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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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