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San Juan Ixtayopan, Tláhuac

San Juan Ixtayopan
Photo: a 2013 photo including the striking entranceway arch,  Alejandro Linares Garcia on Wikimedia Commons

San Juan Ixtayopan is another of the seven original towns of Tláhuac.  On the northeast slope of the Teuhtli volcano, the town used to be on the very shore of the Chalco lake. The remains of an agricultural village have been dated to 1200 BCE. Today a rich olive growing area, the first trees are said to have been planted in 1531.

The Nahuatl name, “Ixtayopan,” has been translated as “place of white earth,” and “place on the salt. The location determined the way of life here: greatly influenced by the lake, as a fishing village. This later developed into the rich agricultural system, based on chinampas, of the Xochimilca people, although the settlement is largely a Chichimeca settlement. It later became an important Mexica settlement with many prominent families living here. 

The Zapatistas and the Battles of Ixtayopan.

San Juan Ixtayopan was famously the site numerous battles and skirmishes between federal troops and the Zapatista army. The entire region is said to have been in a state of near constant anxiety for the length of the war. Fighting lasted until practically the end of the conflict in 1920.

San Juan Ixtayopan is also famous in Tláhuac for its colored sawdust mats put down in the streets at Easter time. Resident gather at dawn on Easter to walk the streets fantastically adorned in sawdust.

The Church and Solitude Square

The San Juan Bautista Church is built on the 16th century Plaza de Soledad. Popular tradition holds that the plaza was built to honor the Virgin of Solitude, often venerated in the state of Puebla. It’s said that around the year 1770, a pilgrimage from the town of San Miguel Topilejo (in today’s Tlalpan) stopped at the home of an inhabitant of San Juan Ixtayopan. They are said to have noticed a very deteriorated canvas bearing the image of the Virgen de la Soledad. It also emanated a pleasant aroma. The image remained in San Juan Ixtayopan and pilgrims from Puebla were invited to continue visiting it each year on January 3.

To this day, San Juan Ixtayopan’s biggest celebration is on January 3, and often lasts from January 2 to 11.

Phone: +52 55 5848 4016


Price: Free admission


Rodríguez 8, San Agustín, Tláhuac, 13508 CDMX