The Calzada del Rey, literally the Causeway of the King, is named for the ancient Tlatoani, Nezahualcoyotl. Today it’s one of the most important east-west throughways across Chapultepec Park. It was named in honor Nezahualcoyotl who built the famous hydrological works of ancient Tenochtitlan. These kept brackish waters to the east, and nearly surrounded the island capital in fresh water. This helped to control flooding and supported agriculture in and around the ancient city. The 17-kms dike also served as a causeway to keep the capital in communication with the outlying areas.
Here in Chapultepec, Netzahualcoyotl is believed to have planted several ahuehuete trees. Most famously one is still known as “el Sargento” and died only in 1969. Work began on this section of the Chapultepec Forest in the late 19th century, under the influence of José Yves Limantour with support from Miguel Ángel de Quevedo.
Quevedo famously visited the forests of Bologna (Italy) and Vincennes in France in 1900. He returned to influence President Porfirio Díaz to begin work on parks and gardens throughout Mexico City. During these years multiple new ahuehuete trees were planted.
The Calzada del Rey Netzahualcoyotl runs from the Glorieta de la Lealtad entrance to the park in the west, just north of the Molina del Rey and the Los Pinos Cultural Center. It runs directly east across the park before bearing north around the base of the Chapultepec hill, and ends at the Old Guard House at the entrance to the road to Chapultepec Castle.
A fabled journey into Mexico City's forested past...