The length of Paseo de la Reforma is punctuated by glorietas – roundabouts at the major intersections – each with a distinctive statue, providing easy landmarks along the way. The first, if heading southwest from the Alameda, is the Glorieta Colón, with a statue of Christopher Columbus. Around the base of the plinth are carved various friars and monks who assisted Columbus in his enterprise or brought the Catholic faith to the Mexicans.
The Plaza de la República is just off to the north. Next comes the crossing of Insurgentes, nodal point of all the city’s traffic, with Cuauhtémoc, last emperor of the Aztecs and leader of their resistance, poised aloof above it all in a plumed robe, clutching his spear, surrounded by warriors. Bas-relief engravings on the pedestal depict his torture and execution at the hands of the Spanish, desperate to discover where the Aztec treasures lay hidden. El Ángel, a golden winged victory atop a 40m column, is the third to look out for, and the place to alight for the centre of the Zona Rosa.