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01.27.2010

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Tacubaya
Zones of Mexico City

Tacubaya is an area located approximately 7 kms southwest of Mexico City's Historical Centre; its northern limits are San Miguel Chapultepec and the Condesa neighbourhood, to the east there's the Escandón neighbourhood, to the south San Pedro de los Pinos and to the west the Periférico Beltway.

This area in the Mexican Valley has been a traditional population centre since prehispanic times. The name Tacubaya derives from the nahuatl 'Atlacuihuani' which has two possible meanings: “vase for getting the water” or “the place where the 'atlatl' was taken” (the atlatl was a weapon used by the villagers of central Mexico during the precolonial period). During the time of the viceroyalty the area had a significant development because of the abundance of water provided by the streams that passed through the region, which allowed the cultivation of orange, plum and olive trees, among others. After the 1607 floods in Mexico City, Felipe III proposed that the capital of the New Spain should relocate to this village, which was located at a higher altitude and would be less susceptible to floods; nevertheless, facing the very high cost this move represented and the important investments that had been destined for the construction of several buildings in the city's centre, the project was not approved. Meanwhile, more houses and country properties started to spread all around Tacubaya. The properties achieved great prosperity; one of the most famous is the Casa de la Bola, which still exists today. 

During the 19th Century, the village of Tacubaya was one of the most important centres of population inside the Federal District and a compulsory visit for anyone who travelled from Mexico City's centre to other villages to the west like Mixcoac or San Ángel. Because of this, in the late 19th Century, several housing blocks were developed   in the area surrounding Tacubaya; some still exist today, like the neighbourhoods San Miguel Chapultepec, San Pedro de los Pinos and Escandón, areas which have very unclear limits due to the fact that they originally were a mere extension of Tacubaya. Simple houses with brick friezes, alleyways and eclectic constructions made up this urban landscape.

Unfortunately, the 20th Century arrived and, coupled with the excesive use of cars, ruined the beauty and the urban landscape of Tacubaya, with the creation of the Miguel Alemán Viaduct and the Periférico, as well as the extension of Revolución and Patriotismo Avenue, which literally cut the area by crossing its centre and separating all urban landmarks of the place, as a result of one of the worst urban planning decisions made in the history of modern Mexico City.

And thus our visit to Tacubaya will be marked by disintegration and rupture, but also by the adventure that is to explore it; to find beautiful buildings among its alleyways and avenues which exist to remind us of a rich past full of history, inserts in the middle of the urban chaos that conserve their own spirit like the Lira Park, Casa Luis Barragán or the stately Casa de la Bola, which represent an oasis in the middle of the city; while a visit to Revolución Avenue will reveal the architectural force and expressivity of the works by Juan Segura, two of the best 20th Century buildings in Mexico City.

Tacubaya invites us to revalue it, to rescue it, to put it back together, to connect what is broken, to turn it back into a city. We can start by getting to know it.

Places to visit in the area:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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