El Llano, Benito Juarez Park

The Benito Juarez park; also known as El Llano, is one of the favorite places for people of Oaxaca City. This park, which works as a lung of the city, is meeting point for diverse people who enjoy jogging, exercising, skating, reading, walking, or just relaxing. At each corner there are two sculptures lions painted in golden color. The amazing fact is that this park was, for a short period of time, from 1950 to 1970, a zoo with African animals.
Since the colonial period this park has been a social area. During a time it had a small train which traveled inside the park. In the middle of the park there is a statue of Benito Juarez over a basement decorated with borders like the archaeological ruins of Mitla. At his feet the Empire crown lies as a symbol of the victory of Mexico over the French empire.

The park is located on Juarez Avenue and Pino Suarez Street in the downtown of Oaxaca City. It has 250 meters long and 75 wide. Its former name was "Llano de Guadalupe" and it was a esplanade covered by grass.

El Llano is one of the most antique and large parks in the downtown. It was created by General Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon in order to celebrate the Mexican independence. In 1870 the governor Miguel Castro built the south side of the park and in 1878 the next governor FranciscoMeixueiro finished the north side. In 1886 governor Luis Mier y Terán finished the whole work. At that time, there was a fountain in the center of the park, which was removed in 1894 and the statue of Juarez was placed at there. At that time the park was known as "Alamedade Netzahualcoyotl".

El Llano hosts one of the most beautiful Oaxaca's celebration "Los viernes del Llano", created by the Universidad Autonoma Benito Juarez de Oaxaca at the beginnings of the twentieth century. This event is celebrated in order to choose the most beautiful girl. Girls walk around and are given with roses. The one who collects more roses is the winner. Roses are given by anyone who decides to be a judge.

Local government installed a wireless Internet connection free of charge inside the park. There could be seen many tourists and local people around the fountains and gardens; some of them playing soccer, reading, taking photos, working in computers, and just hiking in the city. El Llano is a good option to slow the pace of urban motion. It is a place to share with some others, a meeting point where nationality is the last issue to think of.

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