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09.04.2009

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Tlalpan
Images of Tlalpan / Zones of Mexico City

 

Stage of important events in the history of México, Tlalpan, formerly known as San Agustín de las Cuevas, treasures atmospheres and spaces which are a pleasant escape of the everyday life of the city without even leaving it.

Tlalpan is located to the south of Mexico City among the mountainous landscape of the Ajusco and the areas Pedregal de San Angel and University City.

Tlalpan, which in the náhuatl dialect means “on the earth”, has its most ancient origins centuries before the Christian era, between the years 900 and 600 b.C. with the population of Cuicuilco, of which still today we can appreciate a pyramid, unique in Mesoamérica because of its coned shape, which’s architectural meaning referred to one of the volcanoes of the area. Said prehispanic village was destroyed by a volcanic eruption that covered the whole area with lava, creating the rocky areas in the south of the Valley of Mexico.

During the viceroyship, in a similar way to other nearby populations like San Angel, Tlalpan was a modest agricultural village characterized by its orchards and thick vegetation, which nevertheless was a site of field trips and picnics for the inhabitants of the capital of the New Spain. Properties like the “Casa Chata” (flat house), an interesting 18th Century building which takes its name from the aspect it has of being flat at the corner because it has a third façade, still remain until today. From these times there is also the Temple of San Agustin, an austere parish in front of the main plaza, which possesses simple gardens and a cozy patio shaded by fruit trees.

Afterwards, in the years of Mexico’s Independence, the area received political importance by becoming for a short period of time the capital of the then newly-created state of México. During the six years as the capital, Tlalpan had an extensive development in infrastructure with the opening of the Casa de Moneda (Treasury) and a printing house, where the Cuban writer Jose María Heredia published some of his poems during his stay in Mexico. Later on, in the times when Porfirio Díaz was president, several factories started to be established in the surroundings, the Loreto y Peña Pobre paper factory was one of the most well-known, and after having disappeared, has turned into a beautiful ecological park with environmental education activities and attractions for the whole family. In the years of the Revolution, Tlalpan was a forced way of the “Zapatista” troops which came from the nearby state of Morelos, being precisely the place in which the historical meeting between the Generals Emiliano Zapata and Francisco Villa took place; it was a fundamental event in the struggle.

After the Revolution, Tlalpan became absorbed by the urban expansion of Mexico City in the middle of the 20th Century, which turned the ancient village of San Agustín de las Cuevas into an oasis in which you can enjoy a stroll down the streets, its cultural centers or a nice cup of coffee. The Convent of las Capuchinas deserves to be mentioned, as its chapel, designed by the famous architect Luis Barragán and the artist Mathías Goeritz, is recognized as one of the most beautiful architectural spaces in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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