Our Lady of Mercy of Las Huertas, the Merced de las Huertas chapel, is a tiny 17th-century chapel completed way back in 1680. Today in the neighborhood named for its old town, Popotla, it’s the only part of the old Popotla monastery still standing.
Originally the most important part of the town, by the end of the 17th century it was part of a thriving religious estate that included orchards and gardens for which the region was well-known. The Baroque portico on one side of the chapel was added in 1737. Most of the remains of the monastery and grounds were entirely gone by the mid-20th century. But the chapel was remodeled in 1976 and remains.
The chapel is well-regarded for a wooden statue of the Virgin of Mercy which dates from 1762. It’s popularly called the Virgin of Tacuba according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Stolen in 2005, it was damaged and then kept by the courts until 2012. It then underwent a careful restoration before it was finally returned.
Although Popotla is, according to legend, one of the possible sites of the Noche Triste, i.e.; the sad night of Hernán Cortés fleeing Tenochtitlán along the Mexico-Tacuba Causeway. The Merced de las Huertas Chapel is even today a bright historical spot on this very famous causeway.
During the colonial period, the Popotla neighborhood grew into a strong agricultural region. It remained but a few farmhouses until the end of the 19th century. Only in the Porfirato period, it slowly grew with Victorian and French style mansions overflowing from the city and the newly growing areas of Villa Azcapotzalco and Tacuba. A few homes from this period remain on the Avenida Mar Mediterráneo and Calle de Mar Egeo.