185 Zonas
Clave / IDNombreResumen ENDescripción ENSabías qué EN
CalixtlahuacaThe prosperous city of Matlazinca, between the Mexica empire and the Purépecha zone of influence. Conquered by the Mexicas in 1474, the remains date from this period. Notable for the rounded bases of the Temple of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, with its tzompantli (wall of skulls).Otomi, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Mazahua, Matlatzinca and Nahua groups settled in the Toluca Valley in pre-Hispanic times.

Olmec-influenced organized groups invaded in the Preclassic period (1000 BC to 150 AD). From 250 AD, the Teotihuacanos occupied the Toluca Valley and Calixtlahuaca, as well as other sites, owing to the diversity of resources they offered for subsistence. It was the Teotihuacanos who introduced customs and rites such as the Mesoamerican ballgame and the cult of Quetzalcóatl and Tláloc.

When Teotihuacan fell, there was a Toltec invasion of Calixtlahuaca. The Toltecs were then supplanted by the Matlatzincas, who called themselves the Nepinthathuhui (“those from the land of maize”). Their zenith lasted between 1116 and 1476.

Between 1472 to 1476, the Mexicas (together with Axayácatl and the Triple Alliance) conquered the Matlatzincas under the command of Moctezuma Xocoyotzin and imposed the payment of tribute, as shown in the Tribute Roll.

The Calixtlahuaca-San Marcos Archeological Monument Zone is distributed along a segment of Cerro Tenismó. Monuments 13, 14 and 15, which are not open to the public, are located on the hilltop. Monuments 5 and 6 (South and West monuments) stand halfway up the hillside. These form the group known as El Panteón ("The Cemetery"). Meanwhile, monuments 4 and 7, together with the tzompantli, make up the Tláloc group. Monuments 8, 9, 10 and 11 are not accessible to visitors. Finally, monuments 1 and 3 are located on the lower hillside, and groups 16 and 17 (Calmécac) are on the plain.

The building complexes located on the flank of Cerro Tenismó stand on terraces which were leveled out and then filled in and supported by thick retaining walls.

A tour of the monuments open to the public takes approximately two hours.
  • The site retains traces of the various groups that lived there, such as Otomi, Teotihuacanos, Toltecs, Mazahuas, Matlatzincas and Nahuas.
  • More than 50 petroglyphs have been found related to symbols of water, fire, wind, or referring to deities such as Ehécatl Quetzalcóatl.
Cañada de la VirgenThe seat of a religious and calendar-based domain for agricultural systems and trade routes. Its principal constructions were designed as observatories, such as the House of the Thirteen Skies and the House of the Longest Night, which relates to the winter solstice.This ceremonial settlement has a Hñahñu (Otomí) origin and was occupied between the years 540 and 1050 AD (Epiclassic period).The ancient inhabitants built it based on observation of the Sun’s route, in such a way that its temples are symmetrically aligned with the stars, a characteristic which makes this city unique among Mesoamerican ceremonial centers.

Cañada de la Virgen is located in the basin of the Laja River, which is surrounded by mountains. The site is comprised of five monumental complexes distributed over an area of 40 acres. There is an axis of symmetry in the buildings oriented towards the sunrises of April 17 and August 25, as well as the sunsets of March 4 and October 9.

The axis of symmetry of complex A has an azimuthal orientation (the angle formed with the meridian by the vertical circle which passes through a point of the celestial sphere or the earth) of 80 astronomical degrees. Meanwhile, at the winter solstice, the Sun can be seen to hide behind the pyramidal base of complex B.

Additionally, the lunar cycle is considered to have played an important role in the design of the pyramidal base of complex A. Here, the Red Temple is found, where burial 13 was located, also known as El Jerarca ("The Leader"), as it presumably belonged to the original ancestor of the governing lineage at Cañada de la Virgen. Controversial carbon analysis estimated that this figure was buried between the years 640 and 720 AD.

So far, 19 burials have been found, accompanied by their corresponding offerings of ceramic pots in the regional style of raised white and red on yellowish white. The ceramic collection is comprised of 248 pieces of which more than 70% have been restored. Within the area another three collections are also under protection, having been reintegrated into the site's heritage: the Mary Gastón, the Arnulfo López and the historic Miguel Malo collection, which comprises approximately 1,400 pieces.
  • Unlike other pre-Hispanic cities like Teotihuacan, Palenque or Xochicalco, where the Sun rises behind the pyramid, in Cañada de la Virgen, it appears opposite it.
  • The location of the Casa de la Noche más Larga ("House of the Longest Night") is related to the winter solstice, when the longest night occurs as a result of the annual movement of the Sun towards the south.
CantonaA vast fortified pre-Hispanic city which controlled the trade route between the high central plateau and the Gulf of Mexico. Everything about it is extraordinary: the acropolis, the plazas, districts, approximately 4,000 interconnected streets and numerous ballcourts. Its skilled craftsmen worked obsidian.Although this ancient metropolis stands upon a malpaís (an arid lava field with an uneven surface), its population inhabited it in residential units surrounded by periphery walls. We have found at least 2,700 residential units in the southern part (the most closely studied), and calculate that it had approximately 7,500 at its time of greatest occupation, when just over 90,000 people lived here. The presence of 27 or more Mesoamerican ballgame courts gave it unusual significance. Its cultural height came between 350 BC and 550 AD. After 600 AD, its population grew significantly, and in this time (until 900 AD) it was the largest and most important city on the Central Mexican Plateau.

