Los Remedios National Park
Los Remedios, Mexico
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Los Remedios National Park is located in the far west of the municipality of Naucalpan in Mexico State just northwest of Mexico City. This park was established by decrees in 1938 by the federal government with an area of 400 hectares (990 acres). Within its borders is the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Los Remedios, a colonial era aqueduct and a pre-Hispanic archeological zone with a Chichimeca temple. All of these are located in and around the mountain called Cerro Moctezuma. The site was an Aztec observatory and is also believed to be where Hernán Cortés and his men rested after fleeing Tenochtitlan.
The aqueduct is 500 meters long and consists of fifty arches which measure 16 meters high and extend 1.7 meters into the ground. The first stage was built in 1616 under viceroy Diego Fernandez de Cordoba with the objective of bringing water to the Sanctuary of Los Remedios from a spring at the village of San Francisco Chimalpa. This water was also used to irrigate fields in the villages of San Bartolomé, Santa Maria Nativitas and Santa Cruz. The aqueduct is mostly of clay pipes with two large spiral towers to release air. These towers flank the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Los Remedios and are nicknamed “caracoles” (snails). By 1764, the amount of water this system delivered was no longer enough and viceroy Joaquín de Monserrat had the arched system built, which was finished in 1765. Eventually, this system could not deliver water and became simply an architectural monument.
Due to the growth of the city of Naucalpan, severe pressure is being put on this national park. Seventy five percent of the original surface of the park now has illegal settlements, including settlements which have been authorized by local authorities. While these settlements can be confiscated and destroyed under federal law, this has not happened. The federal environmental agency Profepa has received complaints about the most recent invasions into the park area, which as felled dozens of trees. The agency has responded with inspections of plans by a developer to build two subdivisions near the colonial era aqueduct to verify if the land is private or public. One reason for this is that the park lacks conservation plans, fences and other means to fend off development efforts. The illegal settlements and development have also affected adjoining ejido land that adjoin the park. This and the fact that housing is now starting to encroach the archeological zone has prompted the involvement of INAH and the organization of neighboring communities to protest.
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