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Barrio La Santísima Trinidad Chililico or “La Santísima” is one of the original neighborhoods in the historic center of Xochimilco. It’s one of the oldest barrios of the city to remain essentially intact. Thought of as a single island, it’s technically three interconnected chinampas. These connect by land to San Esteban to the south and west.
The neighborhood was well known for having hosted a school frequented by the ruling classes of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. It is said that students came from as far away as Central America. There’s no doubt that the neighborhood was linked to important ceremonial and religious sites. Many of the religious sculptures and other objects are thought to have been thrown into the canals after the arrival of the Spanish and likely remain there to this day.
In 1576, the local leader Cuitlalpitoc died leaving his son Chililico as his successor. The son was baptized on the day of San Santiago and thus took the name Santiago Chililico. Santiago Chililico ruled the newly named neighborhood of La Trinidad which later adopted the leader’s name too.
The church still holds an 18th-century wooden sculpture despite extensive damage during the 2017 earthquakes. It stands out for indigenous facial features.
Today’s Chililico is roughly a 7 minute walk from the chapel of San Esteban. It’s a rewarding walk. International visitors will often stumble upon the neighborhood en route to the Puente de Urrutia.
Xochimilco and its traditions; Santísima Trinidad Chililico. De la Cruz López Santos Acevedo 2007 “Xochimilco its history, its legends”.
Cordero López Rodolfo 1994, “Santiago Apostle and the heroism of Xochimilco”.
By: Carlos Scriba