First stop was the Templo Mayor. This is the Aztec ruins site that exists right in the center of Mexico City. It is really amazing. This used to be the center of the Aztec city of Tenochitlan. When the Spanish invaded in 1521, they destroyed the city and the new city which became Mexico City was pretty much built on top of it.
In 1978, the hydro company was doing some digging downtown and they came across a huge monolithic stone that depicted the moon goddess. Of course the site was covered by downtown buildings and a parking lot. The decision was made to demolish 13 buildings, some of which themselves were historic, in order to gain access to the site.
Part of the site exists underneath the current cathedral. Obviously the cannot destroy that in order to access it.
20 foot long serpent.
Funny lookin' dude.
The original temple was built around 1350, so it was in fact fairly recent, in Aztec terms. Each new ruler of the old city had a mandate to enlarge the temple, so they built over the old temple in layers. There were four different layers to the temple.
A display in the museum showing the layers of construction.
The excavation showing two of the layers.
Some of the detail is amazing. Especially impressed with the colors.
There are 240 skulls adorning the sides of this shrine.
I think archaeology is amazing, but I would never have the patience for it!
Some of the artifacts as they found them during excavation.
They have a museum on site displaying some of the 7,000 artifacts they found. This huge stone measures about 10' x 12'.
Ruth and the Eagle Man.
I still find it amazing that they didn't know all this stuff was down there until 1978. Too much to see, so we carried on. Did some walking and stopped for lunch at the downtown Sanborns. It's an expensive place, but we only ordered a plate of enchiladas for 92 pesos ($7.36) and asked if we could split it. No problem, they even brought it on separate plates, and we got a big basket of rolls and nacho chips that came with it. Didn't order a drink because we had water, so that was our total lunch bill. You can even do expensive restaurants on the cheap if you know how!
Made our way to the downtown post office building because we heard it had an impressive lobby. Boy were they right about that!
Ruth in the lobby of the postal building.
Looking up towards the ceiling.
Then we wandered over to the Sears building where we had read that you could get a nice view from the 9th floor. Yep, they were right about that too!
View from the Sears building. This is the arts center.
Then we were going to walk to the zoo, but our feet were already getting tired and it would have been a very long walk so we hopped on the subway. The Mexico City zoo is FREE...just the way a public zoo should be! The displays were well done, and although some of them were a little small for the animals they appeared well fed. Except for the Canadian wolves...they looked a little skinny. And what's with placing their enclosure next to the deer? Isn't that a bit of a tease??
This big guy was well fed!
Today, we're headed past northern Mexico City to the ruins site of Teotihuacan where the third largest pyramid in the world is located!