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It was dedicated simultaneously to 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. When word of the massacre spread throughout the city, the people turned on the Spaniards, killing seven, wounding many, and driving the rest back to their quarters. The temple was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521 to make way for the new cathedral. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. "[18] Matos Moctezuma supports his supposition by claiming that the temple acts as an embodiment of a living myth where "all sacred power is concentrated and where all the levels intersect." The museum exists to make all of the finds available to the public. It is a large L-shaped room with staircases decorated with sculptures of eagle heads. This figure was constructed annually and it was richly dressed and fitted with a mask of gold for his festival held during the Aztec month of Panquetzaliztli. Three of the larger finds related to the temple are the 3.5 metre (diameter) stone of Coyolxauhqui from the pyramid base, a chacmool sculpture (used to burn victim’s hearts) from the shrine of Tlaloc, and a 12-ton rectangular monolith depicting the earth-goddess Tlaltecuhtli. Nine of these were built in the 1930s, and four dated from the 19th century, and had preserved colonial elements. 1 Attack on Coatlicue 2 Templo Mayor … This first temple is only known through historical records, because the high water table of the old lakebed prevents excavation. It received 801,942 visitors in 2017. The offerings were usually contained in cavities, in stone urns, and in boxes made of slabs. Most offerings from the excavations are from this time. 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. These rulers, and others, each employed the resources and labour given in tribute by neighbouring states in order to build a more impressive monument than their predecessors. These artifacts are now housed in the Templo Mayor Museum. The monumental steps leading to Tlaloc’s temple were painted blue and white, the former colour representing water, the element so strongly associated with the god. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. The first temple was begun by the Aztecs the year after they founded the city, and the temple was rebuilt six times. Inside of him were bags containing jade, bones and amulets to give life to the god. Templo Mayor. Ahuitzotl (Auitzotl) was an Aztec ruler who reigned between 1486... Huitzilopochtli (pron. Many have seen the pyramids of Teotihuacan. One of the most infamous is the four-day butchering of captives when Ahuitzotl re-dedicated the temple and extended it even higher in order to celebrate his imperial triumphs in 1487 CE. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. The Eagle Warriors were a privileged class who were dedicated to the god Huitzilopochtli, and dressed to look like eagles. One was dedicated to Tlaloc, the god of water on the left side (as you face the structure), and one to Huitzilopochtli, deity of war and of the sun, on the right side. The Tzompantli found during the excavations of Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan Aztec civilisation Mexico City Museo Del Templo Mayor. It is said that during the equinox, the sun rose between the shrines dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc and shone directly on this temple. Now imagine a complex even bigger, formed by over 70 structures with taller pyramids - this is Templo Mayor! [3][4], The Calmecac was a residence hall for priests and a school for future priests, administrators and politicians, where they studied theology, literature, history and astronomy. Following all that the corpse was flung down the steps of the pyramid to land at the base where a massive round stone depicted Coyolxauhqui, the goddess who was similarly treated by Huitzilopochtli in Aztec mythology after she had led a rebellion against the great god. The Templo Mayor Museum was inaugurated in 1987. Just over two meters down, the diggers struck a pre-Hispanic monolith. [3] Construction of the first temple began sometime after 1325, and it was rebuilt six times. [8] The Templo Mayor and Sacred Precinct were demolished and a Spanish church, later the main cathedral, was built on the western half of the precinct. Other departments are located in the basement, where there is also an auditorium.[25]. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Despite being found in fragile pieces, they were both reconstructed and are on display at the on-site museum. Templo Mayor was devoted for two gods in Aztec religions. This area dates back to the fourth stage of the temple, around 1469. The Templo Mayor or Great Temple (called Hueteocalli by the Aztecs) dominated the central sacred precinct of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. [5], The sixth temple was built during the reign of Ahuizotl. Sacrifices could also take place to commemorate important state events. He ordered a Catholic cross placed on the Templo Mayor. Due to the god's serpentine nature, the temple had a circular base instead of a rectangular one. All seven stages of the Templo Mayor, except the first, have been excavated and assigned to the reigns of the emperors who were responsible for them. By the 20th century, scholars had a good idea where to look for it. Although many are of Mexica design, there are also abundant items from other peoples, brought in as tribute or through trade. A number of important artifacts have been found in this area, the most important of which are two nearly identical large ceramic sculptures of Mictlantecuhtl, the god of death. The Templo Mayor was first constructed in the reign of Itzcoatl (r. 1427-1440 CE), improved upon by his successor Motecuhzoma I (r. 1440-1469 CE), and again enlarged during the reign of Ahuitzotl (r. 1486-1502 CE). These are found under floors; in platforms, architectural bodies, stairways and in temples. Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan. The museum has eight main exhibition halls, each dedicated to a different theme. Huit-zi-lo-pocht-li) or ‘Hummingbird... Tenochtitlan (also spelled Tenochtitlán), located on an... Tláloc (pron. The entire building was originally covered with stucco and polychrome paint. The pyramid was reached via a sacred Processional Way constructed along an east-west axis. The measurements in the Templo Mayor confirmed the veracity of this comment. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Templo_Mayor/. The last room is Room 8, which is dedicated to the archeology and history of the site. One of the sunset dates corresponding to the east–west axis of the late stages, including the last, is 4 April, which in the Julian calendar of the 16th century was equivalent to 25 March. [5][7][12], The deities were housed inside the temple, shielded from the outside by curtains. Tenochtitlan was the most important city in the Aztec, or more properly Mexica, empire and with a population of between 200,000 and 300,000, one of the largest cities in the world when Hernan Cortés arrived in 1521. [7] This was based on the archeological work done at the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. In excavations at the Templo Mayor, different types of offerings have been found and have been grouped by researchers in terms of Time (the period in which the offering was deposited); Space (the location of the offering within the structure); Container (type and dimensions of the receptacle containing the objects); internal distribution (placement of objects within the offering) and value of the items. This palace specifically imitates much of the style of the Burnt Palace, located in the ruins of Tula. Sala 4 is dedicated to the god Huitzilopochtli. The great platform was decorated with serpents and braziers, some of which are in the form of monkeys and some in the form of Tlaloc. To enter this main room, one had to pass through an entrance guarded by two large sculpted representations of these warriors. Almost all the interior walls of the House of the Eagles are decorated with beautiful paintings and contain long benches, which are also painted. This building was designed to exhibit the archaeological findings of the zone that used to be the Main Temple of Mexica peoples. [5][7], The fourth temple was constructed between 1440 and 1481 during the reigns of Moctezuma I and Axayacatl. [6], After the destruction of Tenochtitlan, the Templo Mayor, like most of the rest of the city, was taken apart and the area redeveloped by new structures of the Spanish colonial city. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. [16], According to tradition, the Templo Mayor is located on the exact spot where the god Huitzilopochtli gave the Mexica people his sign that they had reached the promised land: an eagle on a nopal cactus with a snake in its mouth. Coyolxauhqui was a powerful magician and led her siblings in an attack on their mother, Coatlicue, because Coatlicue had become pregnant. [24], The museum of the Templo Mayor was built in 1987 to house the Templo Mayor Project and its finds—a project which continues work to this day. It was so named because it was slightly elevated over the rest of the neighborhood and, during flooding, street dogs would congregate there. Huixachtlan and was used to light the sacred fire atop the Templo Mayor before being transferred to all subsidiary temples in the city. Cartwright, Mark. 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. In 1991, the Urban Archeology Program was incorporated as part of the Templo Mayor Project whose mission is to excavate the oldest area of the city, around the main plaza. These stairways were used only by the priests and sacrificial people. Polychrome ceramic vase depicting Tlaloc, god of rain. He built three shrines and the House of the Eagle Warriors. The Templo Mayor was the most important structure at the centre of a large sacred precinct measuring 365 m (1,200 ft) on each side and surrounded by a wall which, because of its snake relief carvings, was known as the coatepantli or 'Serpent Wall'. This temple shows clear Teotihuacan influence in its paintings (mostly in red) and the design of its altar. Also many of the offerings found at the Templo Mayor were or were made from various plants and animals. Unarmed and trapped within the walls of the Sacred Precinct, an estimated 8,000–10,000 Aztec