San Simón Ticumac is one of the ten original settlements of Benito Juárez. An ancient village, the name in Nahuatl can be translated, roughly, “place of he with the dignity of a foreign noble,” (Ticomecatl).
Today, outsiders are just as likely to assume it’s part of the Portales market area. The markets are in fact in the very south of the neighborhood. But Ticumac is centered around the San Simón church complex a bit further north.
The temple was built by the Franciscans between the 17th and 18th centuries. This followed a more humble chapel or hermitage from the mid-16th century. Some parts of the older structure are believed to be encased within the present church. The façade was mortared until about 1950, although like we see in other churches, people of the present day prefer the stark appearance of the stone.
During the 1847 Battle of Churubusco, many of the townspeople took refuge here. United States troops passed very near after the battle was fought here and to the south. It became a colonia of Mexico City only in 1929, and the vast majority of residents arrived in the 1940s.
What international visitors get is a neighborhood in recovery from a long 20th century. It’s still a town of many odd and organically curved streets and a fascinating part of the Center City.