The Aztec Empire was one of the largest Mesoamerican Empires that existed during the Post-Classic period. Its nerve-centre was the capital city of Tenochtitlan which was situated by Lake Texcoco. The modern-day New Mexico is situated precisely at the site of Tenochtitlan.
Although the Aztec Empire came to an end with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, ruins of many Aztec monuments and buildings remain extant. Archaeological work is ongoing and researchers have already dug up many interesting ruins in the New Mexico city, casting new light on our understanding of the Aztec Empire.
Aztec built many temples in the city of Tenochtitlan. Many of these temples were razed after the Spanish conquest or new structures were built over them. Excavations in 19th and 20th century have revealed the ruins of many Aztec temples.
Templo Mayor was the most iconic of Aztec temples, the largest in the city of Tenochtitlan. The temple spread over a vast complex with many buildings. Some of these buildings have been discovered. Among these is the Eagle building of the Templo Mayor, meant for eagle warriors. In the Eagle building, bas reliefs of eagle warriors are still intact.
The Aztecs held the Great Pyramid of Cholula to be sacred. This pyramid still exist today and is considered the world’s largest pyramid by construction volume, larger than the Pyramid of Giza. It is also the largest ever monument built anywhere in the world, with a volume of 4.45 million cubic metres.
At the site of Tenochtitlan, the ruins of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon have also been excavated. Both pyramids held significant religious importance among the Aztecs.
Most of the ruins of the Aztec buildings have been dated back to between the 11th and 13th centuries, which explains that the key constructions in Tenochtitlan took place during this era.
The city of Teotihuacan was founded and built before the Aztecs and when the Aztecs rose to power, it had already been abandoned. So the Aztecs took over the city and left an imprint of their culture on the grand monumental architecture of Teotihuacan. Most of this architecture is extant today and it includes many pyramid-temples.
Another major site of the Aztec ruins is Calixtlahuaca, located in the Toluca Valley. The city falls to the West of Mexico City.
The ruins of Calixtlahuaca are very important in helping modern researchers understand the lifestyle of the Aztecs. These ruins include the residential areas of the Aztecs and many smaller pyramid-temples. The extant structures cast a light on the mode of life among those Aztecs who lived away from the central capital of Tenochtitlan.
A major extant structure among the Aztec ruins is the temple of El Tepozteco. This temple is located in the south of Mexico City.
The temple of El Tepozteco has a 6.4 meter high platform and is considered among one of the minor temples. It is dedicated to the Aztec of alcoholic beverage, Tepoztecatl.
The main Plaza of the modern-day Mexico City is located at more or less the same spot where the central plaza of Tenochtitlan was situated. Due to this, many characteristics of the original Aztec plaza are still extant in the plaza.