Bosque de Chapultepec

Miguel Hidalgo, Ciudad de México, CDMX

Inside the Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park) one can find a series of attractions that can be both interesting and entertaining, such as the Zoológico de Chapultepec, the boat rides on the Lago de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Lake), or the portal to the netherworld; that’s right, according to legend there’s a cave/portal that takes you to the other side of reality or the land of the dead, some say. This spooky spot has been considered as such since the time of the Aztecs, when the city was known as the Great Tenochtitlán, and it was here that Moctezuma II came to try and commit suicide and leave this world after the 8 omens had told him so.

Moctezuma II had a house for meditation in the center of Tenochtitlán, the “Casa Denegrida”, which was completely dark on the inside, it had no windows, the walls were black and the floor was made of black basalt. It was in that house that the emperor began to have horrific images that foretold the end of the Aztec world. He would see grotesque short figures with two heads, who would then suddenly disappear, bright flames would fill the room and illuminate it completely. Things got more strange as disasters and accidents began to happen in the city each time that Moctezuma II went into his meditation house; one time, the temple to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, caught fire and couldn’t be extinguished, another time the temple of Xiuhecuhtli was struck with by lightning. The year was 1509, 10 years before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, and it was at the Casa Denegrida that some hunters brought a bird with a round mirror on its head to Moctezuma II, a mirror was something they had never seen before and finally, Moctezuma II understood that the 8 omens were right and that the end had arrived.

Moctezuma II sought refuge at this portal to the netherworld and tried to end it all for himself there and then. But he was met with a surprise, he found himself face to face with Huemac, the ancient king of the Toltecs who had killed himself at this very same cave, some say he hung himself, others saw him enter and never leave the cave. Huemac convinced Moctezuma II to buck up and face the inevitable.

This cave is still here, behind the Audiorama in the first section of the Parque de Chapultepec, and next to a big ahuehuete tree called “El Sargento” (The Sargent), you can go and peek inside the cave although you’ll soon realize that it just resembles a sort of dead end. Access is free and the Audiorama is located at the foothill of the Chapultepec Hill, where the Castle of Chapultepec is located.


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