Barrio de Xochimilco’s Aqueduct

In Oaxaca’s oldest neighborhood, Barrio de Xochimilco, an 18th-century aqueduct stands as a witness to history and transformation.

Built to bring water from the San Felipe mountain to the valley, this aqueduct was once Oaxaca’s lifeline.

The 1931 earthquake, however, marked a turning point. With a magnitude of 8.0, it caused widespread destruction and tragically claimed lives. This seismic event was a result of normal faulting within the subducted Cocos plate, a rare but high-risk tectonic activity.

Post-earthquake, the aqueduct fell into continued disrepair. The changing urban landscape and the lack of a modern piping system left it obsolete. As Oaxaca’s water needs grew, sources like the nearby Etla town became crucial, leaving the aqueduct without its original purpose.

Local artists transformed the aqueduct into a canvas, adorning it with vibrant murals and sculptures. These aqueducts got repurposed as doorways as well. This artistic repurposing turned the site into a symbol of resilience, blending history with contemporary culture.