The Templo Mayor [PHOTOS | VIDEO]

The Templo Mayor [PHOTOS | VIDEO]

The Templo Mayor (Spanish for “Great Temple”) was one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City.

The temple was called the huei teocalli [?wei teo?kal?i]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 spire in the center of the image to the right was devoted to Quetzalcoatl in his form as the wind god, Ehecatl. The Great Temple devoted to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, measuring approximately 100 by 80 m (328 by 262 ft) at its base, dominated the Sacred Precinct. Construction of the first temple began sometime after 1325, and it was rebuilt six times. The temple was destroyed by Christians in 1521. Today, the archeological site lies just to the northeast of the Zocalo, or main plaza of Mexico City, in the block between Seminario and Justo Sierra streets.

Before the Spaniards demolished it, the Teocalli of Tenochtitlán covered the site where the cathedral now stands, as well as the blocks to its north and east. It wasn’t until 1978, after electricity workers happened on an eight-ton stone-disc carving of the Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui, that the decision was taken to demolish colonial buildings and excavate the Templo Mayor.

The temple is thought to be on the exact spot where the Aztecs saw their symbolic eagle perching on a cactus with a snake in its beak – the symbol of Mexico today.

Ongoing excavation continues to turn up major pieces. Just west of the temple, a monolithic stone carved with the image of Tlaltecuhtli, the goddess of earth fertility, was unearthed in October 2006 and is now prominently displayed on the museum’s 1st floor.

Another key find was made in 2011 when a ceremonial platform dating from 1469 was uncovered. Based on historical documents, archaeologists believe the 15m structure was used to cremate Aztec rulers. A recent dig also turned up what archaeologists believe is the trunk of a sacred tree found at a newly discovered burial site at the foot of the temple. Now more than ever, researchers feel they are inching closer to the first discovery of an Aztec emperor’s tomb.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templo_Mayor
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/mexico-city/sights/historic/templo-mayor#ixzz43rA6QSTh
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150227-a-place-for-human-sacrifices
Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/archaeologists-may-have-discovered-tombs-aztec-rulers-tenochtitlan

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