Photo Walk Nº38 – Chimalistac

A haven of peace and quiet in the middle of Mexico City’s hustle and bustle.


Chimalistac is a beautiful peaceful neighborhood snuggling quietly between San Angel and Coyoacán that few people know about and seems worlds away from the chaotic metropolis. This area was formerly the land where the nearby Carmelite Convent had orchards and gardens. Two rivers flowed through here, Rio Magdalena and Rio Chico. Today these have dried up but three bridges made of volcanic rock remain.

We set off from San Angel and crossed busy Avenida Insurgentes, stopping off first in the Jardin de la Bombilla where a massive art-deco style monument to Álvaro Obregón looms over a shallow pond with fountains and is surrounded by shady trees. This marks the spot where the President was assassinated and once housed the arm he lost in battle. Fortunately the original arm was finally cremated and replaced by a bronze replica. Just behind this park, hidden away in some small cobbled streets is a tiny picturesque square with the Chapel of San Sebastian in the middle, overlooked by Colonial style mansions dripping with masses of bougainvillia flowers. This square has an interesting history, along with its residents.

Next we followed the Paseo del Rio, now gardens, which is crossed by three bridges. One of these is called the Pulpit Bridge and is said to be where the friars practised giving their sermons. Not far from this bridge is the Cámara de los Secretos, a small chapel with unusual acoustics. All the streets around here are cobbled and in some of the squares are fountains splashing with water. We also walked past Casa Galvet, designed by renowned Mexican architect, Luis Barragán. Although it is a private house, appointments can be made to visit it.

We left the peace and quiet of Chimalistac and crossed over Avenida Insurgentes once again, almost 30 kms long and one of the longest streets in the world, which runs right through Mexico City from north to south. Bright red Metrobuses carry thousands of people along here every day. Our last stop was a quick walk through San Angel market and back to where the walk began.  

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