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Coltongo is likely the most unsung of original settlements in Azcapotzalco. Far to the east, it’s easy to imagine it as a tiny settlment on the same island as Magdalena de las Salinas, that is, a long mudflat island.
The name in Nahuatl refers to the people’s devotion to Coltzin, (Tollocan, Tollotzin). The “venerable little bowed one” is a deity strongly associated with the Matlatzinca ethnic group. These people were centered in Toluca, far to the west in Mexico State. The deity influences the name of their city, but also that of ancient Culhuacán. An alternative theory suggests the name may refer to a crook in the causeway that turned northward here, and which can still be seen in the ancient Calzada de Coltongo.
In some sense, the town name also reflects that the town chapel was dedicated to Jesus the Nazarene. That explains why the town name refers to no other patron saint. The scourged Christ, doubled over, is thought to syncretically resemble Coltzin. Coltongo was sometimes referred to as Coltongo de las Salinas, too.
It’s not obvious, but parts of the chapel originated in the 18th century. This includes the vaulting and even some of the exterior walls made of adobe and tepetate, that is, the compacted volcanic earth. Most of the church is new.
The town has a Metrobús station named for it, on Line 3. The church and the town square is about a ten-minute walk.