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The Macroplaza Cuitláhuac is an extension of the old atrium of the San Lucas Evangelista church. It’s the physical and emotional, if not geographic, center of Iztapalapa. It’s also the center of the local government and the most important part of the Historic Center of Iztapalapa.
The area includes the Explanada del Jardín Cuitláhuac, the garden itself, and the remains of the church atrium. On the southern end is the Cuitlahuac Monument. And plenty of people will include mention of the Mercado Cabecera Iztapalapa, one of the most important public markets, in any description of the area.
Completely remodeled in 2014, it was the second most expensive public park in the City, after only the Alameda Central. Designed by the architect Enrique Norten, the remodeling included the granite pavement, plus trees and an expanded pedestrian zone. The National Institute of Anthropology and History, (INAH), also did extensive excavations in the garden.
Those excavations led to the discovery of some remains of a temple now recognized as connected with the last Lords of Iztapalapa. Cuitlahuac himself held the position at the time of the Spanish invasion of Mexico. He then rose to the position of 10th Huey Tlatoani, the penultimate emperor of ancient Tenochtitlan for 80 days during 1520. This explains his prominence in the area.
The Cuitlahuac Garden of today descends to us from that where the Spanish were taken priot to their first meeting with Moctezuma in 1519. They were invited to visit the orchard of the lord of Itztapalapa, Cuitláhuac II. Díaz del Castillo recounts that the garden was like something he couldn’t have dreamed of. Flowers and flowering fruit trees and bushes could be visited without leaving the canals and the canoes.
Don’t confuse the Macroplaza with the larger Parque Cuitlahuac, one of the most important new parks in Iztapalapa. It’s about a 15-minute drive directly east of the Centro Historico.
Of course, as a prominent civic plaza, the Cuitlahuac Macroplaza is also surrounded by all the offices and service providers that keep the local government going. It’s an increasingly important part of the City, and one that welcomes a growing number of international visitors. It’s all just five-minutes walking north from Metro Iztapalapa.