The inhabitants of Cantona traded in artifacts made of obsidian which they obtained from the Oyameles-Zaragoza deposits a mere six miles northeast of the city. The state controlled production to ensure the exchange of goods and products required. In one area, we have found just over 350 official workshops.

Cantona is not mentioned in the historical sources, as it was abandoned approximately 500 years before the Spanish colonists arrived. Today, the southern part of the city has been explored and restored. This covers a large portion of the main civic and religious center, some streets, closed plazas with pyramids and six ballcourts, as well as residential units for both the elite and general population. Especially worth visiting are the Eastern Plaza or Mirador Pyramid, from which a large part of the south of the city can be seen, as are the state workshops, the Ballcourt 7 Complex and neighboring architectural complexes, as well as the Ballcourt 5 Complex, from which we can see the western side of the Acropolis. It is also recommended to visit the residential units surrounded by periphery walls, to examine the plinths upon which the houses were built and the comfort in which their inhabitants lived.
  • The city was connected by a system of thoroughfares: causeways, roads, private thoroughfares and corridors.
  • It traded in obsidian to the south and southeast of Mexico from at least 700 BC to approximately 900 AD.
  • It is home to the largest number of ballcourts of any pre-Hispanic city found to date, with 27.
Caracol - Punta SurIn the main ecological reserve of the island of Cozumel, off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, there is a temple whose roof ends in the shape of a shell, decorated with four rows of shells stuck into the stucco. This unique decoration makes it worth a visit.
Castillo de TeayoAn ancient Huasteca town, one of the most important sites on the Gulf of Mexico, its material remains show the influence of the Maya, Toltec and Mexica cultures, at different stages over the years. It has a magnificent pyramid topped by a temple.
CempoalaA powerful Totonaca capital, dominated a great part of present day Veracruz and the north of the state of Puebla. Temples, palaces, squares and fortifications testify to its importance as a political and religious center. As part of the Mexica dominion, it allied with Hernán Cortés in order to defeat Moctezuma.
Cerro de la EstrellaInhabited since earliest times, it gained importance because this was where they held the ceremony of the New Fire, believed to prevent the death of the Sun. It was celebrated every 52 years and took place in 1351, 1403, 1455 and 1507. The fall of Tenochtitlan prevented the celebration of the 5th event.
Cerro de Las VentanasThe abrupt Juchipila Canyon was occupied by Caxcanes, a group who spoke Nahuatl and confronted the Spaniards. The best known structure is the Casa Acantilado (cliff house), situated in a rocky shelter of a precipice, which is mentioned in 16th century sources.
Cerro de TrincherasTwelve centuries ago, a mountain enabled a thousand farmers, craftsmen and leaders to establish a city in the Sonora desert. They levelled out more than 900 hillside terraces, raised walls of river stones, built a plaza on the peak and marked out a shell form. Its traces still remain.The American continent’s first settlers arrived to the modern-day territory of Sonora 13,000 years ago. When the Sonora desert formed 10,000 years ago, these hunters and gatherers adapted to its conditions and enriched their diet with the desert plants. The region’s natural richness allowed this archaic way of life to endure for several millennia.

Approximately 3,500 years ago, the settlers learned how to cultivate maize and used canals for irrigation. The care required for farming led to the emergence of the first permanent settlements or villages. These had common cultural characteristics such as the production of purple-on-red pottery, the construction of walls or “pens” on the peak of some hills and building terraces or “trenches” on the hillsides. As a result, these villages are known as belonging to the “Trenchiras” tradition.

Seven hundred years ago, the site became the governing center of the farming villages scattered around the valleys of the Magdalena, Altar and Concepción rivers. It was home to a population of more than 1,000 inhabitants from 1300 to 1450. When controlling the valleys from this town became impossible, the communities went back to living in isolated villages.

