During the 14th century, the Temple of el Conde was a symbol of the power of the Mexica in the Naucalpan region and the defeat of once mighty city-states like Tlatilco, Nopala, and Occipaco.
Rather than referring to a Conde (Count in Spanish), the temple is named after Manuel Conde, the proprietor of the Hacienda de Echegaray, who documented and explored its ruins in the first decade of the 20th century.
15th-century sources suggest that El Conde would have followed a design similar to that of the Palace of Nezahualcóyotl.
Nezahualcóyotl was the tlatoani (ruler) of the city-state of Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico from 1428 to 1472. He was a poet, philosopher, architect, and military leader considered one of the most important figures in pre-Hispanic Mexican history.
The Temple of el Conde is believed to have reached the zenith of its splendor in the 14th Century under the reign of the Tlatoani Tezozóoc. However, archaeological evidence suggests that an earlier structure likely sat in the same spot several hundred years before.
El Conde would have been one of the largest structures of a sprawling ceremonial center, but now it is completely surrounded by contemporary homes and businesses, making archaeological finds in the area difficult.
Only the main platform of the Temple of El Conde survives today and features a wide staircase, as well as evidence of several rooms, chambers, and possibly even a kitchen or temazcal.
Archaeological research suggests that like several other elite complexes in the region, El Conde would have aqueducts deliver water from a large reservoir within what today is Mexico City’s famous Bosque de Chapultepec Park.
These days El Conde is open to visitors, though few ever visit. The one exception is during the spring equinox when hundreds gather at the site to commemorate the celestial event.
Walking around the temple it is possible to make out a handful of carvings and even find traces of red stucco on the ground, which would have covered the vast majority of the structure.
If you go
Getting to El Conde from anywhere in Mexico is straightforward, though the best option is to take a ride-sharing service, preferably during the weekend, when traffic is the lightest.
El Conde is also relatively close to several other attractions in Mexico City, including the National Museum of History and Anthropology, which is worth a visit for any archaeology buff.