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Photos: Lore Colorado, Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
The Amaxalco Oratory is a small Catholic temple from the 18th century. Just a few blocks south of the Tlalpan Centro, it’s a private church of such an exquisite Baroque that to visit Tlalpan and miss it is not recommended. Some modifications were made in the 19th century but its a unique and exceptional sight.
At one time there were some six oratories in Tlalpan. Oratories, in the canon law of the Roman Catholic church, are recognized as private or semi-private temples or chapels.
This one was originally part of an upper-income home in the immediate vicinity. Northern Tlalpan was the city of San Agustín de las Cuevas for most of the colonial period. At the beginning of the 20th century, this chapel was part of the home of an architect named Francisco M. Rodríguez. The home itself was demolished in the 1980s and only this small oratory was preserved. It had been declared a historical monument in 1954.
The oratory facade is richly decorated and the figures show likely indigenous carving in stone. The church is also beloved for its bell-gable, often used on smaller structures in place of a bell tower. The entranceway arch is flanked by two thick pilasters, with very wide spandrels decorated in floral decorations. A niche on the upper part of the frieze bears a figure. Two more richly decorated mixti-linear oculi windows flank each side of the entranceway.
Residents of the neighborhood prevented the destruction of the church at the time when the home was demolished.