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West of the Palacio de Bellas Artes lies the Alameda, first laid out as a park in 1592, and taking its name from the alamos (poplars) then planted. The Alameda had originally been an Aztec market and later became the site where the Inquisition burned its victims at the stake. Most of what you see now – formally laid-out paths and flowerbeds, ornamental statuary and fountains – dates from the nineteenth century, when it was the fashionable place to stroll. It’s still popular, always full of people, particularly at weekends, but it’s mostly a transient population – office workers taking lunch, shoppers resting their feet, messengers taking a short cut and street vendors selling T-shirts.

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