nobles were killed. All of these fulfilled a specific function within the offering, depending on the symbolism of each object. This discovery revived great interest in the Templo Mayor, the Great Temple of the Aztecs (Price & Feinman, 2013). [7], In his description of the city, Cortés records that he and the other Spaniards were impressed by the number and magnificence of the temples constructed in Tenochtitlan, but that was tempered by this disdain for their beliefs and human sacrifice. Related Content [8], On 14 November 1519, Cortes seized the emperor Moctezuma II and ordered the destruction of all the religious relics of the Aztecs. The entirety was probably placed in ceremonial boxes—tepetlacalli—as an offering to the gods. Essential elements of the old imperial center, including the Templo Mayor, were buried under similarly key features of the new city in what is now the historical downtown of the Mexico City. The discovery renewed the interest in excavating the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, underneath Mexico City. [3], The Temple of the Sun was located west of the Templo Mayor also and its remains lie under the Metropolitan Cathedral. Double reason, then, for the Aztecs to do all they could to keep this fickle deity in a good mood. [4], In the first decades of the 20th century, Manuel Gamio found part of the southwest corner of the temple and his finds were put on public display. [5], From 1978 to 1982, specialists directed by archeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma worked on the project to excavate the Temple. [21][22][23], Another conjoining area was dedicated to the Ocelot Warriors. These rulers, and others, each employed the resources and labour given in tribute by neighbouring states in order … His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. And the god Tlaloc, who was a rain and agricultural deity. templo mayor and skyline mexico city panoramic shot - templo mayor museum stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images. This temple was dedicated to gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, the left temple honoring Tlaloc and the right dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. The collection shows the political, military and aesthetic relevance of the city that dominated Mesoamerica before the Spaniards arrived. [11], The pyramid was composed of four sloped terraces with a passage between each level, topped by a great platform that measured approximately 80 by 100 meters (262 by 328 feet). Only a platform to the north and a section of paving in the courtyard on the south side can still be seen. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. He states that the "principal center, or navel, where the horizontal and vertical planes intersect, that is, the point from which the heavenly or upper plane and the plane of the Underworld begin and the four directions of the universe originate, is the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan. UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1900: Aztec civilization, Mexico, 15th century. [5] In 1933, Emilio Cuevas found part of a staircase and beam. A chacmool was uncovered as well. This stone turned out to be a huge disk of over 3.25 meters (10.7 feet) in diameter, 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) thick and weighing 8.5 metric tons (8.4 long tons; 9.4 short tons). The Templo Mayor was a 60 metre high architectural mountain dedicated to The Gods TlaloC & Huitzilopochtli. And yet what Hernán Cortés saw in 1519, newly arrived from Cuba during the reign of the Aztec king Moctezuma, was the seventh and last recreation of the Templo Mayor. The temple on the north side, painted with blue stripes, was dedicated to Tlaloc and marked the summer solstice (symbolic of the wet season) whilst Huitzilopochtli’s south-side shrine, painted red, marked the winter solstice (symbolic of the dry season and a time for warfare). Its architectural style belongs to the late Postclassic period of Mesoamerica. Huitzilopochtli was the supreme Aztec god and considered the god of the sun, war, gold, rulers, and he was patron of Tenochtitlan. Each stairway was defined by balustrades flanking the stairs terminating in menacing serpent heads at the base. The orientation of stage II, the earliest of the archaeologically attested construction phases, is different from that adopted by stage III and preserved in all subsequent stages. Cartwright, Mark. Books The sacrifice of animals and non-fatal blood-letting amongst the priestly class were common practices but the Aztecs have now become infamous for their most dramatic and important choice of offering: human sacrifice. The Templo Mayor (Main Temple) in Tenochtitlan, capital of the mighty Aztec empire, was located in the center of the city, where the most important ritual and ceremonial activities in Aztec life took place.Standing about ninety feet high, the majestic structure consisted of two stepped pyramids rising side by side on a huge … 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. 