Cuajimalpa’s “Pueblo Magico”
One of the original towns of Cuajimalpa, San Pedro Cuajimalpa was instrumental in arguing for the independence of indigenous communities across the region. The Techialoyan Codex of Cuajimalpa was written here in the late 17th century to provide documentary evidence of the people’s rights to their lands. They held onto that right until the mid-19th century.
Today San Pedro is one of the city’s classic pueblitos, with a colonial historic center, plaza, and marketplace. An open-air theater, the Foro Pedro Infante, is used for frequent spring and summer concerts, but make no mistake, San Pedro is a rugged mountain community and temperatures are generally a bit cooler than elsewhere in the Valley of Mexico. The Pedro Infante Museum also presents memorabilia from the actor’s long career.
The Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Museum is also nearby, within the Cuajimalpa alcaldia hall. There you’ll find copies of the Techialoyan Codex, among other historical items related to the region and its peoples.
San Pedro Apóstol
The town is built around the Parish of San Pedro Apóstol church, the oldest in Cuajimalpa. Founded in the 16th century, the current building was begun in 1628 and only finished in 1925. A Neoclassical frieze caps a facade mostly covered in red tezontle stone and two bell towers still call the faithful to mass. Inside there’s a single nave and multiple oil paintings and images of the saits, and in particular, St. Peter.
With the completion of the church in the 1920s, the surrounding cemetery was also closed to new interments.
One of the biggest Carnaval celebrations in Mexico City, in San Pedro Cuajimalpa the festivities begin with on the Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday. A group of men called “Huehuenches” dress as women and in other costumes and perform a dance. The performance is believed to be related to the Bear Dances performed in parts of Magdalena Contreras. The performance has taken place for more than 70 years.
Fireworks are set off early, and by afternoon the musicians arrive. This is when the giant flower covered decorations are placed over and around the main entrance to the church and on the interior niches of the saints. There is generally an accompanying fair outside on the plaza.
By Sunday there will be Chinelo, Arriero and Conchero dancers, as well as still more musicians. The result is a pretty significant procession. The fair will last through Tuesday evening.