps were added. In front of this inscription is a bronze statue of a giant lion led by a child, representing strength and the innocence of youth during War but docility during Peace.Visitors are allowed to enter the monument, view the memorial plaques at the base level, and climb to the top of the tower. Entrance is free. Visitors sign in and temporarily surrender their photo identification for a colored tag on a lanyard. Groups of about 12 are then allowed into the monument for about 15 minutes.