Iztapalapa is located in eastern Mexico City. With a surface of 117.5 km2, it is the fourth largest municipality in the city. It shares borders with Iztacalco in the south, Benito Juárez and Coyoacán in the west; Xochimilco and Tláhuac in the south; State of Mexico municipalities La Paz and Valle de Chalco Solidaridad in the east, and Nezahualcóyotl, also a part of the State of Mexico, in the northeast.
The history of Iztapalapa:
The name Iztapalapa comes from the ancient settlement of Iztapallapan, located between the southern bank of the lake of Texcoco and the northern flank of Mount Huizachtépetl, which was consolidated as a Mexica tributary settlement in the 15th century, following a pact with the Culhuas, a teotihuacan people that had settled in the southeast flank of Mount Huizachtépetl, bathed by the Lake of Xochimilco, during the Classic Mesoamerican period (3rd to 7th centuries A.D.).
Iztapalapa means “water over the flagstones,” which alludes to the situation in which the ancient Mexicans had settled: half on solid land and half on water, using the chinampas system. The Iztapalapan glyph depicts this portion of land surrounded by water.
During the Mexica period, Iztapalapa was part of a confederation that included the peoples of Culhuacán, Mexicaltzingo, and Huitzilopochco (now Churubusco), which was an ally of Tenochtitlán. The main economic and sustenance activities consisted of agriculture based on the construction and sale of chinampas, hunting, and fishing of various poultry and aquatic species through the National Canal and the La Viga Canal.
In 1861, the municipalities were created in the Federal District (Mexico City), and Iztapalapa became part of the municipality of Tlalpan. In 1906, thirteen municipalities were established. Among these was Iztapalapa, which became the municipal capital for the towns of San Juanico, Santa Cruz Meyehualco, Santa Martha Acatitla, Santa María Aztahuacán, San Lorenzo Tezonco, Iztacalco, Tlatenco, and Zapotitlán. In 1929, the municipalities were eliminated, and twelve boroughs called delegaciones were created, including Iztapalapa. In the recent 2017 Constitution, Iztapalapa was established as one of the 16 territorial units of Mexico City, called demarcaciones territoriales.
Following the Revolution, Iztapalapa began its transformation from a rural to an urban territory. The haciendas disappeared, the water reservoirs were drained, the chinampas system stopped being used, and the La Viga Canal was intubated. An accelerated urbanization process was undertaken, first throughout the Ermita Iztapalapa road and Tláhuac avenue, and then in Sierra de Santa Catarina and El Salado, in the vicinity of the Zaragoza road, due to large migrations coming from Oaxaca, Puebla, Michoacán, Guerrero, the State of Mexico, and the city itself, giving rise to the construction of numerous neighborhoods and housing units.
Iztapalapa is ranked among the most commercial and industrial areas in Mexico City. It houses more than seventy thousand industrial, commercial, and service companies, most of them micro and small businesses.
The Central de Abasto (Supply Center) is one of the main markets around the world and the largest in Latin America, welcoming 300 thousand visitors every day and grossing more than eight thousand million dollars every year. It houses the Nueva Viga, where 65% of the national fishing production is commercialized.
According to the 2010 census, Iztapalapa is the most populated territorial unit in Mexico City and in the country, with 1,815,786 inhabitants, who account for its great social, ethnic, and cultural diversity and its natural calling to project itself as the Eastern Cultural Pole of Mexico City.
Iztapalapa’s Sightseeing Routes:
Route 1. Huizachtépetl, Sacred Mount of the New Fire: Iztapalapa emerged in the skirts of Huizachtépetl, an emblematic place for various reasons. At the peak of this sacred mount of our ancestors, we can find the remains of the temple in which one of the most important Mesoamerican ceremonies is celebrated every 52 years, the New Fire Ceremony, which is explored in the New Fire Museum and depicted in the mural “Iztapalapa: yesterday, today, and always”. In that place, we can find the Predio de la Pasión, where the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ is represented during Holy Week, a tradition that draws in more than one and a half million visitors.