Chapel of Santa Cruz, Iztacalco



The Santa Cruz Chapel in Iztacalco was built between the 17th and 18th centuries. Since 1989, it’s been classified as a historical monument by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. What you’ll find today is a very chapel, one of the oldest in the city, and a suitable starting point for exploring the rest of the neighborhood.

In fact, no fewer than five buildings are listed as historical monuments in the neighborhood. These are the Chapel de la Santa Cruz, built in the 17th century and remodeled in the 18th. The Santa Cruz hermitage was built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The dome was added in the 18th century. There’s also one house built in the 18th century, and two more from the 19th century.

In the middle of Lake Texcoco, the Iztacalco island was settled late when compared to other places in the Valley of Mexico. The first inhabitants occupied themselves extracting salt, and the emblem of the current alcaldia, a copy of the glyph that appears in the Mendocino codex, and still testifies to this fact. It’s house with a filter for the separation of water and brine.

Early photograph of the Santa Cruz Chapel (from Wikimedia commons)
An early photograph of the Santa Cruz Chapel (from Wikimedia commons)

According to the Xólotl codez, Iztacalco, Zacatlamanco and Mixhuca were the last places settled by the Aztecs searching for signs from the god, Huitzilopochtli. During the post-classical period, Iztacalco was a vassal town of the Triple Alliance.

The New Spain Period

After the conquest, the town of Iztacalco was made subject to the jurisdiction of San Juan Tenochtitlan and evangelized by Franciscan missionaries. They founded the hermitage and chapel in the middle of the 16th century. But the number of clerics in the complex was never high.

Iztacalco began developing when the Viga canal connected it to Mexico City and the lakeside towns of Xochimilco, Mixquic, and Tulyehualco. Together with the neighboring town of Santa Anita Zacatlamanco, it became an obligatory stop for vessels heading into the City. It’s status as a stop for flower and vegetable dealers lasted through the beginning of the 20th century.

San Matias Church and Barrio La Asunción

Barrio La Asunción is centered around the San Matias Church and Monastery, among the oldest in the city.

Chapel of the Assumption, Iztacalco

Central Iztacalco's Chapel of the Assumption adds charm to any afternoon, amidst crooked Barrio la Asunción streets