Exploring Templo Mayor archaeological site and museum in Mexico City

In the heart of Mexico City, beside the main square called El Zócalo, we can find the impressive archaeological site and museum of Templo Mayor, 1 of the 6 archeological sites in Mexico City.

3d Maps of Templo Mayor

On the left side of the archaeological side, we can find several 3D maps that show the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, and its surroundings. A great start, before entering the archaeological site and the museum.

Archeological site of Templo Mayor

The Templo Mayor (Spanish for Greater Temple) was the main temple of the Mexica people, in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. Construction of the first temple began sometime after 1325, and it was rebuilt six times. The site is part of the Historic Center of Mexico City, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987

Its architectural style belongs to the late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica. The temple was called the Huēyi Teōcalli 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 center was devoted to Quetzalcoatl in his form as the wind god, Ehecatl. The Great Temple devoted to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, measured approximately 100 by 80 m (328 by 262 ft) at its base and dominated the Sacred Precinct. With a height of 45 meters / 147 ft. O

Museum of Templo Mayor

The museum of the Templo Mayor was built in 1987 to house the Templo Mayor Project and its findings—a project which continues work to this day. The museum has eight main exhibition halls, called “salas”, each dedicated to a different theme.

Room 1 is dedicated to the goddesses Coatlicue and Coyalxauhqui, mother and sister to Huitzlipochtli, respectively. Here are displayed the first finds associated with the temple, from the first tentative finds in the 19th century to the discovery of the huge stone disk of Coyolxauhqui, which initiated the Templo Mayor Project.

Room 2 is dedicated to the concepts of ritual and sacrifice in Tenochtitlan. This room contains urns where dignitaries where interred, funerary offerings, as well as objects associated with self and human sacrifice—such as musical instruments, knives and skulls.

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. His shrine at the temple was the most important and largest. This room contains various images of him as well as offerings. Also located here are the two large ceramic statues of the god Mictlantecuhtli which were found in the House of the Eagle Warriors who were dedicated to Huitzilopochtli.

Room 5 is dedicated to Tlaloc, the other principal deity of the Aztecs and one of the oldest in Mesoamerica. This room contains various images of the god usually worked in green or volcanic stone or in ceramic. The most prized work is a large pot with the god’s face in high relief that still preserves much of the original blue paint.

Room 6 is dedicated to the flora and fauna of Mesoamerica at this time, as most contained divine aspects for the Aztecs. Also many of the offerings found at the Templo Mayor were or were made from various plants and animals.

Room 7 contains exhibits of the agricultural technology of the time, especially in the growing of corn and the construction of chinampas, the so-called “floating gardens”.

The last room is Room 8, which is dedicated to the archeology and history of the site.

For the best experience we recommend to explore Templo Mayor with a certified guide !

Next dates exploring Templo Mayor archaeological site and museum in Mexico City, with Aztec Explorers, on Saturday 5th of August and Sunday 6th of August; details on Meetup.

All other options with Aztec Explorers on our Facebook page and on Meetup.

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