Plaza de la Conchita

plaza de la conchita
Photo: César Suárez Hernández on Wikimedia Commons

Coyoacán’s Park of Deception and Betrayal

The square outside of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Coyoacan, is known as “La Plaza de la Conchita.” The named for what is believed to be the single oldest religious building in Mexico.

The plaza, like the church, is built from roughly carved volcanic stone, and, at least in legend, it’s said to have been the home of the notorious Malinche.

The Legends

Soon after the conquest, Hernán Cortes began to build numerous residences. Among those recorded by history are the Plaza and Church of Santa Catarina (Coyoacán), the Church of San Juan Bautista (Coyoacán), and the Old Palace of the City Council of Coyoacán. At that time it was referred to as the Palace of Hernán Cortés, and this was among many others.

Cortés’ conquest was made in the company of an polyglot indigenous woman named La Malinche. She is said to have been his wife, and his translator. Cortés’ is thought to have had a home built on this plaza with a large garden. The church was to accompany this house and placed under the care of the Franciscans.

The neighborhood was survived largely intact preserved, and the plaza out front was once part of the church’s atrium.

La Malinche remains a figure of mystery and controversy even today. She is sometimes confused with the famous La Llorona, the Crier of Xochimilco. Other tales have La Malinche actually marrying Cortés in this very church. As Cortés later abandoned her, it’s thus believed that La Conchita is not the best place to get married.

There are also stories of ancient and not altogether beneficent Toltec dancers who perform in the park at night. In fact, the church is built over a much older Toltec site, and was likely selected for precisely this reason.

Facing the Jardin de la Conchita, a 16th century palace called La Casa Colorada is thought to be among the oldest buildings in the alcaldia. With iron bars on the windows, it is erroneously said to have been the home of Cortes and La Malinche for one year. As a protected historical site, it is only known to have been a military installation for some time during the 18th century.

Within easy walking distance of the Plaza de la Conchita are both Frida Kahlo Park and the Monumento El Monje. This sculpture is sometimes thought to refer to La Malinche, again, as the crier, forever lamenting her betrayals, and those she reaped in reward.

  • Fernández Leal s/n, Col. La Concepción.

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