The Centro de Tlalpan is the former city or Villa of Tlalpan. Centered around the old church and monastery of San Agustín de las Cuevas, (see below) today it's one of the oldest towns in Mexico City, and a charming historical neighborhood.
Founded by the Nahuatl-speaking Xochimilca people, they are thought to have cooperated here with Tepaneca people whose conflict might be better understood as being more exclusively with the Mexica. Both were eventually conquered here by Tenochtitlan and so allying with the Spanish against Tenochtitlan got the town some later rewards during the colonial period.
The town of San Agustín de las Cuevas was granted its own territory, and was independent of Xochimilco by the mid-16th century. In the independence period it was briefly the capital of the State of Mexico when that state entirely surrounded Mexico City. After the USA invasion, the Federal District annexed much more territory to the south. Tlalpan was renamed, and its seat of government was here as it is today.
Today the Centro de Tlalpan is the most colonial-feeling part of the alcaldía. It's also one of the most concentrated areas of historic and cultural attractions. The listings below are intended to make it easier to explore the area around the cobblestoned streets and to get more out of your visit.