In this pre-Hispanic settlement, stone-walled terraces were built. They were used to build houses and shelters by the ancient inhabitants, where they carried out all of their daily activities. They also had areas dedicated to certain activities. Some were used for public or communal ceremonies and others for private rituals, exclusively for certain groups or the head family.
  • The name of this settlement is attributed to Captain Mateo Manje, who accompanied Father Francisco Kino to the Magdalena valley. Upon seeing the terraces, the soldier observed that they looked like military trenches.
Cerro la Campana (Huijazoo)An ancient Zapotec city containing the Huijazoo Tomb 5, with a plethora of symbols and beautiful decoration, considered one of the finest examples of funerary art in ancient Mexico. It flourished between the years 300 and 800 AD and left a great number of religious buildings.
ChacchobénThe most notable Maya city in the lake zone of present-day Quintana Roo. The early settlements of 300 AD gave way to imposing constructions visible to this day, indicating a second occupation, in the 17th century. A great number of ‘portrait’ incense burners were salvaged from the peak.

The urban footprint evident from the buildings was established around 250 AD. The full area of the town was 173 acres, and it was populated and active for five centuries. Temples, civic and ceremonial buildings, dwellings and stelae display a mixture of Petén, Rio Bec and Chenes styles.

The Acropolis was the most important building of Chacchoben with a semi-square base measuring 374 by 354 feet with a height of between 26 and 43 feet. On the upper part there are five square plinths and two pyramids.

Building 1 has sides measuring ten feet with a height of 65 feet. It faces to the west and was built in three stages from the Early Classic to the Late Postclassic. It consists of six stepped sections, with a 36 foot wide central stairway and a platform which surrounds the base of the building.

Building 2 is a 26-foot-wide rectangular construction with three stepped sections, a 16-foot staircase flanked by low walls and a small temple with a rectangular floor plan and a low altar.

The Templo Adosado ("Attached Temple") and Las Vías ("The Roads") complex are other important buildings at Chacchoben. The Attached Temple is built onto a square platform with sides measuring 36 feet, on an east-west axis. The facade faces west and access is via a staircase with nine steps. The Temple has a door on each of the four walls. The east wall was closed up after construction while the north and south are not used for accessing the building. The Las Vías complex has three tiers of low stonework platforms, which are built parallel to each other.

The enormous collection of incense holder fragments from this site is a token of its regional importance, and even after virtual abandonment, between 1200 and 1450 it rose again as a center of worship and pilgrimage.

The INAH began its investigation of the site in 1994 and since then the Gran Basamento ("Great Plinth"), the Las Vías complex and Group II, which contains the tallest building of the site, have been conserved and consolidated. The buildings that have been investigated to date are very similar in style to sites in Guatemala and northern Belize. The architectural style is known as Petén style and is mainly characterized by the presence of rounded corners and recessed panels, wall surfaces with plinths, grooves and sloped aprons, sometimes with ornamental stucco figures in the shape of masks placed directly on top of the stone cladding, and flanking stairways which date to earlier periods.

  • It was established 2,300 years ago as a collection of small villages on lakeshores in the south of present-day Quintana Roo.
  • The area of the town covered 173 acres and people occupied the site over a period of 500 years.
  • A huge number of incense burners have been found from the final period of occupation.
ChacmultúnIn Chacmultún, the stone slabs contain microorganisms, which exposed to air and water have acquired a reddish hue. This colors the Mayan temples, built in the exquisite Puuc style, worked to look like filigree. It flourished between 800 and 1000 AD and was the main link between the neighboring cities.
ChakanbakánA large prosperous Maya city, inhabited since 300 BC, with imposing plazas and monuments, one of which displays masks of a god in the shape of a jaguar, plus some surprising sculptures reminiscent of the Olmecas.
ChalcatzingoAn imposing city with a long history before our era, it rises from the Altiplano (high plateau), with outstanding reliefs, clearly influenced by the Olmecs from the distant Gulf coast. The buildings display a strength that has outlived the centuries.Chalcatzingo lies in a truly extraordinary natural setting in the east of the state of Morelos, as the pre-Hispanic site was settled on the slopes of two rocky massifs known as Cerro Delgado and Cerro Ancho (or Chalcatzingo) overlooking the valley below. As the renowned anthropologist Carlos Barreto Mark wrote, this valley was occupied by the 14 tribes of the Tlalnahua before the arrival of the Spanish.

It is considered one of the most significant archeological zones on the Central Mexican Plateau, as its cultural relics are closely linked to interaction with the Olmec culture between the Gulf coast and the center of Mexico. The iconographic features of the Olmecs preserved at Chalcatzingo show the high level of social, political, commercial, artistic and religious development achieved by that culture during the Middle Preclassic.

Human occupation of Chalcatzingo began in prehistoric times, as shown by cave paintings dating back to 3,000 BC in the rocky shelters of Cerro Delgado, and continued until colonial settlement of the current town of the same name. This indicates continual habitation of the space around the hills by innumerable human groups of diverse ideologies and even ethnicity, who have occupied this place for 5,000 years, always making it their home and hub of their society, although it is important to note that its apogee came in the Preclassic period.

