The Pueblo Axotla is one of the least-known of the original settlements of Álvaro Obregón. Directly across the street from the Viveros Tree Nursery and Park, it’s closer than most people will imagine.
Modern Mexico City residents are more likely to call it Colonia Axotla today. But the ancient settlement was actually on the southern edge of the Mixcoac River. Evidence suggests that the territory has been occupied since the Late Postclassic period (1350-1519 C.E.). It was an early tributary to the ancient altépetl (city state) of Coyohuacan. After the fall to the Spanish, it continued as part of Coyoacán, and therefore of the Marquisate of the Valley of Oaxaca.
The Dominicans are believed to have begun a church here, dedicated to San Sebastián Mártir, after 1582. The temple we see today opens to the south-east and has a single nave. The coats of arms on the outside may refer to the religious order of friars who built the temple. But the façade entranceway and the atrial arch (shown above) are covered in carved vegetal motifs. Many of these show signs of indigenous craftsmanship.
The bell towers date from the 19th century although much of the carved stone is likely from the 17th century. A cemetery once took up much of the atrium. This was originally much larger and was likely used for outdoor masses and evangelization.
The neighborhood of Axotla is today quite popular. Perhaps obviously, it’s especially convenient to the Center of Coyoacán.