The Casa de Cultura Tonacalli is a small center for cultural events in the Penon de Viejo area. The distinct circular building gives it the appearance of operating as a hinge, at the crux of the giant Tianguis de las Canchas. Known too as the Tianguis de Cabeza de Juarez, it happens every Tuesday and Saturday. Like in many parts of Iztapalapa, this one is famous and draws people from all over the area.
“Tonacalli,” the Nahuatl name translates as the mythical “House of the Sun.” It was the destination of warriors killed in battle, and for those killed as sacrifice and women who died in childbirth. But the root, Tona, refers to the act of irradiating or warming in the sunlight. The ancient Nahua belief held that tonalli comes from the ancient deities of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. The “Lord and Lady of Duality” bestow tonalli on infants in utero. The Franciscans later connected those ideas with the Christian ideas of “breath” and the force of life as we understand them today.
All of these ideas are well situated in the Casa de Cultura Tonacalli which operates primarily as a childrens’ center. Events focus on kids’ theater and dance, and participants are often joined by those whose parents are working in the giant tianguis just outside.
The casa operates a full schedule for kids and young people from the surrounding area. As events and happenings have continued to grow in scale and importance, the center has expanded to coordinate with the Utopia Olini, now situated within the “canchas,” that is, the playing fields, of the giant Deportiva Francisco I. Madero.
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.