Mexico City Travel Guide

From: Mexico Travel Guide Mexico City Travel Guide

See also: Teotihuacan Mexico Travel Guide Travel Advice

The former city of Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 and was the vast capital city of the Aztec empire until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521.

The city of Tenochtitlan was originally built upon an island on Lake Texcoco after an ancient Aztec prophecy that dictated the location of where a great city would be borne, this prophecy was signalled by the viewing of an eagle eating a snake whilst perched upon a cactus plant.

When a group of wandering Aztec's witnessed this very prophecy they set about building the city and the great temple known as Templo Mayor, and used the lake and surrounding marsh's to great advantage by building canals and floating islands called chinampa's to aid in agriculture, these floating islands can still be viewed in the Xochimilco area of today's modern city.

In the cities prime it would have been filled with several temples, palaces, gardens and other structures as well as market areas.

After Tenochtitlan was captured by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez, it was destroyed with many of the cities former structures including the main temple known as Templo Mayor demolished and built directly on top of.

It was these Templo Mayor ruins that were later to be rediscovered with excavations eventually taking place in 1978 after a utility worker came across a large stone disc depicting the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui. The intricately carved stone disc is now housed in the Templo Mayor Museum alongside a well preserved Aztec Calendar Stone which was also recovered from the site along with many other important finds from the site and a scale model of the city.

Tenochtitlan is located in Mexico City, just over 200 meters north of the main Zocala, Plaza de la Constitucion in the heart of the city.

Travel Guide
The Templo Mayor can be easily reached by travelling towards Zocalo by either bus or subway which has a station at the square. From the square it is a short walk going alongside the Metropolitan Cathedral to reach the site.