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Cuernavaca is known as a popular weekend getaway destination for residents of México City.
But aside from its charming plaza and historic downtown, the city is home to the remarkable archaeological site of Teopanzolco.
Meaning “the place of ancient temples” in the Nahuatl language, Teopanzolco was a major urban area during the late Classic and early Postclassic periods.
However, evidence of human habitation and far more ancient structures have been excavated in the area, dating to roughly 2000 BCE.
The city of Teopanzolco features tributes and iconography making reference to several Mexica deities, including the god of rain, Tláloc; Tezcatlipoca, the god of night; and Ehécatl, the god of the winds.
But first and foremost in this ancient city was the cult of Huitzilopochtli, the famed god of war, also known as “the lefthanded hummingbird,” to which the largest pyramid at the site is dedicated.
In its layout and architecture, Teopanzolco resembles other cities or ceremonial centers of the same area, including Acozac near Nezahualcóyotl.
This, of course, makes a lot of sense when we consider that the fashion of the day was to emulate the style of construction at the already ancient and mysterious city of Teotihuacán.
Despite the beauty of Teopanzolco, it is important to keep in mind that the structures found within the archaeological site are but a tiny fraction of what would have been visible during antiquity.
Moctezuma Ilhuicamina, the Fifth Tlatoani or Great Chief of the Mexica, conquered Teopanzolco, turning it into a vassal state before fully incorporating it into the Aztec Empire.
If you go
If in Cuernavaca, the easiest way to get to Teopanzolco is to simply hail a cab or a ride-sharing service, though public transit is available.
From México City, Teopanzolco makes for a great stop when visiting other archaeological sites in Morelos, especially the magnificent Xochicalco.
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.