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Santa Maria La Ribera
Images of Santa Maria La Ribera / Zones of Mexico City


Santa María la Ribera, one of the most traditional districts of the city, is an area with an authentic “old town” feel where family businesses blend with ancient houses and monuments that still reflect the dignity this area had as the first modern district of Mexico City.

In this area there existed, during the viceroyship, many agricultural and religious properties, of which two important baroque constructions remain until our time: the Temple of San Cosme and Damien and the Mascarones House, 18th Century residence that belonged to the Counts of the Orizaba Valley.


In the middle of the 19th Century, in reaction to the demographic growth of the city and favoured by the nationalization of ecclesiastical property and the Reformation Laws, the Flores Brothers established the first real estate business in our country, which in 1861 created the Santa María la Ribera district after dividing various ranches and haciendas of the city’s west side. This new area was established as the first planned-out district of the Mexican capital with a reticular plan, and it included a park, a church and a market. The district had a slow start until a few years later, when, in the time of Porfirio Díaz, it registered a rapid development and an important increase in its number of residents, most of them small merchants, retailers and government employees who were attracted to this area because of the quality of its urban spaces and its closeness to the centre of the city.  Most of the buildings in this area are from this time; one or two storey brick houses with small central patios and eclectic-style details on doors and windows. The Byzantine-style Temple of the Josefinos and the Parish of the Wholly Spirit with a sumptuous decoration in its ceiling especially stand out.


This district also represented the ideals of order and modernity of the porfirian times, harboring outstanding buildings and monuments of the 100th anniversary of México’s Independence celebrations like the University Museum del Chopo and the Morisco Kiosk in the central park of the district, in front of which you can also find the porfirian Geology Museum, an exquisite eclectic-style building.


With passing time, the district started to decay and a lot of its inhabitants started moving to other areas of the city, leaving their houses to transform into small businesses and vicinities.


Nevertheless, the value of its architecture was reconsidered and in the last few years the area has started a regeneration process; this and its closeness to the Historical Centre and the familiarity of its streets, is attracting new families, artists and intellectuals who are making of this neighborhood their new home, taking advantage of its economic prices in contrast with the prices in other areas of the city.


Places of interest in the area:


University Museum del Chopo

Morisco Kiosk

Vasconcelos Library


  Mexico, D.F. 2008. All rights reserved.