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San Pedro Atocpan
Attractions of Mexico City

San Pedro Atocpan is located in the Milpa Alta Delegation, the largest in the Federal District and also the one with the smallest urbanized area, as the best part of it is occupied by a natural reserve, little towns and orchards, where the main agricultural products are the nopal and the amaranth, which are sold to the markets in the city or even exported to other parts of the world.

San Pedro Atocpan, like a lot of towns in the metropolitan area, has its origins in prehispanic times and its people were converted to Christianity during the first years of the Spanish occupation. From this period of time, its sober main church still remains, it's built in stone and has a large atrium presided over by some arches. In this town we can find other interesting places like the Temple of San Martín, a small chapel located next to a park of the same name, as well as the Santuario de los Milagros (Sanctuary of Miracles) located at the top of one of the many hills that surround the town, from which one can enjoy pleasant views. The town of San Pedro Atocpan is also considered “the Capital of Mole” one of the most representative dishes of Mexican cuisine which fuses different culinary techniques and foods from America and Europe together, to create one of the favourite dishes of the Mexican people. Mole is a thick sauce made with chocolate, chilies, tomatoes, fruits and spices which is normally served with poultry, tortillas or tamales, among others, in a wide range of serving possibilities. When taking a walk around the town one will be delighted by the aroma of its many shops: spices, flowers, chilies and chocolate fill the town with their scents. In San Pedro Atocpan it's a tradition to eat its typical bean tamales bathed in mole, a simple delight one can't miss. The amaranth bread and the 'nopal en escabeche' (pickled nopal) are also traditional dishes.

Near San Pedro Atocpan there are other interesting towns one can visit like San Pablo Oztotepec, which is up in the hills and has an old chapel and a particular stepped atrium which looks more like a pyramid. One of the attractions of this place is the zaptista quarters, which served as a refuge for Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution, and also it's where the 'Plan de Ayala' was signed. This construction has been completely restored and remains a direct connection with an important part of Mexico's history. A market designed by architect Mauricio Rocha was recently inaugurated in this town, it received an award and has appeard in several magazines.

A few miles from there to the east, one can visit San Juan Tepenahuac which has beautiful fields filled with nopales and a Centre for Environmental Education, in which children and their families can experience nature and learn about ecotechnology and the way different plants are cultivated. The centre also offers a lot of different activities like tyrolean traverse, hiking, cycling and mountain biking.

All of these places can be easily visited in a single day; take the highway towards Oaxtepec and follow the appropiate signs. If you're using public transport you can take a minibus from Taxqueña station marked M towards San Pedro Atocpan, once there, there are buses and vans that go to the different towns. On the way back to the city, one passes through the town of Santa Cruz Acalpixca, famous for its Mexican sweets and its ice-creams of exotic flavours. 










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