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. In 1948, Hugo Moedano and Elma Estrada Balmori excavated a platform containing serpent heads and offerings. The museum has four floors, three of which are for permanent exhibitions and the fourth houses offices for the director, museum administration and research staff. At the end of the festival, the image was broken apart and shared among the populace to be eaten. [12] Huitzilopochtli emerged from his mother Coatlicue fully grown and fully armed to battle his sister Coyolxauhqui and her brothers the Centzon Huitznahua who intended to kill him and their mother. Therefore, digging down through this temple takes us back in time. [5] Initial excavations found that many of the artifacts were in good enough condition to study. Templo Mayor (recostruction), Tenochtitlan, 1375–1520 C.E. A temple dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the war god, and to Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture, dominated the Sacred Precinct of the great Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. The Aztec ruler, privileged nobles, and those who had captured the victims in war also participated in this symbolic feast. Consequently, Motolinía did not refer to the astronomical equinox (the date of which would have hardly been known to a non-astronomer at that time), but rather only pointed out the correlation between the day of the Mexica festival, which in the last years before the invasion coincided with the solar phenomenon in the Templo Mayor, and the date in the Christian calendar that corresponded to the traditional day of spring equinox. One of the best preserved and most important is the Palace (or House) of the Eagle Warriors. Representing fire and water respectively, this pair of deities probably symbolized the concept of "burning water," a metaphor for warfare. Their temple, dedicated to the god Tezcatlipoca, lies under the current Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público to the south of the Templo Mayor. The Pyramid was similarly built on an east-west axis so that when at the top of the stairway one would face the east and see both Mt. [24], Images of the gods Huehueteotl-Xiuhtecuhtli, together with Tlaloc, presided over most of the offerings found in the Templo Mayor. Topped by twin temples dedicated to the war god Huitzilopochtli and the rain god Tlaloc it was a focal point of the Aztec religion and very centre of the Aztec world. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 05 Feb 2016. 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. Finally, the heads of victims were displayed on racks known as tzompantli which were set at the base of the pyramid. Furthermore, 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation, was in the Middle Ages commonly identified with the vernal equinox. At this time, the stairway to the shrine of Tlaloc was defined by a pair of undulating serpents and in the middle of this shrine was a small altar defined by a pair of sculpted frogs. [4], Coordinates: 19°26′06″N 99°07′53″W / 19.43500°N 99.13139°W / 19.43500; -99.13139, Sacred Precinct and surrounding buildings, Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, List of pre-columbian archaeological sites in Mexico City, "EL RECINTO CEREMONIAL Y EL TEMPLO MAYOR Evolución de la Gran Tenochtitlan", "Model of the ceremonial precinct of Mexico-Tenochtitlan", "The tasks of exploration and restoration of the sculptures", "The morphology and the orientation of the images", Templo Mayor entry on The Visual History Project, Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola Vizcaínas, Convent of Jesús María and Our Lady of Mercy, Parish of Jesús María and Our Lady of Mercy, House of the First Print Shop in the Americas, Museum of Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Palace of the Inquisition (Museum of Mexican Medicine), Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo, now Mexico City (Museum of the Constitutions), Palace of the Counts of San Mateo de Valparaiso, House of the Count de la Torre Cosío y la Cortina, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Templo_Mayor&oldid=989126241, Buildings and structures demolished in the 16th century, Articles containing Spanish-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. These locations served as a place for the reenactment of the mythical conflict. The Temple of Quetzalcoatl was located to the west of the Templo Mayor. It was a central gathering place in Aztec life within the city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the once-thriving and sophisticated empire, and was thus also the center of religious life. These benches are composed of two panels. The Templo Mayor was approximately ninety feet high and covered in stucco. Another important festival was held during the month of Toxcatl when an effigy of the god made from dough and dressed in his costume was paraded through the city and then eaten at the Templo Mayor. This room contains various images of him as well as offerings. Between 1325 and 1519, the Templo Mayor was expanded, enlarged, and reconstructed during seven main building phases, which likely corres… The precinct may have contained as many as 78 different structures but the Templo Mayor was by far the tallest and must have dominated the city skyline. [10][17] This indicates the place where the plane of the world that humans live in intersects the thirteen levels of the heavens, called Topan and the nine levels of the underworld, called Mictlan.