Coyoacan Historic District

Coyoacan Historic District

Mexico City Suburb

Located on the southern shore of Lake Texcoc, the Tepanec dominated village of Coyoacan, in the early 1500’s was the landing point for Henan Cortes and his Spanish explorers.

The Tepanec people were Mesoamericans who were fighting domination by the Aztecs. The Tepanec people welcomed Cortes in hopes that the Spanish could help in the struggle against the Aztecs. The Spanish explorers soon became the Spanish invaders who used Coyoacan as the command center for the systematic destruction of the Aztec Empire. The village became the capital of New Spain after the conquest of the Aztecs in 1513 and was to stay independent of the government in New Mexico until well into the 19th century.

The Federal District was expanded in 1857 and a huge area including Coyoacan, was incorporated into it. The village became part of the 16th borough when the Federal District was divided in 1928.

Mexico City continued its meteoric population growth causing it to sprawl outward in all directions. Lakes, heavily wooded forests, fertile farms and whole villages in the 16th borough were subjected to heavy development of homes, businesses and roadways.

Fortunately, many of the villages of the 16th borough were able to maintain the original layouts of small Zocolos or plazas, narrow cobblestone streets and adobe buildings constructed from the 16th to the early 20th century. The borough of Coyoacan has become home to a large historic district that is of deep interest to scholars and visitors alike.  

The historic district—now 29 blocks—is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Mexico City and is referred to as Villa Coyoacan to distinguish it from the rest of the Coyoacan borough. Approximately 70,000 visitors flood the village on weekends to enjoy the fiesta-like atmosphere. Clowns, mimes, musicians, dancers and storytellers entertain crowds as everyone shops from street vendors who sell everything from ice cream to corn-on-the-cob as well as candies and hot foods such as tortas and quesadillas.