Neo Tenochtitlan: A modern reinterpretation.

This depiction preserves the original story, location and shape of the ancient Mexica Empire ceremonial center, however, the atmosphere, environment, colors, and world setting had been reimagined. The aesthetic style of Neo Tenochtitlan is heavily influenced by artistic movements such as vaporwave and outrun. This virtual tour experience features 21 places and 4 monoliths.

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Huey Teocalli

Templo Mayor

The city of Tenochtitlan is the capital of the Mexicas' life; this building is the most important and also a sacred place. It served as a place of worship for their main deities, to whom the temples crowning the pyramid are dedicated: Huitzilopochtli (south), the god of war; and Tláloc (north), the god of rain. It reached an approximate height of 45 meters, being the largest. It dates back to seven construction stages. Its location combines the four cardinal points, and it is also believed to represent the different levels of the cosmos.

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Snakes Wall

Within the Mexica culture, snakes played a major role. They were often associated with the reproductive powers of the earth and fertility, as well as resurrection.

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This place surrounds the platform of the Huey Teocalli, decorated with snake sculptures that depicted the mythical Coatepec (Snake Hill). Construction dates back to stage IVb, during the empires of either Moctezuma Ilhuicamina (1440-1469) or Axayacatl (1469-1481), additionally its characteristics were ideal to perform a wide range of rituals.

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Altar of frogs

Due to their aquatic nature, frogs were associated with Tlaloc. It was believed that their croaking announced the arrival of the rainy season. This altar served as the platform for the temple and corresponds to construction stage IVb, dating back to the year 1470.

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Worshipping to the god Tlaloc was very important because the sustenance of agricultural societies depended on him, and children, usually sick, were often offered to him as sacrifices. A cosmogonic tale recounts how the offspring of the supreme couple, Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, gathered to create Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue. This is their main place of worship, belonging to construction stage II, and dating back to the year 1390.

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Southpaw hummingbird

Huitzilopochtli is known as the god of war and the supreme deity of the Mexica people. His significance lies in being a crucial cosmogonic representation of this culture, centered around military strength and a tribute system. This space was dedicated to his worship, and it is believed that the remains found inside belong to high-ranking members of Mexica society. It dates back to stage II, in the year 1390.

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Adorned with rattles

A lunar deity in Mexica cosmology, the daughter of Coatlicue, and sister to the gods Centzon Huitznahuac, whom she led and symbolized as the multitude of stars in the sky. In this piece, she is represented dismembered and serves as a kind of map that the Mexica priests used for human sacrifices, alluding to her death at the hands of her brother Huitzilopochtli.

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According to Mexica mythology, Coyolxauhqui led the group of Huitznahua, and when they reached the Coatepec hill, they confronted Huizilopochtli, her brother. He defeated them, decapitated her, and cast her body beneath the mountain, leaving her dismembered. She then transformed into the moon, while the group of Huitznahua became the stars.

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The great earth sacrifice

Tlaltecuhtli was a wild monster with joints filled with eyes and mouths that it used to bite. Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca transformed into two serpents to split her in two, creating life from her. One part of her body formed the heavens; the other, the earth. From her hair, trees, flowers, and herbs were created; from her nostrils, caves; from her eyes, water wells; and from her mouths, rivers and caves. Mexica mythology tells of her craving human hearts and blood to ease her pain.

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The eagle recipient

The eagle holds significant symbolic importance in Mexica culture, as it is associated with the foundation of Tenochtitlan and often represents Huitzilopochtli. For these reasons, the eagle received special reverence. Several tlatoanis, such as Axayacatl, Tizoc, and Ahuitzotl, were buried in this building. It belongs to the reign of Moctezuma I (1440-1469) and was later covered by a floor during stage VI (1486-1502).

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The sacred tree

This is one of the sacred trees associated with the worship of Huitzilopochtli and the Cuauhxicalco, also known as the cosmic tree. It dates back to the IV construction stage during the period of 1440 to 1469.

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The tree's gourd

It served as a protection for the cosmic tree: Xochitlicacan. So far, this is the only archaeological tree that represents an authentic example of what is considered a pre-Hispanic cosmic tree preserved in its original context.

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Huey Tzompantli

The greater cranes row

This place is the main Tzompantli of Tenochtitlan, dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. Here, the skulls of sacrifice victims were displayed on wooden beams, as part of the tribute to their deities to prevent them from bringing about the end of the world. The skull was not just a human body part; it also served as a representation of a god.

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So far, two construction phases corresponding to stage IV have been discovered, dating to the reign of Ahuitzotl (1486-1502). It is estimated that it housed around 60,000 skulls from men, women, and children from various parts of Mesoamerica.

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House of the jaguar

In Mexica culture, jaguars, along with eagles, were the two most important military orders among the Mexica. The jaguar was associated with being a predator of the underworld and darkness, while the eagle was seen as a celestial predator. Jaguar warriors belonged to the lower class, and eagle warriors were from the nobility. The jaguar military order wore attire resembling this animal because they believed it would imbue them with its strength in battle.

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Smoking mirror

Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, was the one who bestowed goods or withheld them and could bring misfortune as well. He brought an end to the golden age of the Toltecas and led Quetzalcoatl astray. He is depicted with a black stripe across his face and an obsidian mirror in place of one of his feet or on his chest, with which he could see all human actions and thoughts, emitting smoke that killed his enemies. In May, the festival of Toxcatl was dedicated to him, during which a warrior was offered to him. It was during this celebration in 1520 that Pedro de Alvarado led a massacre.

