Photo: Milton Martínez / Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México.
San Andrés Tetepilco is one of the 15 Pueblos Originarios of Iztapalapa. On the alcaldia’s very western border, it’s just east of Benito Juárez and south of Iztacalco.
Tetepilco is the Nahuatl name. It means something like “the nature of the woman carved in stone.” The town dates from ancient times but it’s most famous today for its colonial-era architecture of which the church is the most splendid example.
Begun in 1566 by the Franciscans, it was later finished by the Augustinians. The feast of the patron saint, San Andrés Apóstol, a patron saint of livestock and agriculture, is celebrated on November 30. The street festival is often a colorful affair that includes traditional and pre-Hispanic dances and music.
The Spring Carnival is also traditionally an important event for the neighborhood and sometimes for the other 14 pueblos originarios. March and April weekends are traditionally given over to pre-Hispanic celebrations. It’s an Iztapalapa tradition intended to send off the winter and welcome the growing season, fertility, planting and harvest. San Andrés Tetepilco also celebrates its own passion play, often in competition with the much larger and better known celebrations in the center of Iztapalapa.
The neighborhood itself is also home to the museum of Electric Transport, as it is to the headquarters of the trolleybus system. Not far from Metro Portales, it’s a surprisingly vibrant and curious neighborhood just inside the Iztapalapa alcaldía.