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The Chapel of Santa Barbara Tetlanman is a 17th-century chapel in the Santa Barbara neighborhood of Azcapotzalco. The settlement had been called Tetlanman, which means “the place where the copal stick is burned.” In recent years that name has also been restored to the name of the neighborhood.
Yopico is a still older name, meaning simply “Home of Yopi.” This probably refers to the ancient platform on which the chapel is built. That temple was dedicated to Xipe Totec, which is associated with the Yope culture originally from the state of Guerrero. The deity is a patron of goldsmiths for which the ancient people of the neighborhood were well-known in their time.
The chapel was restored in the 1950s. A redecoration of the interior during the same year was rejected by the historic authorities. Later, in 1968, a completely new church was built in the atrium. This was demolished just ten years later. Today a different modern temple stands just to the north of the chapel, along with some rooms added to the south side of the building.
The atrium still has the original low surrounding wall. The entrance way is marked by a semicircular arch made of quarried stone and supporting a stone cross.
The simple façade of the Chapel of Santa Barbara Tetlanman includes just a doorway formed by an arch with attached pilasters, all in quarry stone. The bell tower is crowned with a dome and cross. The nave is semicircular, with an octagonal dome. An arch precedes the altar, where a golden stone altarpiece of two classical columns support a straight open pediment and two niches on the sides. On the altar is an image of Santa Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, flanked by the Sacred Heart of Jesus and San Gonzalo of Amaranth.
This very old neighborhood is a few blocks west of the old Rastro de Ferrería which was a part of the parish. Today it’s home to the giant Mexico City Arena, and just north of the Metro station of the same name. Just to the north is the giant Alameda del Norte park and sports complex.