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The Jardín Hidalgo and Cathedral Atrium provide the real center to the Azcapotzalco Center. The Hidalgo Garden takes up what was once a much larger atrium for the Cathedral. Once the parish church for the old town of Azcapotzalco, it was also, importantly the site of the final battle of the Independence War.
Today the park and atrium are home to the Casa de Cultura de Azcapotzalco. It’s one of the most prominent centers of its kind in Mexico City. The building was once the delegation headquarters for Azcapotzalco and was converted into a cultural center only in 1991. It also stands on an important ceremonial site of the ancient Tepeneca people. That’s why the Dominicans first founded the Baroque church of Philip and James, (Santos Apóstoles Felipe y Santiago) here. The building dates from 1565. It became a Cathedral, that is, the seat of the Bishop, only in 2019.
Today the Jardín Hidalgo is a lot more secular. It’s packed on Sundays and important public space for the people of the surrounding neighborhoods and perhaps for the entire area. The Century 21 Park (Parque Siglo XXI) provides a fun kids’ play area. It’s on the northwest corner of the atrium. But most of the park is dedicated to strolling and socializing. Surrounded by eateries and a few cantinas, it’s an essential square for understanding the broader north of the City, and especially Azcapotzalco.