Archaeological sites in and around Mexico City
One of Mexico’s most famous tourist sites is the la Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacán, a majorly important ancient Meso American city, located northeast of the Valley of Mexico. With more than 264 hectares including impressive constructions like la Calzada de los Muertos, la Ciudadela, el Templo de la Serpiente Emplumada and las Pirámides del Sol y la Luna. The importance of Teotihuacán, which in Náhuatl means “where men become gods,” is based on its geographic setting. Inhabitants of other cities in the region, like Tenochtitlán and Tlaxcala, used it as a meeting point, which resulted it in becoming an important trade center for the region. If you want to visit, we recommend that you take a bus from the Central del Norte statin or the Turibus that you’ll find in the Centro.
Majestic even in name, the main temple houses Mexico’s most precious history. The vestiges of this ceremonial center tell of the lineage of all Mexicans and of the vast cosmogony that still prevails. Leaving no room for doubt, each archaeological piece is fitted with information in both Spanish and English. A guide is not necessary as the route is very concrete and well planned. The fusion made between the ruins and the city outside is fascinating. Drums and Bells adorn the walkway of Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli with great harmony. We recommend you enjoy the museum and respect the rules, especially regarding cameras, as flashes are forbidden in order to prevent deterioration of exhibited ancient materials. Keep an eye out for the legend of the god of War and seek out the story of Coyolxauhqui.
The Plaza of the Tres Culturas is a space where you can perceive the three important eras of Mexican history through architecture: pre-Hispanic, colonia and contemporary. The first is represented by the ruins of Tlatelolco – the most important trade center of Pre-Hispanic Mexico – a site that offers its visitors the possibility of admiring more than 60 structures, including altars, platforms and temples. It also offers a small museum that exhibits pieces of daily and ceremonial use such as its military campaigns, trade and its relation to villages like Tenochtitlán. Upon touring the zone, you can find a number of explanatory texts that follow a very specific order from beginning to end. Probably one of the most attention-calling vestiges is the view of the lovers: the bone remains of two people who died in an embrace.
This area is primarily known for its presentation of the Passion of the Christ during Semana Santa, but also includes an archaeological zone enclaved in the Área Natural Protegida Cerro de la Estrella, including caves and petroglyphs. Unfortunately, the archaeological zone and the park are quite unkempt, and the curation of the museum leaves a lot to be desired. There really is no clear explanation over the history and archaeological style. Even so, the opportunity to see the entire city from the top of the pyramid is an unforgettable experience, especially on a clear day.
Visiting the site with very small children is not recommended as cars are not allowed to climb the hill, and the walk to the peak takes about a half hour. Also, don’t forget to bring water, a hat and sunscreen.
Find more attractions in Mexico City
If it’s your first time, we recommend the places that house the archaeological legacy of pre-Hispanic cultures, monuments and the city’s biggest lung, just past the metropolis’ first skyscraper.