Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.
Sunset at Zumpango Lake, which once connected the cities of old.
Photograph I took at the once capital of Zumpango, or Tzompanco in its original name in Nahuatl language. The lake was part of the super lake of Texcoco, it communicated all major powers and capitals of Ancient Mexico, the Anahuac. This lake once connected the realm of Zumpango with Mexico Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), Xaltocan (Jaltocan), Tlacopan (Tacuba), Cuitlahuac Tizic (Tlahuac), the Chalco Confederacy (Chalco), Tetzcoco (Texcoco), Huitzilopochco (Churubusco), Chapoltepec (Chapultepec), Mexico Tlatilulco (Tlatelolco), Tepeyacac (Tepeyac), Xochimilco, and Ehecatepec (Ecatepec).
Bridge-streets criss-crossed the lakes.
Native people back then traveled by water using an acalli, a boat similar to a canoe much wider and sturdier. Acalli literally means “water house”. Many cities connected each other with long and wide bridge-streets which at some point they criss-crossed the lakes. Many survived still today as modern-day avenues called calzadas. If you’re ever in Mexico City and encounter a street that instead of the habitual avenue or street designation begins with the word calzada, chances are you are cruising on ancient water avenues.
These waters saw wars of old, commerce unfold, and even the rise and fall of the earth spirits.