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Despite its ancient appearance, the Santiago Apóstol church dates only to 1953. The first stone was laid in honor of St. James the Apostle, deriving over many hundreds of previous years into the name “Santiago.” But it’s the other stones that make this church significant.

By the late 1950s, Mexico City had decided that its cerros were more important than all of the cladding. Tezontle had been quarried for centuries mostly from extinct volcanoes.  The source of all of that distinctive, porous, blood-red rock, was used for the facade of the Santiago Apóstol and makes it one of the last churches to be thus clad. Tezontle lends the church, now, an age far greater than is actually the case.

Enhanced at least once per year by the great flowered entrance arch, the building may seem older, if no less distinguished. It’s just down the street from Iztacalco’s other notable religious sites, but shouldn’t be left out of a local walking tour. Nearby and within walking distance are:

In fact, any stroll through the curiously crooked, often ancient, and usually indescribable center of Iztacalco is going to be richly rewarded. With a light, bright interior, stained glass, and carefully carved pews, hundreds of other details speak to a well-cared for church. The interior is softer and newer than the truly prehistoric facade.

Among the final churches to be entirely clad in a particular blood red, it's one to look at.

How to get here
  • Av. Santiago 54, Santiago Norte, Iztacalco, 08820 Ciudad de México, CDMX
  • 55 5633 8112

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Mexico City

Cultural Capital of the Americas