Whether you are in Mexico City for just a few days or a business traveller with just a couple of hours to sightsee between meetings, you don’t have to miss out on experiencing the magnificence of the city’s pre-Hispanic history. Here are my tips for visiting archaeological sites located right in the metropolis. Don’t forget to check out my corresponding video post and blog entry.
- No matter what time of year you visit, I suggest you bring a hat and sun cream when visiting the archaeological sites as most are outdoors and the sun is strong, even in winter.
- In most sites and museums, you will not be allowed to use flash photography. Check for signs in the entrance. Please adhere to the rules and help to preserve these treasures.
- Great article on what is buried beneath Mexico City here
- Check out my general tips for visiting museums in Mexico City here.
- Located at 146 Insurgentes Sur at Periferico, Tlalpan, D.F., 14030. Phone (55) 5606 9758
- Open 365 days a year. Visiting hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00.
- Free admission. There is a fee for filming with a videocamera.
- Services: Guided tours summer courses, student advisory, checkroom.
- The archaeological findings exhibited in the onsite museum show that the inhabitants of Cuicuilco worshiped Huehueteotl, God of Fire. Entry to the museum is also free.
- Take the Metrobus Line 1 (red) to either the Perisur or Villa Olimpica stop. The site is a 5 minute walk from either.
- For some interesting theories regarding giants and UFOs at the Cuicuilco site, see here.
- Wikipedia site on Cuicuilco here and further reading here.
- Below is a map of the site:
- Located at Eje Lazaro Cardenas Ave. and Flores Magon St., Nonoalco Tlatelolco, Mexico City. Take the olive-coloured Metro Line 3 to metro stop Tlatelolco.
- Free admission to the archaeological site Monday through Sunday, from 8:00 to 18:00.
- The site offers free Spanish and English guided tours, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 to 14:00.
- Site website available in English here.
- I wasn’t allowed to film in the church.
- Artefacts are on view at the Tecpan Museum, 630 Avenida Reforma Norte and Calle Flores Magon, Nonoalco Tlatelolco, Mexico City. Free admission.
- The guided tours of the Tecpan museum are carried out by prior appointment Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00, and can be arranged by calling 57-82-72-90 or 57-82-22-40 (Monday to Friday 8:00 to 17:00).
- You can also learn more about the history of Tlatelolco at the Tlatelolco museum in the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00. Entrance is $30 MXP and free on Sundays.
- Further reading on what you can see at the site here.
- Site Wikipedia page here.
- Located in Mexico City’s historical centre, the Templo Mayor is located on the east side of Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral at #8 Seminario street. Zocalo Metro station.
- Visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00. The $57 MXP fee includes the admission to the museum and the archaeological site.
- Children under 13, students, teachers and senior citizens presenting a valid ID do not pay.
- Free admission on Sunday.
- There is a fee for filming with a video camera.
- Services include: Temporary exhibitions, auditorium, library, guided tours, museum miniguide, audioguide, educational workshops, summer courses, bookstore, parking lot, wheelchair facilities, and cloakroom. Student advisory
- Website available in English here.
- If you don’t have time to visit the site, you may be able to peek through the railings from the street named “Justo Sierra” or get a bird’s eye view of the whole site from the terrace of the El Mayor restaurant at no. 17, Republica de Argentina.
- You need about 2-3 hours for this museum.
- I recommend you pass the ruins and go straight to the museum first. That way you will better appreciate what you are looking at when you visit the ruins on the way out.
- Check out the videos in the downstairs auditorium.
- Can easily be visited by anyone with a couple of hours to spare in the centre.
- Further reading on more recently found items here.
- Lonely Planet guide here.
- Extremely detailed Wikipedia page here.
- The friendly people outside who speak great English and seem passionate about their country’s history expect a tip for the information they give you. Politely say no if you are not prepared to pay.
- If you have some time having seen the Museo Templo Mayor, pop over to see the “Lord of Poison” in the Catedral Metropolitana, the largest cathedral in the Americas. This statue of Christ is said to have turned black after absorbing poison meant for a man, saving his life in the process. Look closely at the cathedral’s exterior walls as you leave and you will see where the Spanish used the very bricks of the Templo Mayor to build their own temple of Christian worship.
- Just across the road is the Palacio Nacional where you’ll find some fine examples of Diego Rivera’s murals.
Other archaeological sites in Mexico City
Taken from http://www.mexicocity-guide.com/archaeological_sites.htm
- Pino Suárez: Located inside the Pino Suárez metro station on pink Line 1 or blue Line 2, so look out for it if passing through. Discovered during construction of the subway system. Consists of a small circular altar which is believed to have been dedicated to Ehécatl, god of the Wind.
- San Pedro de los Pinos.- here you can find a pyramid with stone carvings and slopes. It is located in the area of San Pedro de los Pinos, to one side of the Periférico, half a block from San Antonio.
- Tenayuca.- this archeological site, which used to be the capital of the kingdom of the Acolhuas, a group that established before the Mexicas, houses a main pyramid surrounded by other smaller ones. It is located in the north of the city.
- Cerro de la Estrella (Hill of the Star).– located in the Iztapalapa district, on Cerro de la Estrella, it is a small auditorium in which diverse gatherings used to take place during the celebration of the Mexica New Year. The entrance can be found on Ermita Iztapalapa Avenue.