• INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
    INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
  • INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
    INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
  • INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
    INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
  • INAH/Melitón Tapia
    INAH/Melitón Tapia
  • INAH - DMC / Mauricio Marat
    INAH - DMC / Mauricio Marat
  • INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
    INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Tlatelolco
The place of the sand mound
A former center of government, Tlatelolco was a twin to Tenochtitlan, a friend and a foe, a companion in trade, construction, power, and religion; both were totally eclipsed following the Spanish Conquest. Many impressive remains are on view in their original location and in the site museum.
About the site

The Mexica city of Tlatelolco was founded in around 1338, according to the chronicles, following a separation between the Tenochca group, who remained in Tenochtitlan, and the Tlatelolca group who sought a place to settle further north. It enjoyed independence until 1473, when it ceased waging wars against the Mexica and instead came to depend on them. Its vast marketplace became the trading hub for both islands—now joined on friendly terms—as well as for the Triple Alliance, a strategic partnership that consisted of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan (Tacuba).

In contrast to the four districts of its neighbors, Tlatelolco was divided into 19 areas (including the formidable Tepiton), and these bore evidence of the city’s cosmopolitan nature, owing in part to the many merchants who came here from far-off lands, as well as to the industrious Pochteca class of merchants who had their own sets of laws, their own ruler, and organized expeditions to the northern deserts, down to the Soconusco, and all the way to modern-day Nicaragua.

The archeological area of Tlatelolco contains magnificent monuments: the Templo Mayor (Great Temple) of Tlatelolco, whose ruins correspond to its second phase of construction but was possibly even taller than its counterpart in Tenochtitlan. There is also the Complejo de los Vientos ("Complex of the Winds"), crowned by a shrine to Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, twinning it with the teocalli pyramids of the Templo Mayor and Tenayuca; child burial sites were discovered here too, complete with offerings of ceramic figurines that look like toys. Other notable monuments include the Templo de las Pinturas ("Temple of the Paintings"), whose facades, panels, and structures encircling it and flanking the steps all still show the remains of murals; the Coatepantli (wall of serpents), and two tzompantlis or walls of skulls. There is also the burial site of 45 victims of the war with the people of Tenochtitlan, including “the lovers of Tlatelolco”—a man and woman locked in an eternal embrace.

The site museum, La Caja de Agua, is located at one end of the Santa Cruz monastery, adjacent to the church of Santiago Tlatelolco (both constructed by reusing stones from the teocalli). On display in this museum are ceramic items and stone sculptures found in the ancient city, as well as the monastery’s old cistern—“la caja de agua”—with traces of the first fresco to be painted in New Spain (1536).

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1337 - 1521

Posclásico Tardío
1431 - 1473

Posclásico Tardío

Did you know...
  • Eusebio Dávalos Hurtado’s "Cranial deformation among the Tlatelolcans," written in 1951, was the first thesis published by the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) and reveals information about the excavations carried out in Tlatelolco before 1839.
  • On the instructions of President Porfirio Díaz, some of the archeological work in Tlatelolco was carried out in order to send an exhibition to Madrid as part of the celebrations to mark Mexico’s centenary of Independence.
  • Tecpan, the former palace of the indigenous government following the Spanish conquest and the building where Cuauhtémoc apparently governed for a brief period, was partially demolished in 1964 in order to make way for the extension of Paseo de la Reforma and for the construction of three apartment blocks.
  • The Convento de Santiago formerly had three large openings with semi-circular arches on its façade, so that pilgrims could enter the monastery building; however, these were closed up in the eighteenth century, leaving only one small entrance.
  • Tlatelolco’s site museum has a display of a fragment of a Chac Mool and a stylized tiger’s head.
  • The University Cultural Center of Tlatelolco (CCUT)—a dependency of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)—is a multidisciplinary center for the study, analysis and dissemination of  the art, history and related processes of resistance, offering a range of cultural activities and making an impact on the daily lives of the university community and the general public.
An exert point of view
Where the past deserves a future
Salvador Guilliem Arroyo
Salvador Guilliem Arroyo
Zona Arqueológica de Tlatelolco
Archeological site
Tlatelolco
Practical information
Temporarily closed
Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 18:00 hrs

Free entry


  • Extra fee for video cameras
  • Extra fee for professional cameras
  • No Smoking
  • No entry with food
  • Pets not allowed
Tercera sección de la unidad habitacional Nonoalco-Tlatelolco, Adolfo López Mateos, en la Ciudad de México.

Services
  • Accesibilidad
  • Asistencia médica
  • Módulo de información
  • Sanitarios
  • Tienda
  • Visitas guiadas
GUIDE
Guide
  • +52 (55) 57 82 22 40
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  • WWW
  • VISITA VIRTUAL
  • TWITTER
Directory
Titular de la Zona
Edwina Villegas Gómez
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+52 (55) 57 82 22 40 y 55 83 02 95
Director del Proyecto Tlatelolco 1987-2013
Salvador Guilliem Arroyo
Administradora
Gladys Olivia Tenango Salgado
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+52 (55) 57 82 22 40 y 55 83 02 95
Difusión
Susana Padilla Coronado
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+52 (55) 57 82 22 40 y 55 83 02 95
1700
325_A_000
325_A_tlaltelolco_alejandro_navarrete_1
INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
325_A_tlaltelolco_alejandro_navarrete_2
INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
325_A_tlaltelolco_alejandro_navarrete_3
INAH-CND/Alejandro Navarrete
TLATELOLCO_FOTO_MELITN_TAPIA_INAH
INAH/Melitón Tapia
325_A_tlatelolco_mauricio_marat_4
INAH - DMC / Mauricio Marat
325_A_tlatelolco_mauricio_marat_5
INAH-DMC/Mauricio Marat
Altiplano Central
Museo de Sitio, ex Convento de Santa Cruz de Santiago Tlatelolco y Caja de Agua
Antiguo señorío gemelo de Tenochtitlan, compañero de vida y guerras, comercio, construcciones, dominio y religión; hermano ante el eclipse total de la Conquista. Ofrece multitud de vestigios majestuosos, algunos en el lugar original, otros en el museo de sitio.
A former center of government, Tlatelolco was a twin to Tenochtitlan, a friend and a foe, a companion in trade, construction, power, and religion; both were totally eclipsed following the Spanish Conquest. Many impressive remains are on view in their original location and in the site museum.
En el lugar del montón de arena
The place of the sand mound

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The contents of this website belong to the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México, and may be downloaded and shared without alterations, provided that the author is acknowledged and if is not for commercial purposes.

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