Strolling around this park is a great way to break up sightseeing in the neighborhood. During the week it's quite lively. You'll be able to find a shaded bench for a few moments of rest before heading off to more museums. There are food vendors throughout the park, selling all kinds of snacks, from ice cream to grilled corn on the cob. The park has been an important center of activity since Aztec times, when the Indians held their tianguis (market) here. In the early days of the viceroyalty the Inquisition burned its victims at the stake here. Later, national leaders, from 18th-century viceroys to Emperor Maximilian and President Porfirio Díaz, envisioned the park as a symbol of civic pride and prosperity. In fact, the park was enjoyed exclusively by the wealthy during this time, and it was only open to the public after independence. Still, Life in Mexico, the quintessential book on the country, describes how women donned their finest jewels to walk around the park even after independence. Over the centuries it has been fitted out with fountains, a Moorish kiosk imported from Paris, and ash, willow, and poplar trees. A white-marble monument, Hemiciclo a Benito Juárez, stands on the Avenida Juárez side of the park.