San Bartolo Ameyalco is an original settlement in Álvaro Obregón. High in the mountains of the west of the City, it’s a rugged traditional town. The Nahuatl name comes from the combination of the Nahuatl words “cuautla” (forest) and “ameyalli” (source or spring). Thus, the name could be translated, roughly, to forest spring.
A spring called the Ojo del Agua, eye of water, still supplies much of the town’s water. It’s referenced in the Mendocino Codex with a glyph depicting a gushing spring. The water also explains the existence of the couple of historic laundries.
Ameyalco is believed to have been founded between 1450 and 1500, although artifacts push settlement much further back. Original inhabitants are believed to have been Tlaltecos i.e.; fishermen. They’re believed to have settled around the Xaxalpa lagoon which reulted from the freshwater spring.
According to tradition, they arrived from Chimalhuacán far east across the City and then under the dominion of Texcoco. The Huey Tlatoani Chimalpopoca is said to have permitted them to remain here in exchange for daily deliveries of fish.
With the fall to the Spanish, the town became part of the Marquisate of the Valley of Oaxaca. The town of San Bartolo Ameyalco was founded soon thereafter and dedicated to San Bartolomé Apóstol as is the church to this day.
The Franciscans built a first chapel of tile and adobe here in 1534. By 1622 the church we see today was built. The larger building was erected next to the original in 1979. Locals call the two buildings, “El Puente,” The Point, in reference to their centrality to town life. There’s also a fixed stage for residents and visitors to enjoy the musical groups during the town’s festivities, mainly Sinaloan bands, the inhabitants consider it disrespectful to dance inside the church grounds, so if you want to dance it will have to be in the street, which is where everyone does it.
Most locals will get to San Bartolo Ameyalco by buses that originate at Metro Viveros or Miguel Ángel de Quevedo. Of course, a taxi from the same areas can make it a little faster.