Aztec Temples

One thing which the Aztecs are well known for is their architecture. They are particularly known for their Aztec temples, which would have the shape of a pyramid. The thing which makes Aztec pyramids distinct from those found in Egypt is that Aztec pyramids almost always come with steps. With the Aztec pyramid, you can walk from the bottom to the top from the outside via the steps, where Egyptian pyramids require you to actually enter the structure from below. Architecturally, the Aztecs were highly advanced, and their temples rivaled those of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

To give you an idea of how impressive the Aztec temples are, Hernan Cortes, the conqueror of the Aztec empire, said that Tenochtitlan, the capital city, was one of the most beautiful cities he had ever seen. The capital city was a planned community, and it was laid out in a grid which was split into avenues and split within five quarters. These five quarters represented the five directions that were known to the Aztecs, and these were the east, west, north, south, and center. A temple would always be constructed on one of the directions. Many of the Aztec temples were replaced by Spanish churches after they conquered the country in 1521.

The Huitzilopochtli Temple in Tehnochtitlan

While the Aztec cities had many temples, there was one temple which was more important than the rest, and this was the Huitzilopochtli Temple, which was the largest structure in the city. It should also be noted that the sacred site of the city could also be found here. A number of maps show the layout of Tehnochtitlan, and one of the most prominent is the codex mendoza. On the map, the five important directions will be symbolized by a group of triangles that are placed in positions around an eagle which is sitting on a cactus. These maps also tell us a lot about the religious beliefs that the Aztecs held.

Like the Egyptians, the pyramids was sacred to the Aztecs. The Aztec myths reveal that they were told by Huitzilopochtli that they were suppposed to build a temple on the site where they saw an eagle resting on a cactus, and it was at this location that the temple was dedicated. It should be noted that this architectural masterpiece was a twin temple. The temple could be found in the center of the city, and it should also be noted that though the Aztecs built pyramids like the Egyptians, their purpose of building them was a bit different.

The Egyptian pyramids were almost always erected as a tomb, a memorial for the Egyptian nobility who died. But Aztec temples were not largely used for this purpose, they were mostly used as sites where human sacrifices could be carried out. In the infamous sacrifice, the victim would be taken to the top of the pyramid, where his heart would be removed, and the body would often be thrown down the steps.