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The Pueblo San Diego Churubusco is one of the least understood of Coyoacán’s seven original settlements. Many lists will omit it entirely. It might be better to refer to the original villages as Huitzilopochco. That Nahuatl name come from a combination of the words huitzitzilin, that is, “hummingbird,” and opochtli, meaning “left-handed or southern.” This is an homage to the god Huitzilopochtli. The name was later Hispanicized to Churubusco, and that’s the name by which it was known through the colonial period.
Although the area has been settled since about 1,065 B.C.E., it only enters into recorded history as the site of a market. During the ancient period it was a well-known stop before or after voyages on the ancient Calzada de Tlalpan.
Today the neighborhood is dominated by the presence of the Museum of the Interventions in the old Churubusco Monastery. Indeed, that monastery was the center of the old town, and it’s built on top of an old temple to Huitzilopochtli. Remnants of that temple were only discovered in the late 20th century.
Neighborhoods still bearing the name “Churubusco” extend especially eastward from here. These cover much of the old Monastery grounds and farmland. There also, some will say most importantly, the site of the famous 1847 Battle of Churubusco. For more on that theme, see the Museum of the Interventions entry.
The ancient town came under Franciscan jurisdiction early in the 16th century. The friars themselves built a small brick church on the site of the monastery between 1528 and 1548. By 1587, it passed to control by the Dieguinos branch of the Franciscan order. That explains the name of the neighborhood, under the patronage of San Diego. Their monastery was dedicated to Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles.
The complex continued operating a monastery until the 1847 US invasion. Thereafter, it served as a military hospital, and most of the surrounding grounds continued to serve as agricultural fields.
Even prior to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, the area became host to the first golf club in Mexico. Although not operated continuously, it survives as the Club Campestre de la Ciudad de México. This was followed, after the war, by the urbanization we see today.
The famous Estudios Churubusco film studios opened nearby. This survives, even today, adjacent to the CENART complex. Both enormous complexes are on the former land of the Churubusco Monastery. The Churubusco Azteca studios are today part of the Mexican Federal Ministry of Culture.
Arriving to the town of San Diego Churubusco is easy via the Metro General Anaya. It’s a bit further from Metro Coyoacán. The walk takes about 35 minutes. It’s about 20 minutes walking from the Frida Kahlo museum.