San Miguel Amantla is a very old neighborhood of Azcapotzalco, one of the 25 original barrios. Today, it’s best known for being home to the Azcatl Paqui Park. As it’s just west of the even-bigger Parque Bicentenario, it’s a relatively, albeit recently, green area.
In fact, the ancient neighborhood was sacred to the Tepanec people, the chief rivals to the Mexica of Tenochtitlan. Like Santiago Ahuizotla and Santa Lucía Tomatlan, Amantla is thought to have been settled during the peak years of the Teotihuacan civilization. This may explain some of the regard the ancient Tepenecs had for the place.
The Nahuatl name, Amantla, refers to the presence of giant amate (Ficus insipida) trees. The town was also known as Tlapitzcac, meaning “foundry” for the great number of artisans and craftspeople. Amantly was especially known for the craft of feather art. Some rare examples are in the collection of the National Museum of Anthropology.
The town church, dedicated to San Miguel Árcangel, came to be in the early 17th century. Workmen only fully completed it in 1637. It’s one of the oldest in Azcapotzalco even if it has been modified and rehabilitated many times.
Parishioners from San Miguel Amantla have long led a procession to the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. According to legend, this has taken place for some 500 years. There may have been an ancient precedent for the walk to the old Cerro de Otoncalpulco, but this is lost to history. On today’s roads, the walk to the West, into Naucalpan in Mexico State, takes about one hour, 20 minutes.
The town center, the modern kiosk, is just south of the former atrium of the church. The historic town is roughly a 20-minute walk west from Metro Refinería. It’s much closer to parts of the Parque Bicentenario.