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district of Mexico City and delegacion (legation), central Distrito Federal (Federal District), central Mexico. It lies at 7,461 feet (2,274 metres) above sea level in the Valley of Mexico, on Lake Xochimilco. The name Xochimilco is a combination of the Nahuatl words xochitl and milli and means "where the flowers grow." Built on the site of a pre-Columbian town, Xochimilco is famous for its chinampas (floating gardens). The local agriculturalists constructed branch and reed rafts on the lake, covered them with mud from the bottom of the lake, and cultivated fruits, vegetables, and flowers, which they shipped to Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) via canal. In time the rafts took root and became islands