5 Awesome Aztec Architecture Sights You Must See
1.Teotihuacan – Mexico City
This is an ancient Aztec city. Located just outside of Mexico city. Here you will find the pyramid of the sun, and the pyramid of the moon. The name ‘Teotihuacan’ loosely translates to ‘city of the gods’, and we can see why!
Impressive Aztec pyramids reaching up 75 meters into the clouds, meaning that this amazing city definitely makes the list of things you must see.
The interesting thing about these Aztec pyramids is that they are four sided, opposed to the Egyptians triangular 3 sided pyramids.
Who built Teotihuacan?
This is a matter of some dispute, as there were a lot of clan wars and turf wars in ancient Mesoamerica, some say the Totonac culture had a hand in building this prestigious city. Most agree the Aztecs were the main overseers.
This architecture as fine and detailed as it is is also wrought with another angle. These temples were primarily built for Aztec temple sacrifice, and archaeologists have found many sacrificial remains around Teotihuacan – this great Aztec city.
2.El Tepozteco –Tepoztlan
Who doesn’t love alcohol? The Aztecs certainly did; so much so they built this temple to worship Tepoztēcatl – God of their local alcoholic beverage; ‘pulque’ (made from the sap of the maguey plant).
Standing at 12 meters high, this is of course not the tallest Aztec pyramid you will find, but it is a great example to remember that these people remembered to respect the land around them and gave thanks to the resources they were given.
Inside the temple shrine there are interesting architectural glyphs on the benches.
3.Santa Cecilia Acatitlan – Mexico State
While only one pyramid survives of the original archaeological site, this could have been the main sacrificial temple to the God of war Huitzilopochtli .The reason the Santa Cecilia Acatitlan is on this list is because it has one of the best preserved interiors out of any Aztec pyramid.
This is partially due to preservation societies and archaeologists working to keep it structurally sound.
This structure was actually underground until the 20th century which could explain why it is so well preserved as the dust and mud would have acted like a shield from the elements.
4.Tenayuca – Valley Of Mexico
This is said to be the earliest capital city in the valley of mexico. The name literally means ‘walled place’ so we know this was a fortified city. At the time of the Spanish conquistadors, this city was a battleground for some time in 1520.
Tenayuca is widely known as the origins of where typical Aztec architecture began and developed. Architecturally – the main temple is interesting because bordering the base of the pyramid there are serpent sculpture carved into the stone.
This city was also known as the’ valley of the serpents’.
Here is where the double pyramid structure was built. Inside this walled city, there will have also been Aztec houses. Smaller structures and possibly made from wood and reeds. Some of the higher citizens would have had stone dwellings.
5.Calixtlahuaca – State of Mexico
Loosely translating to ‘house on the prairie’ there is nothing ‘little’ about this ancient site!
Believed to have been inhabited by mainly nomadic people, this site was very bountiful. The Aztecs come and built this city as we can see today . After the 1500’s this site was mostly used for farmland, because of its abundant soil.
The reason the Aztec empire thrived was because of their highly proficient ways of farming. Aztec agriculture methods meant that most of the population was not starving and they had an abundance of food for the winter months. They engineered maize, beans, and squashes
In the middle of this city there is a circular temple dedicated to the Aztec wind god.
As well as these impressive structures there is also a residential area. Smaller more modest ruins, the citizens of this great city will have dwell here.
There are also private chambers perhaps for the leader of the city, which would have been more grand and had private grounds and access.
Aztec Architecture Achievements
These achievements are still here, to be seen today in Mexico. You can see from this list Aztec architecture and art were very important to the way the Aztec civilization lived, and worshiped. For more modern architecture styles and information – check out my article on Biomimicry in architecture!