Mexico City will give you many reasons to visit, and archaeology is one of the main ones. The city combines a metropolis that will give you some of the most modern installations in the continent and amazing historical places that are rarely matched. If you are a history buff you will have a great time admiring the sites throughout the city, but you can go back into the past even longer and see places that the Aztecs in the area called home. You can also take day trips and be amazed by the ruins that are found close by. Here are some of the most impressive places to check out if you want to witness history in Mexico City and its surroundings.
Museo De Antropologia
The Museo de Antropologia is unlike anything you have ever seen. There are artifacts from different civilizations that lived in Mexico and in other places in Latin America. Before you take a look at other actual sites it is a good idea to start here so that you can get a better idea of what you will see everywhere else. No other museum in the world has even close to the number of artifacts that this museum does, and some you will recognize right away/
At the Museo de Antropologia you will be able to admire the famous Aztec Stone of the Sun which is the most famous Aztec artifact known. You will also gigantic Olmec civilization stone heads that were once hidden in the states of Veracruz and Tabasco as well as Mayan treasures and other important finds from all over the country. To see the entire museum you will need a minimum of 4 hours but much longer if you actually pay attention to the things that you are looking at.
Templo Mayor is a very exciting archaeological site as it is right in the middle of the city next to the Cathedral in the Zocalo Plaza. The site was discovered in 1978 when a team of workers was setting up electricity cables in the area. While the site no longer has the big pyramids that you would see at other locations, you can get an idea of what it looked like a long time ago. There is a museum right at the site to help you understand the site and the civilization that lived in Tenochtitlan.
Templo Mayor was the center of the religious life of the Aztecs in the area and that means that it is one of the most important discoveries in recent times. There is a total of 14 buildings in the site with the Templo Mayor one being the largest. The site is not nearly as big as other more famous ones, but it is easily the most accessible in the city.
TlatelolcoCredit: W Fonseca
Tlatelolco is also in Mexico City and it is a bit bigger than Templo Mayor. The site does not get as many visitors, which means that you will not have to deal with crowds. You should not think of the lack of visitors as a sign that this site is not impressive or important; in fact it was the site of the last battle between the Mexicas Aztecs and the Spaniards led by Hernan Cortez. The site was larger than what you see today, but unfortunately some of it was not saved (not due to lack of trying). The church of Santiago next to the ruins was actually built of rocks from the site.
The Tlatelolco site is one that some people feel that there is negativity energy due to the amounts of deaths in the site. The massacred tribe was one of those events, but this was also the site of the massacre of 1968 where government troops killed several hundred demonstrators. In 1985 an earthquake also brought down one of the buildings in the area killing close to 300 people.
Cuicuilco is in the south of Mexico City, and while pyramid in the complex is taller than any found in Templo Mayor and Tlatelolco is not as frequented because the Metro Rail System does not get there. It is possible to get to Cuicuilco via Metro Bus by heading to Perisur and walking the equivalent of 3-4 blocks. Cuicuilco in thought of as one of the oldest cities in the area and it is believed that the inhabitants were related to the Olmec culture to the east of the country. The pyramid is the main attraction as it is different in that it is a circular structure. There are 7 other structures in Cuicuilco and a museum.
The city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption which covered some areas with 10 meters (32ft.) of lava, some of which is visible when you walk around the site.
Metro Pino SuarezCredit: W Fonseca
You would not think of a metro station as an archaeological site, but while the station was being constructed a small altar was discovered. The discovery is now in display in the middle of the station and most people who walk by it are so used to it that they ignore it. The altar was made for the Aztec god Ehecatl who is a wind deity.
Teotihuacan is not in Mexico City, but close enough that visitors should head north to see it. Teotihuacan is the major site of the area and it will take you an entire day to see it. The site features the pyramids of the sun and the moon and several other smaller structures. There is a museum at Teotihuacan so make sure that you do not miss it. There is no doubt that this is one of the most important (if not the most important) archaeological site in the country. The trip to Teotihuacan takes less than an hour and you can leave from the Autobuses del Norte station in the city.
Cholula is in the state of Puebla a couple of hours from Mexico City. This is another fascinating site worth visiting as it has the largest man-made (by volume) monument in the world. When the Spaniards invaded Mexico they built a Catholic church on top of the pyramid which means that the site is still used for religious purposes. Because of that the Great Pyramid of Cholula is the oldest building in North America which is continuously occupied and the largest pyramid in the world.