Continued from Templo 2
The Museum building offers a welcome cool atmosphere after the baking sun.
Audio sets are available for rent. We didn’t use them, but they will be
invaluable to visitors unable to understand the Spanish-only descriptions in
this museum. The museum has two things I really appreciate: a well-marked
recommended route that guides you through the museum and allow you to see all
exhibitions without having to dash to and fro, backtrack wondering whether you
are missing something important; and descriptions large enough to easily read
from a comfortable distance without having to rub your nose against the wall.
The museum covers much more than just the excavations of the Templo Mayor,
although the emphasis is naturally on the local findings. The star attractions
are the huge round stone of Coyolxauhqui and the statues of the eagle warriors.
Close to the entrance is a large model of what the total temple complex must
have looked like -- there were many other temples in addition to the Templo
Mayor. However, the Templo Mayor towered over all and small figures emphasize
its size compared to humans as well. Another model shows a cutaway of the
Templo Mayor -- after seeing this model it is much easier to understand the
archaeological site outside.
Other halls cover the daily life of the Aztecs according to themes such as
agriculture, fauna and flora, trade -- they understood globalization even though
their world was much smaller -- and several dealing with religious aspects such as rituals, burial and the individual gods.
The most important god to the Mexicas was Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, who also provided blood to the Sun. The latter function required human sacrifices, which kept the Aztec military busy and in control of the empire. One of the shrines on top of the large pyramid of the Templo Mayor was dedicated to this god and his thirst for blood.
In Mexica mythology, Coatlicue was the earth and her children were the stars, the moon (the god Coyolxauhqui) and the sun (none other than Huitzilopochtli himself). However, prior to the sun’s birth, the moon became jealous and incited her brothers the stars to kill their mother and the child in her womb. However, before Jerry Springer could sort it all out, the sun was born fully armed for war and promptly beheaded the Moon and watch her body being
dismembered by every twist and turn of it rolling down the mountain. This
dismemberment of the moon can be observed during every lunar month or if time is
pressing simply look at the carvings on the 8 ton, 3.25'' diameter round stone of Coyolxauhqui.
It was the finding of this stone in 1978, which resulted in the excavation of
the Templo Mayor and the opening of this very fine museum about a decade later.