To summarize, Chalcatzingo was a very important civic-ceremonial center in the east of the Valley of Morelos during the Middle Preclassic period (1200-400 BC). The decision of its ancient inhabitants to build a pre-Hispanic city at the feet of Cerro Delgado and Cerro Ancho arose from a symbolism they ascribed to the rocky massifs as sacred mountains within the Mesoamerican worldview. It is therefore likely that this was the deciding factor in considering it a suitable place to settle.
  • Different periods of occupation converge in the architectural complex of Chalcatzingo, from a Preclassic platform to an almost circular building belonging to the Early Postclassic.
Chiapa de CorzoIn the remote past this was an agricultural village on the banks of the river Grijalva and it became the most important ceremonial center of the Mixe-Zoque people. Its terraces, plazas and constructions, as well as the multitude of tombs with offerings and the ornamentation of the temples decorated with fine limestone, show its importance.Chiapa de Corzo was one of the main pre-Hispanic settlements of the Chiapas Central Depression. Its location on the right side of the River Grijalva, on fertile alluvial terraces and at a crossing of important roads, allowed it to prosper and control trade from the Gulf coast to the Chiapas highlands.

The first occupation of the site was around 1250 BC, when it was a farming village, but it grew until it became of the the largest settlements of the Zoque region, and a focal point of the cultural and economic subregion. In its heyday, at the start of the Common Era, the main buildings were made from well-cut stone with red painted stucco-covered facades. The inhabitants established commercial networks with central Mexico, the Gulf coast and the Guatemalan Petén, as evidenced by the raw materials and objects which came from these areas.

After the year 400 AD it lost importance when it was subjugated by the Mayan and Zapotec centers which closed the trading networks. The site was completely abandoned 250 years later and around 900 AD it was occupied once again by the Chiapanecs, a group  who arrived from somewhere to the south of the territory of Mesoamerica, speaking a language unrelated to Maya or Zoque, and who lived there until well into the colonial period.

The Chiapanecs made the most of the strategic location of Chiapa de Corzo to found their political capital, called Nandalumí or Napiniaca, very close to the remains of the previous culture, and when the Spanish arrived this was the largest and most important settlement in the region. Today what remains of the Zoque and Chiapanec structures are among the foundations of colonial and modern buildings.

At its peak, the center of the ancient Zoque settlement of Chiapa de Corzo had more than 200 buildings including temples, platforms and houses which were arranged around plazas and patios. Zoque buildings were erected on platforms, which had a general T-shaped plan, and were decorated with moldings which gave the bases a particular profile, known as “cabin profile.” The principal façades of the platforms have wide stairways with double balustrades, a Zoque architectural feature very typical of the place.

Between the structures which may be visited today are those which make up the most ancient and important part of Chiapa de Corzo, Buildings 1, 5, 7 and 32, where the Zoque carried out ritual and administrative activities.

Of these 1 and 7 functioned as temples with several rooms and porticoed entrances. Building 1 had an additional function, as the burial place of priests and governors, whose tombs included substantial offerings. It is thought that Building 5 could have been the governor’s house because of its numerous rooms.

Building 32 is a temple with architecture typical of Chiapa de Corzo. It is located on the northern edge of the site’s core area, which today is next to a road junction of the Chiapa de Corzo northern bypass and the Panamerican Highway, or Federal Highway 92.

Mounds 11 and 12, which are not open to the public, are, together with Mound 13 and Building 7, the most ancient parts of the monument zone of Chiapa de Corzo. Some researchers propose that these two mounds form part of a building group dedicated to astronomy, since its configuration is very similar to the so-called E Complex of the Maya: two buildings from which solar measurements were undertaken.

The significance of this complex at Chiapa de Corzo is demonstrated by the burials and the set of artifacts recently discovered there. For example, rich offerings and burials of elite personages were found there between 2008 and 2010. Among the offerings found inside and at the foot of these mounds were groups of axes and fine Olmec-style ceramics, which are evidence of contact with peoples from the Gulf coast. The most important burial was inside Mound 11 where one of the place’s first governors was buried between 700 and 500 BC, accompanied by a lower-ranking boy and a woman. The personal adornment of this governor included more than 1,000 pieces of jade.
  • The pottery finds here lead experts to believe that this site had close ties with many different communities from the coasts of Chiapas and Guatemala.
  • In the Preclassic period, ceramics often resembled large "tecomates" (vessels made from gourds and calabashes), spherical in form with a narrow mouth, with incised decorations.
  • Flat-bottomed pots and straight and sloping walls were also commonly used.
  • Vessels were found from Usulután in El Salvador and from Guatemala.


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