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The Niños Héroes monument is among the most prominent of the many monuments dedicated to the six young military heroes of the Battle of Chapultepec during the US invasion in 1847.
Notably, this monument was dedicated in the same year as the Fuente de Petróleos, but shows none of the 20th century characteristics for which the latter monument is closely examined. Stylistically it’s more similar to the Benito Juárez Hemicycle from some 40 years earlier.
Constructed entirely from Carrara marble, this monument is the work of architect Enrique Aragón and the sculptor, Ernesto Tamariz. On a plaza at the entrance to Chapultepec, it serves as the backdrop for what is, especially on weekends, one of the city’s most heavily trafficked plazas.
It’s also but one of many obelisks, murals, and similar remembrances to the heroes of the lost battle and one of the saddest moments in Mexican history.
A niche in each of the columns now contains an urn with the remains of the six cadets. The remains of Colonel Felipe Santiago Xicoténcatl are beneath the monument’s main statue. The monument’s dedication reads: “To the Defenders of the Fatherland 1846-1847.”
Officially called the Altar a la Patria (Altar to the Fatherland), it’s far more widely called the Niños Héroes Monument.