Santo Tomás Ajusco is, together with San Miguel Ajusco, one of the 11 Original Settlements of Tlalpan.
Far to the south, the “pueblito” is at an altitude of some 3,000 meters above sea level with a mild climate, generally somewhat cooler than the city. It’s a frequent stop for visitors on their way to Cumbres del Ajusco National Park, and the perfect day trip, with everything that such a trip implies. There is a general sense of “Ajusco” being a pueblo (in fact, it’s two), a volcano, and a regional forest that includes a national park. It’s all of these things
Founded in 1531, the settlement achieved town status by 1609. Established at the beginning of the colonial era, the objective was to bring together Nahuas and Otomi indigenous peoples within territory that had been previously dominated by the Tepanecas. It was basically a colonial policy aimed at evangelization and conversion. A document titled “Testimony of the Foundation of Santo Tomás Ajusco,” (Testimonio de la fundación de Santo Tomás Ajusco) consistent with the original written in Nahuatl is part of the General National Archive.
The church dates from the 16th century. With a bell tower and a single nave, the facade is of stone and, on either side of the door, are niches with images of the four evangelists. The central niche, above the entrance has a sculpture of Saint Thomas the Apostle. The main parish church, this one has “dependencies” or chapels under its domain in San Miguel Xicalco, San Miguel Ajusco and in Santa María Magdalena Petlacalco.
The atrium contains a stone carved into a cube. Of pre-Hispanic origin, it’s known as “el cuartillo,” and was originally part of the pyramid of Tequipa. A tepetlacalli is a quadrangular stone that worked like a ceremonial chest. Some of this one’s bas-reliefs can be read and stylistically belong to the Mexica period. Originally, each of the four outer faces were carved with rows of four ears of corn. These were represented with characteristic “hairs” or stigmas.