Templo Mayor, Mexico City

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  • Templo Mayor
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • Excavations on the Templo Mayor
    Excavations on the Templo Mayor
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • Templo Mayor
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    The city's dark heart

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Mar 9, 2006

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    Coyolxauhqui's stone (photo G&A Delange)
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    When the Spanish arrived in the Valle de Mexico they found a remarkably sophisticated city of some 250,000 inhabitants . Virtually nothing remains of that city now, so it is fitting that the biggest archaeological site that is here is also the very heart of AztecTenochtitlan.

    The Templo Mayor is the excavated ruin of the great double pyramid temple built in the spot that the Aztecs considered the very centre of the earth. It's hard to imagine the bloodshed this place saw as part of the sacrificial rituals that took place here when you first arrive - the scene outside is one of crowds of people enjoying themselves - watching the dancers in their feathered head-dresses, browzing through the souvenirs spread all around - the biggest fear is of pickpockets - watch your purse! Inside the excavations is somewhat different - there's a stark brutality about these ruins, the black basalt used, the fierce imagery of snakes and other strange and fearsome creatures. There's no sense of shared beliefs or humanity here. These are haunted places.

    The Spanish conquerors were ruthless in their destruction of the pagan sites. They demolished the complex almost completely and built their own religious edifices over it all. It was only in 1978 that workmen digging near the cathedral discovered the first signs of what had been so comprehensively destroyed when they uncovered a huge stone portraying the decapitated and dismembered moon goddess Coyolxauqui, sister to Huitzillopochtli , the sun - who legend says beheaded his sister. Finding the stone meant they had found the Aztec temples which, until that point, had been thought to be completely buried beneath the cathedral. Once the discovery was made, work began in earnest to uncover all that was possible - the result is the site we see today, a mixture of several different stages of the temple complex's evolution.

    Coyolxauqui's stone now forms the centrepiece of the fine collection of Aztec artifacts in the Templo Mayor Museum.

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  • jumanuel's Profile Photo

    Ruins in the City

    by jumanuel Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Templo Mayor is a great option to know more about the aztec culture.
    The ruins exhibit are orginial pices that show the evolution of the culture, the foundation of the city and the arrival of Spanish.
    The museum is big so visit it at mornings. Mondays is the only day it's not open.

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor and the Museum

    by acemj Updated Jan 1, 2006

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    The Templo Mayor is located just off to the right of the Cathedral (when facing the front of it) at the Zocalo. Legend has it that God told the Aztecs to build their capital in the place where an eagle stood upon a cactus with a snake in its beak (an image which is still Mexico's national symbol depicted on its flag). The Aztecs found the eagle here in present day Mexico City and built their capital (which they called Tenochtitlan) here. The focal point was this site, which was actually a great pyramid surrounded by various other structures, including the relatively well-preserved House of the Eagles, which was the dwelling of the city's elite and was used for many ceremonial purposes.

    The excavation of the area only began in 1978 when the great stone disc Coyolxauhqui was discovered here. Today, Coyolxauhqui is the centerpiece of the museum located here and, in my opinion, it's a good idea to visit the museum first to get a better idea of what you're looking at. My Rough Guide told me to do this, but I ignored its advice since the museum is at the end of the tour route when you buy your ticket, but I wish I would have gotten the education the museum can provide before visiting the ruins. The museum's collection of Aztec arteracts is remarkable and the various maps and descriptions of what the city would have once looked like, will help you get a better perspective when you visit the ruins.

    30 pesos to get in, for non-Mexican nationals (it's free for them!).

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  • chris_i79's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor

    by chris_i79 Written May 10, 2004

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    Discovered in 1978 when Mexican road workers were working on the Metro. The Templo Mayor was the original site of the Aztec's main temple. Now excavated, a catwalk makes its way around artifacts and pyramids outdoors. At the back of the site is the museum del Templo Mayor which has many ancient aftifacts and has information on anything you wanted to know about the Aztecs.

    30 pesos

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 5, 2012

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    Excavations on the Templo Mayor
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    The Templo Mayor ("Major Temple") was one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. It is part of the Historic Center, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987.

    The excavated site consists of two parts, the temple itself, exposed and labeled to show its various stages of development, along with some other associated buildings, and the museum, built to house the smaller and more fragile objects. On the sides of the Templo Mayor, archeologists have excavated a number of palatial rooms and conjoining structures.

    You can watch my 49 sec HD Video Mexico City Templo Mayor out of my Youtube channel.

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  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor

    by filipdebont Written Oct 13, 2002

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    Templo Mayor

    Templo Mayor is the place of the Aztec Teocalli (Holy City) which was the heart of their capital, Tenochtitlan.
    This complex was completely destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadores after their conquest of this city.
    I had no time to visit this temple, but from the market square next to the Cathedral, you have a great view over these ruins. On Sunday there is no entrance fee, and that is for all the archeological sites in Mexico.

