Home > Central America > Mexico > Mexico City > North Of The Center > North Of The Center Activities > Tlatelolco Ruins
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Mexico

Tlatelolco Ruins - Ruin Mexico City - Mexico

The city of Tlatelolco was around years before the founding of its more famous neighbor, Tenochtitlán. The two cities shared one of the largest islands on Lake Texcoco, the site of modern Mexico City. The two governments were allies until 1473, at which point the Aztecs started getting concerned about Tlatelolco's increasing commercial power and swiftly annexed the city. Despite the takeover, the city continued to flourish as the biggest and most important market in the empire and considerably impressed a glittery-eyed Hernán Cortés when he arrived with his Spanish troops. Historians claim that up to 60,000 buyers and sellers converged on the Tlatelolco market during the main trading days, transporting their wares across the lake in a frenzy of canoe traffic jams.

The indigenous rule of the city came to end on August 13, 1521, when the beleaguered Aztec warriors took their last stand at Tlatelolco under the banner of Cuauhtémoc, nephew of Moctezuma. Around 40,000 Indians are said to have died before the city fell to the Spanish, who then burned it to the ground. A plaque at the site commemorates this turning point: "Heroically defended by Cuauhtémoc, Tlatelolco fell to the power of Hernan Cortés. It was neither triumph nor defeat, but the painful birth of the mestizo people that make up the Mexico of today."

Before the raping and pillaging of the Spanish conquest, Tlatelolco was home to not only the huge commercial market, but also an enormous temple dedicated to Huitzilipochtli, the Aztec war god, as well as shrines dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god.

Nowadays however, the main temple is just a shadow of what it would have been pre-conquest. At the peak of Aztec-rule the temple had been added to eleven times. Now, all that remains is the second stage, but it's still possible to appreciate the heights it would have reached from the foundations- higher than both the temple at Tenochtitlan and the present-day Iglesia de Santiago that was built on the ruins of Huitzilipochtli's shrine.

Tzomplantli, the rack of skulls in the main temple, provided scholars with information on Aztec style temple design trends in the form of nearly 200 skulls of sacrificial victims with holes through their foreheads - Spanish soldier Bernal DĂ­az claimed in his memoirs to have seen nearly 60,000 skulls.

Signs in English and Spanish give information on each of the ruins.

Eje Central with Eje Uno Norte, Mexico City
North Of The Center, Mexico City, Mexico

Ruin Types:

Getting There
To get there, take the Metro to Garibaldi (the ruins are about a 10 minute walk up Lázaro Cárdenas).

Relative price: Free

Open Hours from:9 a.m.

Open Hours to:5 p.m.

Days Closed:none

Travel Skills: None

Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Church next to the Ruins, Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Plaza Garibaldi

Here are other activities in and around North Of The Center that may be of interest: Piramide de Tenayuca,

03 Jan 2009

Top Places to go in Latin America - as rated by V!VA Members
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password