Mexico City -






History of Mexico City



Archaeological sites





Expos and conventions











Groups and Non-Profit Organizations








Ex-Convent of el Carmen
San Ángel / Images of San Angel / Other atttractions

Neighborhood: San Ángel
Metrobus: La Bombilla

The Ex-Convent of el Carmen keeps a large amount of secrets which relevance is due, not only to its ancient origins, but to the impact that this property had on the southern area of Mexico City and even on the whole country.

The history of the Ex-Convent of el Carmen dates back to the 17th Century, when the Carmelite friars acquired several plots of land on the banks of the Magdalena River, that according to estimates, would have been enclosed by the now Copilco, Revolución and University Avenues, and would have included the area of Chimalistac, joining in this manner two of the most important old villages of the city, Coyoacán and San Ángel.

In this extensive property, thanks to the vision of Friar Andrés de San Miguel, an important system of hydraulic infrastructure was designed, that by means of dams, tanks and channels, made use of the Magdalena River to supply water to more than 13,000 fruit trees which were planted by the friars. The importance of these orchards increases if we consider they supplied most of the city’s markets, and even more by knowing that it was in this fertile lands where several species of trees, unknown in the country until then, were grown; like apple trees, pair trees, some kinds of ash trees and even cedars from Lebanon. Also, a temple was built in the western part of the orchard which later extended into a college, a hospital and the friars’ quarters.

As can be deduced this property reached such wealth and influence, that the people stopped calling the town San Jacinto Tenanitla and started calling it San Ángel out of habit, name that has remained to this day. As is imaginable, the situation wasn’t pleasant for the founders of the Temple of San Jacinto, the Dominicans, who in several occasions tried to boycott the other order but were unfortunately unsuccessful.

On the artistic side, the Ex-Convent of el Carmen stands out because of the rich works it preserves, like several oil paintings of outstanding characters from the Viceroyship and several religious artifacts, as well as a greatly decorated crypt in which the mummified bodies of some influential characters rest. Its architecture is of special importance; it consists of a magnificent church with a magnificent baroque altar and three open cupolas covered in exquisite Talavera ceramic.

Also, several bridges and hermitages were built in the old orchard lands; the Carmelite order followed the tradition of building small chapels for prayer which were separated from the convent’s cloister so that the friars could retire and meditate in solitude. Several of these constructions still stand and can be appreciated today. Their environment is very interesting; we invite you to explore it.  Mexico, D.F. 2008. All rights reserved.