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According to Mexica mythology, Tonatiuh represents the cosmic era in which the Mexica people lived, as told in the legend of the Five Suns. After the disappearance of the Fourth Sun, Tonatiuh ruled the universe as the Fifth Sun, with the first being the god Tezcatlipoca, the second Quetzalcoatl, the third Tlaloc, and the fourth the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue. This is the temple of Tonatiuh, the god of the sun. Due to its main front facing east, it is also known as the Temple of the Rising Sun. Nowadays, it is located beneath the Metropolitan Cathedral.

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Precious stone

The Chalchihuitl figure was distinguished as one of the most important symbols of fertility, and it was often associated with the sun as well.

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Yellow water

It is a religious architectural structure that surrounded a sacred spring, where priests would bathe before and after important ceremonies, and it was used for conducting sacred rituals.

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On the sacred ball game

At this place, an important ceremony to Paynatl, the god of battles, was performed in the month of panquetzaliztli. A procession would take place at various points in the city, transporting his image, which was later taken to the temple of Huitzilopochtli for an offering. At dawn, it was brought to this site along with four prisoners of war who would be sacrificed to Amapan and Oappatzan.

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This complex was developed during construction stages V, VI, and VII, spanning the period from 1481 to 1519. It is likely that several individuals were sacrificed as offerings to the gods, as cervical vertebrae from young people and children were found during its discovery.

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Ehecatl, the god of wind, is one of the main deities in Mexica culture, associated with the creation of the Fifth Sun, helping it stay in motion. He is considered a manifestation of Quetzalcoatl. Priests would enter this temple through a snake-shaped door, where they would invoke Ehecatl for mercy and the continuous and gentle flow of air, enabling canoes to move through the city.

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The site is aligned with the temple of Tlaloc. It dates back to stage VI, between 1486 and 1502, and its circular shape is associated with the movement of the wind. Ehecatl assisted Tlaloc by clearing the sky for rain.

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The houses row

Education played a fundamental role in Mexica society, as it preserved traditions and the fate of their city. It consisted of two stages: In the first stage, children received family education within their homes. When they reached the age of fifteen, depending on their social background, they would enter one of two educational institutions. Women did not attend these schools; from an early age, they were prepared to serve in the household.

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In the Calmecac, the children of Mexica nobility, pipiltin, received training and stayed there throughout the year. With strict discipline, they were educated in astronomy, philosophy, history, economics, music, religion, moral values, military tactics, tradition, and more. This education aimed to prepare them for future roles as rulers, warriors, and priests of Tenochtitlan. Their teachers were the tlamatinime, the wise members of society.

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House of the snakes

Till date, is not known with certainty to which deity this temple was dedicated to, but there is a possibility that it was the Coateocalli, the House of the Snake, where the deities of the peoples conquered by the Mexica were often kept. This was the first archaeological window that was discovered. In it, a sculpture of Xiuhcoatl, the Fire Serpent, was found, followed by one of Ocelotl Cuauhxicalli with representations of Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca.

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Great Basement

It represents a sacred mountain and measures approximately 40 meters in width from north to south. It provides evidence that it was constructed in five stages spanning the period from 1440 to 1521.

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House of the eagles

Eagles represented celestial predators, and the eagle warriors belonged to the noble Mexica military order. These warriors were considered the bravest and were distinguished by their eagle attire, which was believed to imbue them with special qualities. Inside this enclosure, remnants of blood, vegetable and animal fats, as well as what appears to be pulque residue, were found. This indicates that it was a space consecrated for offerings and ceremonies to the gods, as well as for the enthronement of the new Huey Tlatoani. Here, the tlatoani would perform a ritual in which he exited through the west door to follow the path toward the Sun, and then the vestibule led him to the north door, where figures of Mictlantecuhtli are located, ultimately leading to the Mictlan. It was constructed and expanded in three stages between 1430 and 1500.

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Northern red temple

A temple dedicated to Xochipilli, the prince of flowers, who was also the Mexica god of love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn, pleasure, arts, and songs. It was decorated with red, white, yellow, blue, and black, adorned with large red stone circles and ribbons painted in white and red. This is an adoration site that imitates the Teotihuacan style and dates back to stage VI (1486 and 1502).

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Altar Tzompantli

It is an altar formed by human skulls, belonging to children, women, and men, including some warriors, central in Mexica sacrificial practices. Approximately 484 skulls were found on it, and aside from displaying them, they supplied the priests for reuse in other ceremonies. Its northward location refers to the path to Mictlan, the realm of the dead. Archaeologists identified three construction phases of the tower dating from 1486 to 1502.

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Ollin Tonatiuh

The moving sun

In addition to serving as a tribute to the sun, it represents the division of time and the Mexica worldview. Those about to be sacrificed would lie on it, and with a knife, their hearts would be ritually removed and offered to Nahui Ollin, the fifth sun. In its center, the god Tonatiuh is depicted in a triumphant manner, explaining the creation of the world. Around it are the other ages of the world: the first sun, Nahui Ocelotl; the second, Nahui Ehecatl; the third, Nahui Quiyahuitl; and the fourth, Nahui Atl. The next ring contains the 20 day signs; around this is another ring symbolizing the 52 years that make up a Mexica century. This stone dates back to the reign of Axayacatl, in 1479.

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