Photo Walk Nº22 – Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Square of the Three Cultures)
Our Photo Walk Nº22 took us to Tlatelolco, to the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Square of the Three Cultures), where you can see three layers of historical periods all in the same square – Aztec ruins, a Colonial church and convent and a 1964 housing complex. This square has also been the scene of three tragic events: the slaughter of 40,000 Indians when the Spaniards conquered Tlatelolco, the massacre of around 300 students by troops in 1968 and the 1985 earthquake which saw some of the apartment buildings collapse killing hundreds of residents.
We started by visiting the Aztec ruins. Tlatelolco was the sister city of Tenochtitlan (downtown Zocalo area) and the site of the largest market in those days. It had an impressive pyramid topped by a temple which the Spaniards destroyed and used to build the Iglesia de Santiago and convent. Surrounding the square and ruins is a massive 1960s apartment building complex, once the symbol of modern progress but now sadly dilapidated, especially after the earthquake damage.
Then we photographed the wreaths, candles and messages left by those taking part in the march on 2nd October to commemorate the 1968 massacre of students and visited the church and convent with its peaceful cloistered garden. A short walk through part of the housing complex took us to Tecpan where we saw the Siqueiros mural. Finally we walked back through the Jardín de Santiago, one of the many parks in the area with its bushes sculpted into animal shapes.