Santa Cecilia Pyramid in Tenayuca, Mexico City. Copyright 2012 Miguel Omaña.

Santa Cecilia Acatitlan Pyramid

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

This temple is one of the best surviving examples of late Mexica Aztec architecture. Bear in mind all things during the arrival of the Hispanics was leveled down or destroyed. But this temple survived.

This building is a blueprint of what other temples looked like in Mexica Aztec times.

Though small, it was after all a temple of a very small town. And yet it is a remarkable building from which to gather an idea of what buildings might have looked like during those times. All followed the same pattern — temple in the top, steep raised walls with almost no inclination, the form of the stairs as shown, and the stylized way the top temple roof was. This is serves as a blueprint for all tall buildings and temples in Mexica Aztec times, politically known as the Triple Alliance instead of Aztec Empire (as commonly referred to).

Locatec in northern Mexico City metro area.

It is located in Santa Cecilia Acatitlan, once a town it is now a neighborhood within the Tenayuca town, in Tlalnepantla municipality. This temple is in northern Mexico City metro area, an urban sprawl surrounded by many (and I literally mean many) municipalities, towns, and small cities. A few minute driving time is located Tenayuca, which houses older pyramids than this one.

One way of visiting it is by commuting train.

Santa Cecilia Pyramid is used as a symbol for the commuting train station. The train (locally known as Tren Suburbano) connects Mexico City’s downtown with its vicinity north of the city. So, if you’re ever in this train, try and hop down in Tlalnepantla station signalled by its symbol, the pyramid.


Note: The word pyramid is used, however the correct term is temple, teocalli, or its equivalent in another native language. It is not a pyramid, those are in Egypt.


Santa Cecilia Pyramid in Tenayuca, Mexico City. Copyright 2012 Miguel Omaña. Santa Cecilia Pyramid in Tenayuca, Mexico City. Copyright 2012 Miguel Omaña.

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