Templo Mayor#4 in Best Things To Do in Mexico City
Before Spanish colonization, Templo Mayor served as the religious center for the Aztec people. When Spanish conquistadors arrived in the late 14th century, the temple was among many that were destroyed and built over. It wasn't until 1978 that the temple dedicated to the Aztec gods Huitzilopochtli and Tláloc (gods of war and water) was unearthed in the heart of Mexico City. Today, the area remains an active archeological site and the adjoining museum houses more than 7,000 artifacts from the site.
Recent visitors said it's fascinating to see the ancient ruins that are tucked away in the center of the city. Many said it's worth spending time in the museum as well, but the site and scale can't match up to the massive Museo Nacional de Antropología. Still, the whole complex has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of Mexico City's most popular attractions.
You'll find the Templo Mayor and its museum located one block northwest of the Zócalo metro station. The museum and ruins are open Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs 75 pesos (about $4) for adults and is free for children and senior citizens. If you're hoping to avoid crowds, do not visit on a Sunday, when admission is free for Mexican residents. For more information, visit the museum's website.
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#1 Museo Nacional de Antropología
Located within the famous Chapultepec Forest, the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology) holds artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian era, dating from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 1521. The facility houses artifacts, including the famous Aztec Calendar Stone, known as Piedra del Sol, as well as the famed 16th-century statue of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of art, games, beauty, dance and maize (among others). The museum offers a look at how tradition, culture and life were formed in all regions of Mexico.
The museum is so extensive that many travelers claim you can spend a whole day exploring the many collections and exhibits and recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore. As one of the largest and most visited museums in Mexico, the grounds are also home to a gift shop, a cafeteria, a locker room and the National Library of Anthropology and History.
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