Templo Mayor Tavel Guide

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  • Templo Mayor Tavel Guide

The Templo Mayor (Great Temple) is part of the Historic Center of Mexico City, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. It was one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. The modern-day archeological site lies just to the northeast of the Zocalo of Mexico City, in the block between Seminario and Justo Sierra streets.

Its architectural style belongs to the late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica. Construction of the first temple began sometime after 1325, and it was rebuilt six times after that. It was called the huei teocalli in the Nahuatl language and dedicated simultaneously to two gods, Huitzilopochtli, god of war, and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture, each of which had a shrine at the top of the pyramid with separate staircases. The spire in the center of the image to the right was devoted to Quetzalcoatl in his form as the wind god, Ehecatl. The main temple devoted to Huiztilopochtli and Tlaloc, measuring approximately 100 by 80 m at its base, dominated the Sacred Precinct. The temple was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521.

The Museum of the Templo Mayor was built in 1987, and its a project which continues work to this day. The museum has four floors, three of which are for permanent exhibitions, each dedicated to a different theme. Room 1 is dedicated to the goddesses Coatlicue and Coyalxauhqui, mother and sister to Huitzlipochtli, respectively. Room 2 is dedicated to the concepts of ritual and sacrifice in Tenochtitlan. Room 3 demonstrates the economics of the Aztec empire in the form of tribute and trade, with examples of finished products and raw materials from many parts of Mesoamerica. Room 4 is dedicated to the god Huitzilopochtli. Room 5 is dedicated to Tlaloc, the other principle deity of the Aztecs and one of the oldest in Mesoamerica. Room 6 is dedicated to the flora and fauna of Mesoamerica at this time, as most contained divine aspects for the Aztecs. Room 7 called "floating gardens", contains exhibits of the agricultural technology of the time. The last Room 8, which is dedicated to the archeology and history of the site.