The Barrio San Antonio Molotla takes its name from the Náhuatl meaning “place of sparrows.” Just a walk through some of its streets will bear witness to a densely populated neighborhood. It still, somehow, holds onto an echo of the Baroque in its many curves and stone ledges. As it’s just north of the terminal Xochimilco light-rail station, San Antonio is often one of the first neighborhoods that international visitors will encounter.
The San Antonio Molotla Chapel dates from the 17th century. It may be the most perfect Baroque chapel in the City’s south. Dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, it’s the central church for the neighborhood of the same name. The chapel consists of a single nave and a bell tower with two bells. Still, the chapel’s perfect symmetry and simplicity might be described as admittedly charming.
Inside, a 1918 inventory recorded a 1757 oil painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe by Carlos Medina. There’s also an oil painting of Santa Cecilia, and one of Santa Rosa of Lima, from the 17th century. In the sacristy is a 17th century painting of Santa Bárbara. The church was restored in 1899. In 1984, some unauthorized restorations were also made.
The Plaza of San Antonio Molotla, out front of the chapel, is a popular meeting place. It’s also a refreshing spot to rest if you’ve been to the market, or to any number of the many sights within the Xochimilco Centro area.