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Plaza la Aguilita / Plaza Juan José Baz

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The Plaza la Aguilita is a very old public square in the Barrio La Merced. Also known as the Plaza Juan José Baz Plaza, it extends to the north and south along pedestrian-only Calle Talavera. The site is the legendary location of the 1325 sighting of an eagle by the ancient Mexica people. They knew to found ancient Tenochtitlan as a prophecy had told them to watch for an eagle eating a snake atop a cactus. The plaza has thus long been known as “La Aguilita,” meaning simply, the little eagle.

  • Juan José del Refugio Baz Palafox (1820 – 1887), was a politician and military man during several important periods of the 19th century. Born in Guadalajara, he moved to Mexico City in 1838. By 1846, he was a strong supporter of the Reformation and was appointed Governor of Mexico City, then known as the Federal District. He took up the same position in 1855 and 1856 and again in 1863. He later fought in the siege of Puebla, and eventually against the regime of Maximilian I.

A 2009 remodeling restored the central fountain. It bears a famous column and a sculpture of the eagle with a snake. There are also ceramic tiles representing the forty-two national coats of arms in Talavera ceramics. The square likely dates from at least the 16th century. For many years, residents used it simply as a parking lot. Some believe that the fountain sculpture, or a variant thereof, has stood here since the 15th century.

Today residents and visitors gather in the Plaza la Aguilita from all over the Barrio Merced neighborhood. It’s essential to anyone exploring the sites in the lower east side of the Centro Histórico.

How to get here
  • Pl. Juan José Baz 7, Centro Histórico, Cuauhtémoc, 06990 CDMX


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