Until the 16th century, the Aztecs ruled nearly all of Mexico for centuries. Therefore, there are a lot of well-preserved Aztec ruins in the country. The Aztecs were one of the most powerful civilizations in the Americas. They also indirectly ruled Guatemala and some other provinces in nearby areas as well. These well-preserved Aztec ruins show the extent of their architecture and engineering.
The most interesting thing about Teotihuacan is that it was a prominent location way before the Aztecs. For some reason, the original settlers left the city and the Aztecs found it abandoned in the early 15th century. It is a mystery who founded the city and who settled in it in the later centuries but one thing certain is that it served the Aztecs as a symbol of their might and power.
One of the most well-preserved Aztec ruins in the area is the Pyramid of the Sun, dedicated to the sun deity in Aztec religion. It is 71 meters tall and one of the largest structures in the region. The pyramid was there before the Aztecs but they repurposed it and used it as a place of worship and ritual. The fact that the pyramid was right in the center of the city convinced the Aztecs of its importance.
Historians and archeologists greatly value El Tajin because it is the perfect site where the transition to Aztec culture can be seen clearly. El Tajin is a series of Aztec ruins located in the state of Veracruz. For 600 years it was a busy city and one of the most important centers of the Americas for 300. The most important building on the site is the Pyramid of the Niches whose various carvings are its unique aspect.
The pyramid functioned as both a calendar and a ritualistic way to reach the underworld. Aside from the pyramid, the ruins of the site are numbered from 1 to 23. Not every building’s purpose is clear like some of them but historians state that some of the buildings are from the Aztecs. A sculpture inside one of the buildings represents a popular ball game among the Aztecs.
Calixtlahuaca is a peculiar site of Aztec ruins. Towards the end of the 15th century, the Aztecs defeated the city’s previous settlers. Unfortunately, the Aztecs burnt and destroyed many temples and buildings in the city. Therefore, many structures of the former civilization were lost. However, excavations in the 20th century revealed many artifacts that were highly important for understanding them.
The most preserved structure on the site is the dome-like, rounded pyramid. The pyramid was dedicated to the god of wind or the serpent god in Aztec mythology. The Aztecs believed that the serpent was the source of life and death. In order to appease him, the Aztecs would sacrifice humans in brutal ways.
An ancient temple that dates back to the 1500s, El Tepozteco was a shrine dedicated to the god of wine in Aztec religion. It is a hilltop temple with a challenging and tricky walk upwards. However, today, it is a popular tourist destination with vendors selling refreshments on the way. The temple has two stories and overlooks the town of Tepoztlan.
Furthermore, the temple was a popular site even in those times. Many groups who belonged to the Aztec state came to visit the temple and offer gifts or pray. The various glyphs telling the dates of important events are the temple’s main source of knowledge. Although the temple was abandoned after Hernan Cortes and his soldiers attacked the city, it withstood the test of time.