Category Archives: Archeological Zones

THE PYRAMID IN THE SUBWAY

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THE PYRAMID IN THE SUBWAY

 

Back in the sixties the government, in preparation for the upcoming Olympic games of 1968 decided to start building the subway in Mexico City. While excavating in the downtown section of what is now known as Pino Suarez station they unearthed a round shaped pyramid. Actually my history professor would dispute that claim and tell me, “It’s not a pyramid it’s an altar built by the Mexica Indians around the 1400’s.”

 

Dedicated to Ehecatl the wind god.

Dedicated to Ehecatl the wind god.

It’s discovery presented a problem , the National Institute of Archeology and History ( INAH), intervened and after serious discussions metro officials signed an agreement to let the altar remain and allow INAH officials to preserve and maintain it.

So passageways were built around it, local fauna planted to spruce it up , river rocks and illumination were implemented. Now over 40 years later close to 200,000 people a day pass by this magnificent prehispanic monument on their way to work or daily routines. A touch of history to remind them of the past.

Mexico City Subway

Mexico City Subway

 

The METRO as the subway system is called has many locations that feature art, culture and history to see more check this link by Peter Davies…….

http://mexicocitymetro.wordpress.com/

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MOCTEZUMAS NIGHTMARE

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Moctezumas Nightmare

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 Moctezuma, The emperor of the Aztec Empire, )called Montezuma in English, but whose name was really Motecuhzoma, to difficult to pronounce by either English or Spanish had a foreboding feeling about the future  and his superstition was one of the many factors that caused the fall of the Aztecs.

 

 The Aztecs believed the God Quetzalcoatl )The plumed Serpent= was a white skinned god with a red beard and that he had went to the east and disappeared but had left a message that he would return in the year One Cane of the Aztec Calendar.

 

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About ten years before this date many things happened in Tenochitlan that were considered to be ill omens. All of these  were recorded in the ¨Florentine Codice¨.

There were eight events that caused great apprehension and fear throughout the empire.

First of all a shining light was seen in the sky to the east that seemed to be a comet with drops of fire falling from it, It could be seen at nightfall till dawn for several months.

 The second omen was when the temple of the god of war burst into flames and was reduced to ashes .

The third disaster came when lightning struck the temple of Tzommolco, a part of the Main Temple. It occured on a clear day  and the witnesses to it said strangely enough there was no accompaning thunder.

The fourth presage was fire that fell from the sky with a rattling sound. Shortly thereafter a fifth event occured when the water of the lake started boiling and it overflowed the banks damaging many houses.

The sixth omen came on several nights when the emperor could hear a womans voice coming from the lake as he stood on his terrace, crying out mournfully… saying: “ My children, my children, where have they been taken?”     Moctezuma sent out search parties but they found nothing. After the conquest this story was told many times and I believe it is the basis for the myth of the crying woman. A tale that is still prevalent and used to scare disobedient children with the threat that the crying woman will come for them if they misbehave.

The Weeping Woman

 

The seventh and strangest omen came when a group of fishermen caught a crane in their nets that had a shiny mirrorlike stone embedded in its head. It was presented to the King and when he looked at it he said he saw stars, the constellation of Taurus, groups of agitated men and men riding on deers. (note: there were no horses or draft animals in preColombian Mexico) . He looked away and called his astrologers but when he looked again the images had vanished

The eight omen it was said that deformed persons had been found wandering the streets a person with two heads was seen.

 

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Moctezuma asked his astrologers and prophets what all these things meant and they said it signified the end of the empire and the return of Quetzalcoatl. All of these things cast a shadow of depression and gloom upon the land.

 The year one cane (1519 A.D.) was fast approaching and the Emperor was sure that the plumed serpent would return.  The stage was set for disaster.

So we ask, Did Moctezuma see a vision and forecast of the Spanish coming??

 

THE RISE OF TENOCHITLAN

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The Rise of Tenochitlan

the plumed serpent

    the plumed serpent   

God of War

God of War

Tlaloc the rain god

Present day Mexico City sits atop the ruins of the Aztec Empire. The Spanish systematically destroyed many things such as the templesand buildings and used the stones to build their own Colonial Empire. The Aztecs had thousands of pictographic manuscripts recordind their history , customs, astronomy, medicine and other things all of which were burned by the Spanish priests because they looked demonic. Only 13 codices remain. Now archeologists and anthropologist struggle to piece this puzzle together as to what went on in the Aztec world.