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  • patricia1.nunez's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor and the enigma of Tenochtitlan

    by patricia1.nunez Written Apr 15, 2009

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    El templo mayor it´s all there is from the vast culture of mexicas....The legend tells this city was founded after pilgrims saw and eagle devorating a snake in a little island of Lake texcoco..As a sign they decided to establish in the lake by covering most of it,, Once Glorious, the remanents are avery well preserved ruins and explanations of it all over the site ..must say I was more impressed with the museum than the actual ruins, The Museum contains all that was found when site was discovered By electricity workers,incluiding a monolite of Coyolxauhqui this Mother nature goddess and all history and pictures besides this discovery...Visit the site, will be more of you understanding all behind this nation

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor

    by MM212 Updated May 12, 2006

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    Ruins of Templo Mayor and la catedral.
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    Descovered by accident in the 20th century, the ruins of Templo Mayor are the only remaining traces of Tenochtitlan, the great Aztec city that was replaced by Mexico City by colonialist Spain. The temple was originally a pyramid whose construction began in the 13th century, and continued until the arrival of the colonialists who completely destroyed the city. Its presence today serves as a significant reminder that the imporance of this great city dates back earlier than colonial times. Many of the stones that were used to build this temple and the rest of Tenochtitlan were used as building materials for the cathedral and other colonial buildings. Along with the adjacent buildings, the temple is now a museum displaying many artefacts from Aztec times. Templo Mayor should be one of your first stops in Mexico City.

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  • anagrettel's Profile Photo

    The Aztec Templo Mayor (The great temple)

    by anagrettel Updated Jan 1, 2008

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    templo mayor
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    Templo Mayor or The great Pyramid was the center of life and worship in the Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City). It was a place to worship Huitzilopochtli (Good of War and sun) and Tlaloc (God of rain and fertility). This as many other Aztec buildings was destroyed after the spanish conquest under the leadership of Hernán cortéz in 1521.

    Open Tuesday to Sunday 9-5.
    Entrance is $45 pesos, free on Sundays.

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  • deadites's Profile Photo

    Museo del Templo Mayor

    by deadites Updated Feb 9, 2004

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    Wall of skulls

    The Templo Mayor is one of the most important religious sites of the old Aztec Capital. It's no small coincidence that the Spaniards built the Catedral Metropolitana right on or around the site.

    Excavation of the site started in 1978 after a workman, digging on the east side of the Catedral found an Aztec stone carving of the Aztec Moon Goddess Coyolxauhqui. Although a small corner of the site had been exposed for years, it was the discovery of the carving that led to the more large-scale excavation. The Templo Mayor is also known as the Pyramid of Huitzilopochtli.

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  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    Detail of Templo Mayor

    by filipdebont Written Oct 13, 2002

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    Snake head

    The snake was an in important symbol in this temple. In fact there are two snake heads, which seem to protect the main stairs. This proves that this temple was built as a symbolic recreation of Coatepec (the snake hill), which is a holy place in the Aztec mythology.

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  • Blatherwick's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor

    by Blatherwick Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Templo Mayor

    In 1978, while digging for cables, workers unearthed an Aztec stone of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui. Excavations followed uncovereing the remains of the Pyramid of Huitzilopochtli, also called the Templo Mayor (Great Temple). It was the most important religious structure in the Aztec capital . This is the remains of pyramids that were covered by the great pyramid the Spaniards saw upon their arrival in the 16th century.

    In the museum visitors take a series of ramps and walkways through the remains of the main ceremonial pyramid of the ancient Tenochtitlan. The museum presents over 3,000 artifacts , a giant model depicting the Aztec capital, and the "Coyolxauqui" stone disc that the workers unearthed.

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Tempo Mayar

    by leffe3 Updated Oct 25, 2002

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    Extensive (if a little un-preposessing) Mayan ruins in the very centre of the city sligtly to one side of the Zocalo. Dull in comparison to many other of the Mexican ruins, but certainly worth checking out if you are in the city.

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  • malianrob's Profile Photo

    Templo Mayor and Museo del Templo Mayor

    by malianrob Written Sep 21, 2008

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    We came here at night and this place was already closed and there isnt too much light out here at night. Regardless we could see parts of the ruins. I later saw pictures of what I missed and I totally regretted not making enough time to come here during the day.
    All this area was covered up and built upon. Then in 1978 as some construction was going on the ruins were discovered.
    The Pyramid of Huitzilopochtli is what is located here. This is the sun god. There is also a museum located here that houses the srtifacts that were found here. This was a very important religious site of the Aztec people.

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  • Ronald_T's Profile Photo

    In the middle of downtown, you...

    by Ronald_T Written Sep 12, 2002

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    In the middle of downtown, you find an Aztec archaeological zone, called “Temple Mayor”. It is really worth a visit, the archaeological zone as well as the museum what is in fact one complex. I only have some pictures of the archaeological zone. In the museum, it is not permit to take any kind of pictures. In addition, there I am not an archaeologist, and they do not sell any kind of guidebooks or even brochures I cannot tell you much about this place. It is a frequent problem in Mexico that they do not have good information or doing something to stimulate their tourism, even it is a cultural country. The best way to go there is via Constitution Square, then left between the Cathedral and the National Palace. About 100 meters straight ahead and you see it on the right. The only pictures I have you can find in the “Temple Mayor travelogue”, and will try as good as I can give some more information.

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