The San Mateo Chapel is the historical center of the old Barrio San Mateo in the Villa Milpa Alta. It’s roughly a six-minute walk west from the town center. Crooked old Guanajuato Poniente makes for a fascinating stroll. There’s almost no way to walk it without stumbling upon the church’s very modern atrial walls.
The Barrio San Mateo takes up most of the southwest corner of the Villa. The church went up in 1883. Parishioners later expanded and enlarged the church between 1958 and 1960. The atrium is irregular and terraced but its something of a private community park for this part of town. But the interior is jaw dropping. It’s among the most ornately decorated of neighborhood chapels, and one that makes the little walk from the center well worth an afternoon.
Like most of the Villa Milpa Alta, it’s a quiet residential neighborhood. The street at the rear of the San Mateo Chapel, and many of the streets of San Mateo are home to a number of recognized historical, and very old buildings. These include especially agricultural buildings. One at Guanajuato #5 is famous for having housed Zapatista forces during the Mexican Revolution. It’s a stone house built in the 19th century. They’re not open to the public but make for an satisfying glimpse into the past.