About 1325 nomadic Aztecs left a place called Aztlan or the place of seven caves and arrived in the area of what we now know as Mexico City. At that time it was a huge lake with a small island in the center . The high priests saw an eagle with a snake in its mouth alight upon a cactus and decided this was a sign from the gods that they should settle there.
Within a hundred years they had built a society that dominated the Central Highlands all yhe way to Guatemala, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.
It was a society of Priest warriors who demanded tributes )taxes= from surrounding sedentary tribes.
An exception to this rule was the tiny Republic of Tlaxcala, a confederation of regions ruled by four kings who would meet to discuss important decisions.
They informed the Aztecs that they had never paid tributes to anyone before and they had no intention of ever doing so. This arrogance couldn´t be tolerated by the Aztec rulers and there was a continuous state of war, raids and skirmishes between them.
Although they were outnumbered by about 20 to 1 , the Tlaxcalans were fierce fighters and managed to hang on to their sovereignty.
Tenochitlan had a population of around 200,000 inhabitants. In spite of their warlike nature they developed culture, art, music, architecture and had a well organized society. They made great buildings and sculptures without the aid of metal tools, the wheel or draft animals.
But there was a sickness eating at the soul of this civilization, the sickness of human sacrifice and an oppressive government that subjigated its subjects many of whom were just waiting for a way to get out from under its heel.
The main deities that the Aztecs worshipped were Quetzalcoatl (The Plumed Serpent), Tlaloc (The Rain God), and Huitzilapochtli (God of War), and others, all of which had a great thirst that could only be quenched with blood About 10,000 people a year were sacrificed to these gods, and on special occasions even more.

And this was the situation just prior to the arrival of the Spanish.

THE CITY OF THE GODS

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The City of the Gods

Pyramid of the Sun

Pyramid of the Sun

About 30 miles  Northeast of Mexico City is Teotihuacan , Which means ¨The Place of the Gods¨. Now a major Archeological Zone and one of the best preserved in the Country. It began as an agricultural center around 200 B.C. . It reached it´s peak about  450 A.D. and it´s power reached as far south as Guatemala.  The City itself was one of the first urban cities, well planned and organized. It covered an area of 8 square miles, larger than even Imperial Rome.  It was a cultural trading center whose influence can be found in the architecture of other cities that sprang up about the same time, such as Cholula  and Cantona. Pyramid of the moon10 048            teotihuacan march 24, 2010 052   Somewhere around the year 600 A.D. it went into a decline and collapsed, we can only speculate as to the reason why… plagues, wars with wandering Nomadic Tribes, Internal Strife and rebellions, natural disasters such as droughts.  Archeologists suggest that one reason for it´s collapse was  deforestation of the area for miles around.  The city´s structures were all painted white  with  quicklime  whatwash which has a process of being burned, the amount of whitewash that had to be processed consumed huge amounts of wood  possibly causing an ecological disaster  maybe along with droughts and other phenomena . By the time the  nomadic Aztecs arrived, , around 1300 A.D.,  Teotihuacan had been long abandoned leaving the Aztecs to believe that only Gods could have built such a grandiose place.

 

Temple of the Plumed Serpent

Temple of the Plumed Serpent

Tlaloc the rain god

TLALOC The Rain God.

More photos here….

 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1442320975668.2062295.1162394476&type=1&l=329e9d1841

 

TIZATLAN…. A VILLAGE OF SURPRISES

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Xicohtencatl the younger

 Just a couple of kilometers from Tlaxcala is the village of Tizatlan. 1n the  late 1400’s to early 1500’s this was the Military Headquarters of the Tlaxcalan Army. They had a military training School there (sort of a PreColombian West Point). It was also the location of Senator Xicohtencatls Castle. Archeologists began excavating the ruins in 1927.

St. Stevens Church

 A visit to the Village will thrill you with an Archeological zone, an early Colonial Church & Open Chapel with 500 year old murals, the Church was built with stones taken from the old prehispanic castle. And around the area you will now find many woodcarving craftsmen, they carve many things but their specialty is walking canes.

open chapel murals

check out more photos here….

 

Cacaxtla Archeological Murals

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One of the Archeological Gems of Tlaxcala are the murals discovered on its pyramid that was discovered in 1975. They are amongst the clearest and realistc pre hispanic paintings ever found. Only about 10 percent of the area has been uncovered so hopefully more paintings will come to light.

Cacaxtla Archeological Zone

Cacaxtla Archeological Zone

The Red Room

The Red Room

corn stalk

corn stalk

stairway

stairway

Venus Room

Venus Room

Eagle Man

Eagle Man

Jaguar Man

Jaguar Man