La Merced (neighborhood)
La Merced is a barrio or a neighborhood of Mexico City defined by its socioeconomics and history rather than by an official designation. It extends over the southeast of the historic center of Mexico City and is one of the oldest sections of the city, established over 700 years ago by the Mexica as part of the founding of Tenochtitlan. Over its history the area was associated with commerce, first as a major docking area for boats bringing goods to Tenochtitlan/Mexico City on Lake Texcoco, later via canals as the lake was slowly drained. In the latter 19th century, the La Merced market was established in the area replacing the massive La Merced monastery which was almost completely destroyed in the 1860s. This market was established to centralize the marketing of foodstuffs for the city on one area. The first La Merced market was built in 1890 and then replaced by the current building in 1957, one of the largest traditional Mexican markets in Mexico City. In the 1980s, the wholesale function of this market was taken over by the newly constructed Centro de Abasto in the south of the city, with the barrio then going into economic and social decline, with the area having problems with poverty, prostitution and population loss. Although there have been efforts to revitalize the area and the La Merced market remains important.