The Benito Juárez Hemicycle is one of multiple focal points in the Alameda Central. A meeting point, a prominent landmark, and a historical monument, it’s as Neoclassical as things are ever likely to get.
Semicircular, with strong Greek influence, the monument’s 12 Doric columns hold up an entablature and a frieze structure of the same order. The sculpture in the center depicts Benito Juárez with an allegorical “Patria/homeland” crowning him in laurels. A second, the law, holds a torch above his head. Below a republican eagle opens its wings above Neoaztec frets, and a base upon which two lions recline.
The central pillar medallion circled in laurel, reads;
For the Meritorious Benito Juárez, the Homeland.
Construction began on the monument in 1906 to mark the centennial of Juárez’s birth. Engineers were assigned by Porfirio Díaz, personally, and sculptures were completed by the Italian artist Alessandro Lazzerini.
Dedicated on September 18, 1910, the Benito Juárez Hemicycle was the site of National Lottery drawings for many decades. Since the Lottery moved to their own headquarters, it’s served as the backdrop for thousands of quinceañeras and other similar events that mark the seasons and stages of Mexican life.