[10]. Adjoining this palace is the temple for these warriors—also known as the Red Temple. As the temple grew over the years, offerings and precious goods were ritually buried within its ever-expanding layers. Archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, in his essay "Symbolism of the Templo Mayor," posits that the orientation of the temple is indicative of the total vision that the Mexica had of the universe (cosmovision). Room 5 is dedicated to Tlaloc, the other principal deity of the Aztecs and one of the oldest in Mesoamerica. Very little of this layer remains because of the destruction the Spaniards wrought when they invaded the city. It was then discovered that the pyramid was in fact a succession of pyramids each built over a smaller predecessor and even the original primitive platform, dated with the aid of a stone hieroglyph to 1390 CE, was discovered. In fact, much of Mexico City was built over Tenochtitlan, but some original sites remain, including the Great Temple, known as Templo Mayor, which was the most important building in the city. [8] Efforts coalesced into the Templo Mayor Project, which was authorized by presidential decree. Templo Mayor is the Spanish word for ''Main Temple.'' This led to the excavation of the Huēyi Teōcalli (Templo Mayor), directed by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. Tlaloc was seen as both a giver of essential rain in a frequently harsh environment but also as a destructive force when he sent storms, floods, and droughts. Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 05 February 2016 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Tlaloc was responsible for providing a healthy rain season and an … [4] Cortés, who had ordered the destruction of the existing capital, had a Mediterranean-style city built on the site. The seventh and last temple is what Hernán Cortés and his men saw when they arrived to Tenochtitlan in 1519. Room 1 is dedicated to the goddesses Coatlicue and Coyolxauhqui, mother and sister to Huitzlipochtli, respectively. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Its exact location is on one side of what is now Donceles Street. Related to Room 6, 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". A typical sacrifice involved the victim being stretched over a stone while a priest, armed with an obsidian knife, ripped out their heart and then decapitated and dismembered them. Widespread throughout the entire population, this practice was performed by perforating certain fleshy parts of the body—such as the earlobes, lips, tongue, chest, calves, et cetera—with obsidian blades, agave needles or bone perforators. As the southern half of the Great Temple represented Coatepec (on the side dedicated to Huitzilopochtli), the great stone disk with Coyolxauhqui's dismembered body was found at the foot of this side of the temple. Fray Bernardino de Sahagún reported that the Sacred Precinct had 78 buildings; the Templo Mayor towered above all of them. During excavations, more than 7,000 objects were found, mostly offerings including effigies, clay pots in the image of Tlaloc, skeletons of turtles, frogs, crocodiles, and fish; snail shells, coral, some gold, alabaster, Mixtec figurines, ceramic urns from Veracruz, masks from what is now Guerrero state, copper rattles, and decorated skulls and knives of obsidian and flint. The relief on the stone was later determined to be Coyolxauhqui, Huitzilopochtli's sister, and was dated to the end of the 15th century. It was at the time the largest and most important active ceremonial center. [4], The push to fully excavate the site did not come until late in the 20th century. Equinox, see the sunrise exactly between the two shrines on the equinox, see the sunrise exactly the! Her siblings in an attack on their mother, Coatlicue, because the templo mayor aztec that used to light the Precinct! 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Known about this temple is what Hernán Cortés and his men saw they... Eastern side of what is now Mexico city reigns of Moctezuma I and Axayacatl or., Coatlicue, because Coatlicue had become pregnant down through this temple what... The platform was recovered in stucco and the temple was built during reigns... Tlacaxipehualiztli, that is, precisely the day of Tlacaxipehualiztli, that is, precisely day! The United Kingdom over two meters down, the feast of the Eagle were! And a section of paving in the Nahuatl language items from other peoples brought! By Eduardo Matos Moctezuma in war also participated in this symbolic feast in common political... And 1440 during the reigns of Moctezuma I and Axayacatl new fire Ceremony, also known as Tzompantli were... Stairway was defined by balustrades flanking the stairs terminating in menacing serpent heads and offerings holds an in! Amaranth seeds held together with honey and human blood principal sites of Tenochtitlan, 1375–1520 C.E in enough. Royalty-Free photos & images good mood 25 March, the seventh and last is...

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