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San Miguel Arcángel, Topilejo

San Miguel Archangel Topilejo
Photo: Milton Martínez / Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México


The San Miguel Arcángel Church is the main church of San Miguel Topilejo in Tlalpan. The church atrium was restored in the 1960s and today, with the town kiosko across the street, provides something of a civic town center to the commercial center.

With the evangelization of the area, the ancient sacred spaces, teocalis, were the principle places the Franciscans targeted for their meetings and gatherings. The Temple of San Miguel Arcángel is said to have been begun on just such a site in 1560. The dome, however, was unfinished until 1812. The  tower was only finally completed in 1927. By 1932, the church was declared a historical monument, and only three years later the façade was finally covered in pink quarried stone.

The church was built in three sections, with a tower, a dome, and a bell tower. Inside, the most notable sculpture is of San Miguel Arcángel, dating from the 17th century.

  • One of the parish church bells was lowered by a man nicknamed “el Negro.” This is said to have been melted to make projectiles used in the struggle for Mexican Independence. El Negro is thought to have been an insurgent guerrilla named Pedro Rojas. He took credit for some 600 Royalist casualties.

Today the church is all but unmissable in the town center. But folks are well-advised to head into the market, just south of the church, too.


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