In this series of articles I will tell you in my opinion the things to do in Mexico City. I will cover not just the hot tourist places but I will be writing about other places also, such as, places to shop for the handmade products and the unique things you may be interested in along the way. Some may not be in the city itself, but will be near the city.
My 1st place in this series is Tenayuca in the colony of San Bartolo, Tlelnepantla de Baz. It is just north of down town.
The Tenayuca Pyramid was enlarge several times between the years 1250 – 1500 AD. The initial temple was first built around 1250 by the Chichimeca people and the last expansion between 1450 and 1500 AD by the Aztecs. It is one of the most preserved pyramids.
The temple consists of a double grand staircase and structure has sharp corners and angles. There are around 100 stone serpents still present around the 3 sides of the base of the pyramid.
The pyramid grounds also have two coiled snakes one on the south side and the other on the north side. Each of them represent Xiuhcoatl “the fire serpent”. Each serpent is aligned with the summer and winter solstices.
To protect the pyramid from further deterioration you can not climb it as you once could, but when you see it you can see why. It is a site to see and a person can actually start to see and admire the beauty of the times back then, although very difficult to today standards
Museum at Tenayuca Pyramid – Mueseo Xolotl
The museum located at the pyramid is another reason I put this first in my series of things to do in Mexico City.
The inside of the museum is small but what it lacks in size is nothing to the artifacts and history of the Aztec pyramid. There are many artifacts to view all of which have descriptions in Spanish and English.
One focal point in this museum is the Tomb of the years. This tomb part of the most important Aztec ritual called Fuego Nuevo (New Fire) ceremony or the binding of the years. The ceremony was performed to make sure the world would not end and a new era would begin.
This ceremony would be done every 52 years. During the ceremony they would destroy their house hold items along with their most cherished things. After they put the fires out they would wait in the dark to see if the world would continue or end.
The most important priests would come together on top of a hill and perform the ceremony, this included human sacrifice. After the Priests would light a new fire, that would signify the beginning of a new cycle of creation.
Experts believe this was performed at Tenayuca Pyramid based on details discovered there.
The tomb is decorated with images of skulls and bone and was found at the base of the pyramid and later moved to the museum for preservation. Some other clues were discovered that the ceremony was once held at the pyramid. Among these discoveries were sculptures and glyph s of the Aztec calendar which are depicted on the pyramid itself.
There are many other archaeological finds inside the museum that is well worth the visit.
In the end
This was the first pyramid in Mexico city that I visited and I was so glad I did. It is so well-preserved and the museum that it made me wanting to see all the pyramids in and around the city. I have toughly enjoyed all the other pyramids in the area like the pyramid of the sun and moon, but unlike them it is smaller and less crowded. So a person can really take all the history in. When I think of a pyramid in Mexico City, I think of this one first. It truly is a beautiful place and cannot wait to visit it again.
This a definite place to put on your list of things to do in Mexico City