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Templo Mayor

Ruins of Legend

The legend tells that 700 years ago, a tribe from the "City of the Herons", better known as Aztlán, traveled great distances in search of a signal that will lead to the construction of a powerful empire.

Guided by the commands of their god Huitzilopochtli, the Mexicas finally found a lake and saw an eagle standing on a cactus devouring a snake. Thanks to this legend we know the origin of one of the oldest places in Mexico City: the Historic Downtown.

At the time of the Mexicas, the National Palace, which today lies to the east of the Zócalo, was actually the Palace of Moctezuma, and the Metropolitan Cathedral was nothing more and nothing less than a part of the most important ceremonial center of the Aztecs: the Main temple or "Templo Mayor".

Tenochtitlan, founded mainly on water, was built under the wonderful ingenuity of Aztec architects; its buildings and columns painted the landscape throughout the entire Valley of Mexico. The city was divided into 4 neighborhoods with a very special temple to the center, which along with other civil and religious buildings formed the ceremonial complex known as the Sacred Precinct.

The construction of the Templo Mayor went through seven stages. In the first, the building was small, made of perishable materials. With time it was growing at the rate of each military victory of the Aztecs; the rulers were responsible for making it grow to cement an approximate height of 60 meters. To climb and descend a great stairway was built, which represents a path that elevates to the celestial world or to descend to the underworld.

It is important to note that the structure was not made to enhance the view, but to magnify the spirit. Everything the Aztecs built had a religious purpose, and through it they found the perfect way to communicate with the gods through rituals.

At the top of the Templo Mayor there are two shrines dedicated exclusively to the god Huitzilopochtli and the god Tlaloc, icons of the Aztec worldview; in them the duality between life and death, water and war is reflected.

To the north and painted in blue is Tlaloc, who was linked to agriculture and he was worshiped so that the water never lacked. To the south is Huitzilopochtli, painted red. Also known as the Lefty Hummingbird, he was the god of war and thanks to him the sun came out every day.

For years there was a theory that Tenochtitlan lay in the basement of the Zócalo, but on February 21, 1979, workers of the company "Luz y Fuerza" worked at odd hours to not to interfere with the daily frenzy of the city, and then something as accidental as impressive happened.

Between dust on the ground appeared a monumental sculpture, the Coyolxahqui. This event is the catalyst for everything, because thanks to the discovery of this piece, excavation work began in the area.

It is highly recommended to visit the Templo Mayor Museum, located in the Historic Downtown of Mexico City. There you will find more than 7,000 objects distributed in eight rooms. Of course, the main attraction is to admire the archaeological ruins of the temple.

The research in the place continues, always raising the expectation and emotion before the possible impressive discoveries of the future.

Galeria | Templo Mayor

Tour through Templo Mayor with this photographs

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Templo Mayor

All you must know about Templo Mayor is in our audio guide

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