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Broadly speaking, the Templo Mayor was the largest and most important building. In the last stage, dating to the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, the pyramidal platform was composed of four sloped tiers with a passage between each level, built on a great platform that measured approximately 80 x 100 meters. It had two stairways of access to the top, where there were two shrines or chapels dedicated to Tlaloc, the god of water on the left side (as you face the structure), and to Huitzilopochtli, god of war, on the right side. Each stairway was topped by what are called balustrades, referring to the cube-shaped terminations flanking the stairs while serpent heads were found at the base. The two temples, located at approximately 30 meters in height, had a specific decoration and the entire building was originally covered with stucco and polychrome paint. Construction of the Templo Mayor began in the year designated 2-Rabbit (1390) and it was re-built seven times and enlarged eleven times. The Templo Mayor was a symbolic representation of the Hill of Coatepec, where according to Mexica myth, Huitzilopochtli was born.
Last Modified: January 14, 1998.
Museo del Templo Mayor, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e História, México.
Seminario #8, Centro Histórico. Cuauhtémoc, México, D.F. 06060
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