The parish church of La Concepción de Tequipeuhcan is a fascinating, ruddy old church in the very north of Tepito. It’s most famous for plaque which informs us that Tequipeuhcan can be translated to “the place where slavery began.” The preceding indigenous neighborhood had been known as Atenantitlan.
As the original residents were barred from trading in the enormous Tlatelolco market, it was also known as a place for those entering the market to stay. Thus another name was Mecamalinco, meaning, roughly, “for carriers.”
Today, it’s a far northern point in Tepito, itself something of conceptual place rather than a formally defined neighborhood. Most of the formal neighborhood of Morelos is considered Tepito, the Barrio Bravo. But Tepito overlaps with some surrounding neighborhoods too.
Tepito’s name comes from a small temple known in ancient times as Teocultepitan. The Spanish shortened the name to Tepito. It was not considered part of Tenochtitlan. The temple is believed to have stood in the area of the Plaza Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas before the outstanding San Francisco Church.
Cuauhtémoc of course remains a popular figure of resistance across Mexican culture, even to this day. And without delving into too much post-Colonial pontificating, it can be assumed that the surrender of Cuauhtémoc, and thus the subjugation of the Mexica people, began very near to here. The event is still commemorated each year on August 13 at this church.
The parish church was began as a small hermitage. By 1699, as noted in one of the arches, the hermitage, was modified and expanded to the church we see today. It appeared first on Pedro de Arrieta‘s map, now housed in the National Museum of History, in 1737.
The entire façade has been restored numerous times. The bell tower is believed to be original, and thus, is in an obvious state of disrepair.