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Santa María Tepetlalzingo is one of the original settlements of Benito Juárez. In fact, it’s visible as a shaded island on our map of 1521. Though the contours of the island can only be guessed, it was likely a very small fishing village. The Nahuatl name means “small sepulchre or tomb.” So, things already start to get interesting!

Today the church of Santa María de la Natividad Tepetlalzingo stands rather forlorn facing Eje Central. It’s unusual in still presenting an intact atrial wall. Remember, most church atriums were converted to city parks after the mid-19th-century religious reforms.

Our map shows the modern neighborhood of  Niños Héroes de Chapultepec. But this is just to give and idea of the larger ancient settlement. The Church is usually referred to as Nativitas, although the Nativitas neighborhood is today directly east.

An original chapel was standing here already in about 1528. By 1585, a larger church was built as part of the efforts of the Franciscans across much of the area. That church was replaced in 17th-century by the one we see today. The temple is of a single nave in the Baroque style.

Through the 20th century, the church as the site of famous and lively processions. A wooden figure of the Virgin Mary was paraded through the streets and is still revered. It’s among very few representations of the Virigin as a child. According to legend, this was originally lent from a church in Santa Fe. It’s said to have miraculously reappeared here after one such procession.

 

Sources cited on this page:
El Color de la Fe/Diego Rodarte: Santa María Nativitas Tepetlalzingo

Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México –
Coordinación Nacional de Monumentos Históricos.
“Ficha del Catálogo Nacional de Monumentos Históricos Inmuebles número
I-09-01179 . -. Disponible en: http://catalogonacionalmhi.inah.gob.mx/consulta_publica/detalle/10768

Nearest Venues

How to get here
Location
Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 806, Niños Héroes, Benito Juárez, 03440 CDMX

Public Art/Monuments

Iglesia de Santa María de la Natividad

Nearest at 0.04 kms.

Mercado Nativitas

Nearest at 0.07 kms.

Markets

Mercado Postal Zona, Benito Juárez

Nearest at 0.36 kms.

Public Art/Monuments

Instituto Loseling de México

Nearest at 0.49 kms.

Parks

Parque José Refugio Ménez (Parque Odesa)

Nearest at 0.49 kms.

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