Tenochtitlan Today

Mexico City, Mexico, 24 August 2016

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

A model of the Plaza Mayor and Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan.  Behind it is an idealised painting by Luis Covarrubias (20th Century) of the cities of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco on the island on Lake Texcoco.  The model is more realistic than the painting.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Here we see a close-up of Templo Mayor.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

The temple was rebuilt seven times.  On each occasion, the old temple was completely covered in a casing of mud and stone, and a new temple constructed around it.  On five other occasions, only the main facade was expanded.  When each new building was opened, war captives from kingdoms conquered specifically the the event were sacrificed.

Also, the city suffered ongoing flood and earthquakes and the island subsoil was constantly settling, forcing them to raise the level of their pavements.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Some of it is still there.  This massive serpent must be as shown at bottom right in the previous image of the model.  it dates to the reign of Axayacatl (1469-1481)..

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Likewise, this is probably the serpent head from the lower middle of the model.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

After the fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521, two conquistadors, the Avila brothers, built houses on the ruins.  However, in 1566. they were arrested for conspiring against the Spanish Crown, along with Martin Cortes, the half-indigenous son of Hernan Cortes.  The Avila brothers were executed but Cortes was merely exiled to Spain.  The property remained abandoned for many years and was used as a rubbish dump.  Much later, it was granted to a University but construction never acrually happened.  Consequently, more survives than one might think, especially in the middle of a huge city.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

This chac mool, still showing some of its original colouring, lay outside the entrace to a shrine to Tlaloc, the rain god.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

The next few images data to around 1500AD.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Here you can see the different levels of pavement built up to counteract the sinking of the city.  This is of course a critical problem today, with the city subsiding 10 metres in the last century.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel .

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Banquette (bench) in the House of the Eagles.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Altar Tzompantli, alluding to Mictlampa, the region of the dead.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

Somewhat like Venice, building foundations were made by driving stakes into the lake bed or the surface of the island, secured by stone and mud.

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Archaeology, Aztecs, History, Mexico, Mexico City, Photography, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Travel

The Cathedral is in the distance.

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10 comments on “Tenochtitlan Today

  1. Robert Hayes says:

    WOnderful experience Murray. I wonder if you are informed as to the underground river and the cenotes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. leggypeggy says:

    Amazing to see the model and today’s look.

    Liked by 1 person

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