Tepotzotlan Tourist Attractions
How to get thereFrom Mexico City by metro line 2 to Tacuba, and from there by bus in about one hour; by car on the MEX 57 northwards, after about 42km/26mi turn off to Tepotzotlán (2km/1.3mi).Tepotzotlán is a pretty little town dating from the colonial period, situated not far from Mexico City.
It was once a centre for spiritual instruction in New Spain. Today its convent houses a highly interesting museum of religious art, while the well-restored church is one of the jewels of Mexican Baroque architecture.HistoryThe Jesuit college of San Martín was founded in 1582 in Tepotzotlán (Náhuatl: "place of the hunch-back"), an old Otomí settlement, and built with the support of Indian caciques, using native labour. It was used for the instruction of the Spanish in the Indian languages of Náhuatl and Otomí and for the religious education of the sons of the Indian élite. In the 17th and 18th c. the convent was considerably enlarged. One of the most important patrons was Pedro Ruiz de Ahumada, who made possible the rebuilding of the church, which was named after Saint Francisco Xavier. It was newly consecrated in 1682, but not completed until 1762. With the expulsion of the Jesuits from New Spain in 1767, the college and its church passed into other hands. After Mexico gained its independence, the Jesuits returned to Tepotzotlán, though with less influence, and they remained there until the secularisation of the convents in 1859. In more recent times the convent and church were placed under the control of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Since 1964 a musuem of religious art has been housed in the former convent and in the church.
The Convent Site at Tepotzotlán dates to the 17th and 18th C. The church façade bears impressive artistry, with sculptures and reliefs. Inside are remarkable carved altars, sculptures, and paintings.
National Museum of the Viceroyship
The building of the former Jesuit college today houses the National Museum of the Viceroyship (Museo Nacional del Virreinato). The Claustro de los Aljibes (Cloister of the Fountains) mainly contains oil paintings of Cristóbal de Villalpando.
Address: Plaza Hidalgo número 99, Tepotzotlán, Mexico 54600, Mexico
Opening hours: 9am-6pm; Tue: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in MXN: Adult $20.00
The Cloister of Fountains leads to the Capilla Doméstica (domestic chapel), in the gateway (portería) of which paintings by Miguel Cabrera can be seen. The chapel, dating from the middle of the 17th c., which was later restored, has vaulting with decorations showing the coats of arms of the six most important orders in New Spain. The altar with its sculptures, mirrors and pictures of Jesuit saints, is particularly interesting. To the left is the kneeling figures of the patron Pedro Ruiz de Ahumada.
In the many rooms and corridors of the museum there is a varied sequence of mainly ecclesiastical treasures from the 16th to 19th c. They come from all over the former viceroyship of new Spain and include sculptures, altar panels, and paintings by the most significant artists of the period, as well as furniture, porcelain, weapons and church implements of all kinds. Part of the premises is used regularly for concerts and theatrical performances.
Los Arcos del Sitio
About 27km/17mi in a south-westerly direction via San Miguel Cañadas, we reach Los Arcos del Sitio, an aqueduct on several levels erected in the 18th c. by the Jesuits for the water supply of Tepotzotlán. At 60 m (197 ft) it is the highest in Mexico.