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The San Miguel Arcángel Nonoalco-Tlatelolco church was founded in the 16th century. It was originally a visiting chapel for Franciscans from the Colegio de la Santa Cruz in Tlatelolco. The building we see today was completed, according to two plaques found on the façade, between 1707 and 1709. (That’s the Torre Insignia in the photo above. Those familiar with Mexico City can thus determine the church’s near exact location.)
The original nave was rectangular. A transept added later came to support the octagonal dome. The presbytery has a ribbed vault and a modern altarpiece. A pair of small colonial paintings here depict the Annunciation and a scene from the life of the Virgin.
The niche in the façade somehow still retains a 17th-century figure of Saint Michael the Archangel. Within the nave is a painting of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos by Juan Rodríguez Juárez. This dates to 1694. A Virgin of Guadalupe and sculptures of the Holy Burial and Christ scourged, both from the 18th century, are in the choir loft.
In 1923, a railroad intersection cost the parish most of its atrium. This is today the Insurgentes Norte corridor, and still just one part of a complicated intersection. Today the railway includes the Suburbano trains leaving from the Forum Buenavista just to the south. That said, the remaining atrium is a treat of trees and gardens.
In 1936, the church was designated a workers’ center. The façade was kept and a plaque recalled the historical events that had taken place here. Residents of the area soon asked to have the church back and they got it in 1938. After many years of neglect, the church was thoroughly restored in 1988.
The San Miguel Arcángel Nonoalco-Tlatelolco church is a brisk walk (roughly 20 minutes) from either the Tlatelolco or the Buenavista Metro stations. Just across that terribly complicated stretch of Insurgentes Norte, you’ll be in the very north of always chic Santa Maria La Ribera.