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Templo Mayor

The ruins of the Aztec Great Temple

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Mexico City
Zócalo
One of the world’s biggest city squares with an iconic Bandera monumental
Palacio Nacional
Renaissance palace of historic significance with murals by Diego Rivera that tell Mexico's story
Catedral Metropolitana
Largest cathedral in Latin America with many architectural styles that stretch over 3 centuries
Palacio de Bella Artes
A truly charming concert hall that shows performances ranging from ballet to opera
Arena Coliseo
A much-loved local venue for Lucha Libre matches
Museo Nacional de Arte
Art from the 16th to 20th centuries housed within a magnificent Neo-Classical building

Related Tours

Welcome to Mexico's Heart
·        See the Zócalo, the biggest plaza in Mexico
·        Walk over Moctezuma II’s footsteps in the Palacio Nacional
·        Visit the huge Catedral Metropolitana
·        Step down to the Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor

The centre of Mexico City is an area full of important places. Go with your guide on a private journey across it to experience the journey of Mexico from the Aztecs to the modern-day. 

The Central Space

It is common, when walking around the Zócalo, to experience a sense of awe. The square has been at the center of Mexican history and culture since Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan and, with independence, the square has come into its own. With a huge flag above you, your guide will talk about the square’s history – an open space for the Aztecs even before Hernan Cortes chose to pave it – and how it is a focal point for Mexicans today. It is a tale which has seen conquerors, from Hernan Cortes to Winfield Scott, and political machinations behind the walls of its surrounding buildings. You will then go inside one of these: the Palacio Nacional. Based on the site of one of the Aztec Emperor’s palaces, it holds both iconic murals and some curious historic artefacts. The place where the Mexican President celebrates the annual Dolores de Grito ceremony, waving the flag and shouting Viva Mexico!, it holds the bell from independence hero, and Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo’s own church. 

Temples of the City

To the north of the Zócalo lies the Cathedral Metropolitana. The largest cathedral in the Americas, it boasts a multitude of architectural styles which your guide will be happy to point out as you go around what was once named the “sinking cathedral”. Built using stones from the Aztec Great Temple, or Templo Mayor, the cathedral is not far from the ruins of that sacred site for the Aztecs. Walking through its ruins, your guide will tell you how the monumental building arose in layers over time, as well as the grisly details of the Aztec’s religion. The site marks where the Aztecs, in the period of their history when they were a nomadic tribe without a home, felt a divine command from the god Huitzilopochtli to be fulfilled when they saw an eagle eat a snake on a cactus. It was gradually built over a shrine marking the spot and many human sacrifices were performed at the top. 
The Aztecs: Lords of the City
·        Hear your guide talk about the history of the Zócalo and imagine the buildings that used to encircle it. 
·        Walk around the ruins of the Templo Mayor and the accompanying museum. 

Mexico’s indigenous heritage is a strong part of its national identity, with its capital betraying the connection with the past as much as any other part of the country. While Mexico City is very different from its heyday, when it was named Tenochtitlan and centre of the Aztec Empire, with the loss of its lake and new European building styles, the legacy of its former rulers is just beneath you. This tour aims to give you an understanding of that partly lost city. 

Plaza of Emperors

Starting in the Zocalo, your guide will tell you about the history of the square. While not then the main plaza of the city, it was an open space where the surrounding buildings were home to Tenochtitlan’s elite. Becoming the hub of the city only after the conquest, it is an excellent place to hear your guide talk about how Cortes destroyed the Aztec Empire. 

The Greatest Temple

The sacred centre of the city was actually the Templo Mayor. Here you will visit the exact spot where the founders of the city fulfilled a divine instruction by building a city where they saw an eagle eat an unfortunate snake on a cactus; an event now shown on the Mexican flag. Growing from a small shrine, it became a 60m high imposing structure during the 15th-century as more and more offerings were included within the structure. More morbidly, it was where they sacrificed many of their captives and you will be able to listen to your guide telling you about why they thought it would appease the god as you walk around the ruins of this multi-layered temple. When you are finished, they will also take you through the accompanying museum to see some of the ancient exhibits found by archaeologists. 



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