Amazing Sights at Angkor In Cambodia
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Angkor is a UNESCO protected city and the largest archaeological sites in South East Asia stretching in an area of 400 km. It is a destination which has the remains of the Khmer regime and the parks, temples and hydraulic structures mesmerize you with its sheer grandeur and splendour. Every year millions tourist cross flock to this amazing fairy tale land and enter Angkor Wat, the largest religious  [...]

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Templo Mayor: A Classic Temple

Posted on November 19, 2010 | Historic DestinationNo Comment



Templo Mayor or Great Temple is a temple belonging to Aztec times. It was discovered recently in the heart of present-day Mexico City. It was constructed in the fourteenth century to honor the Aztec gods of war and water.

According to sources belonging to the Aztec era, the current spot was chosen for the temple’s construction because an eagle was perched on top of a cactus plant. It was seen devouring a snake. This was seen as fulfillment of a prophecy.

Templo Mayor’s construction began in 1325 AD. During the next two centuries, the temple was expanded. During the Spanish Conquest of 1521, the structure became a focal point for the religious lives of nearly 300,000 individuals.

The Spaniards destroyed the Templo Mayor completely during their conquest of Tenochtitlan. The site seemed to have been lost permanently till the discovery of an Aztec carving in 1978 in the heart of Mexico City. This precipitated more extensive excavations. These excavations unraveled Templo Mayor’s ruins.

Templo Mayor consists of a mammoth pyramid of stone. The staircases of the temple are fairly wide. It resembles most temples built in Mexico. The summit of Templo Mayor is home to twin temples, which were dedicated to the god of war (Huitzilopochtli) and god of rain (Tlaloc).

Human sacrifices were rampant to appease these gods. A high altar on the pyramid was the site of these sacrifices. The victim, in all probability, must have been placed over a block of volcanic stone. An obsidian knife could have been used to kill the individual. The body then was made to tumble down the staircase.

The pyramid’s lower platform comprised of a carved stone, round in shape. Presently, it is part of the museum. It is believed to represent the severed limbs of Goddess Coyolxauhqui, who was the Goddess of the Moon for the Aztecs. Based on myths of the Aztec era, her brother Huitzilopochtli killed her because she murdered their own mother. The nights were ruled by the goddess. However, at every sunrise the sun god destroyed her.

The foot of the primary staircase has been guarded by two, snake heads. They appear at other places in the temple. Templo Mayor served as Coatepec’s symbolic re-creation: ‘Hill of the Serpent’. This was considered to be a sacred and mythical place. The Aztecs called the Templo Mayor ‘Coatepec’.

The majority of artifacts belonging to Templo Mayor have a display in the site museum, which lies adjacent to the temple. The museum is a wonderful illustration of the variety and magnificence of the Aztec Empire. Nearly 6000 artifacts were excavated from a tiny plot located in the front portion of the museum.

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