San Lucas Tlaxopa is one of the few recognized Barrios Originarios of Coyoacán. Just a few blocks from the famous and beloved Conchita neighborhood, San Lucas gets a fraction of the visitors. That’s a shame as it’s a very similar place of crooked tree-lined streets and overwhelming charm.
Long a dependency of the old altepetl of Coyoacán, the ancient neighborhood is thought to have received a boost with the 16th-century building of the tiny chapel we see today. That main chapel was built on orders from Hernán Cortés in what was then an area of cornfields and cattle pasture. The church is, of course, the focal point of the neighborhood. But San Lucas is fortunate in that it’s crooked streets also bear the circular old chapel on Manuel Gutiérrez Zamora and the Fountain of San Miguel on the other side of the, admittedly, not big neighborhood. Both the fountain and the circular chapel are pictured above.
In about 1926, the México-Coyoacán highway opened. Busy Avenida Hidalgo took its first pavement. And a tramline connected the Center of Coyoacan with much of the rest of the City. As a result, surrounding towns were integrated into the new “delegation” (today, it’s the Alcaldía). Both Los Reyes and the Barrio de la Conchita became neighborhoods of the delegation and San Lucas soon followed suit.
Today San Lucas is famously home to the Hospital de la Ceguera, one of Mexico City’s best facilities for eye health and services for blind people. But it’s perhaps most famous for the cobblestone streets. These are punctuated by tiny plazas, some of them mere nooks. And with a highly irregular street layout based on its own old footpaths, it’s a wonderful place to be lost, and likewise, to find oneself.