Temple Mayor Museum Notes

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Religions of Ancient Origins – Aztecs BACKGROUND Departing from their homeland of Aztlan and after a long pilgrimage, the Mexica arrived at Lake Texcoco, at the site foreseen --according to foundation myth-- by their patron god Huitzilopochtli. There they built his first temple, a simple structure made of mud and wood. With the passage of time, they constructed other temples dedicated to this and other gods, based on their cosmovision or view of the universe. This sacred space was enclosed in a great plaza, and it grew as the Mexica became more powerful, until it became the most important ceremonial center in Mesoamerica at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards. At its peak, the Sacred Precinct had seventy-eight buildings. Nevertheless, the Templo Mayor was always the tallest structure, pre-eminent in all periods. Rescued from the depths of the earth, the remains of the Great Temple stand just outside the Museum; remember, at this moment we are now at the Center of the Universe. Templo Mayor Broadly speaking, the Templo Mayor was the largest and most important building. In the last stage, dating to the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, the pyramidal platform was composed of four sloped tiers with a passage between each level, built on a great platform that measured approximately 80 x 100 meters. It had two stairways of access to the top, where there were two shrines or chapels dedicated to Tlaloc, the god of water on the left side (as you face the structure), and to Huitzilopochtli, god of war, on the right side. Each stairway was topped by what are called balustrades, referring to the cube-shaped terminations flanking the stairs while serpent heads were found at the base. The two temples, located at approximately 30 meters in height, had a specific decoration and the entire building was originally covered with stucco and polychrome paint.

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