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Templo Mayor in Mexico City

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Museo Del Templo Mayor Mural

Mural outside Museo Del Templo Mayor

Our last last stop on a day sightseeing in Mexico City lay between two previous visits on the Zócalo – an alleyway round the side of the Catedral Metropolitano de la Asuncion de Maria leads to a ticket office for the Templo Mayor.

Looking back toward Catedral Metropolitano de la Asuncion de Maria from Templo Mayor

Looking back toward Catedral Metropolitano de la Asuncion de Maria

The 48 peso ticket price includes an audio tour, but neither of ours worked very well. There are signs all over the place vaguely explaining what you’re looking at so it’s not too great a concern.

Inside Templo Mayor

Inside Templo Mayor

The Templo Mayor is the site of the main Aztec temple of Tenochtitlan. It was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521, who replaced it with the Catedral Metropolitano de la Asuncion de Maria. They had intended to build over the top, but missed slightly. A further five centuries of buildings came and went over the Aztec site until it was rediscovered in 1978. Excavations revealed 6 smaller temples, predating the main site and the various layers can be seen as visitors walk through the site.

Unearthed Statue

Unearthed Statue

Wall of Skulls at Templo Mayor

An eye-catching wall of skulls greets visitors as they walk into the Museo del Templo Mayor

Museo del Templo Mayor

At the end is the Museo del Templo Mayor, a modern building housing the ancient artifacts. The centre-piece is arguably a large stone disc depicting the goddess Coyolxauhqui – the first artefact to be found in 1978.

Twelve-ton stone featuring Tlaltecuhti, the male earth god

Twelve-ton stone featuring Tlaltecuhti, the male earth god

The museum is excellent, but the outside area feels almost lost beyond repair – much of the site appears damaged, especially where a large water drain cuts through the width of the site. I’d guess that to restore the temples would be to replace them entirely, leaving little of the original material.

Walkway hiding the drainage pipe running right through the middle of the Templo Mayor

Walkway hiding the drainage pipe running right through the middle of the Templo Mayor

Once inside there’s far more to look at – colourful pottery and walls full of skulls vie for attention with model recreations of the temples and the Aztec way of life.

Coyolxauhqui

Stone disc featuring Coyolxauhqui

The main exhibit is a large stone disc, featuring a dismembered Coyolxauhqui. This was the first piece found and led to the uncovering of the rest of Templo Mayor.

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Author

Since leaving London in 2006 I’ve travelled, worked, volunteered and lived in over 90 countries. Highlights so far would be driving along the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul, a complete circuit of South America and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. I’m currently back in Beijing, as a base to visit more of Asia and attempt to learn Mandarin.

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