Tenochtitlan was the capital city of ancient Aztec Empire that is located in modern-day Mexico City. The Aztec flourished in the period between A.D. 1325 and 152. Tenochtitlan was a monumental city that was built on top of marshlands and Small Island on Lake Texcoco. At that time, Tenochtitlan was the third largest city in the world after Paris and Constantinople, home to almost 200,000 inhabitants. Tenochtitlan was the city that held monumental architecture of Aztec city it had systems of causeways and canals that serviced the people living there. The city was destroyed after it was looted, destroyed and conquered by the Spanish conquest conquistador Hernán Cortés in 1521. Most of the material from the remains were used to build the present-day Mexico City.
General architecture and layout of Aztec city was formally designed centrally around a center with randomly scattered homes in the town’s outskirts. The buildings were oriented cosmologically. At the center of the city there was the public plaza, rectangular in shape with religious and civic buildings along its borders. As you moved from the center you would find shrines, temples and pyramids.
Further from the central place, in the outskirts were Aztec homes as well as gardens, farming lands and ball courts. The city was erected on swampy island that necessitated construction of an aqueduct, dykes and canals to supply water. The sophisticated hydraulic works were amongst some impressive works of Aztec technology. Another, phenomena architecture of Aztec was the floating gardens or the chinampa. Each chinampa was surrounded by canals that had water flows between them. Dams, as well as sophisticated irrigation systems, were built to sustain crops. In between the canals were farming blocks and separated by willow roots. Chinampas were typically located on the town’s outskirts and stretched to surrounding lake.
Aztec architecture was mainly influenced by religion, astronomy and cosmology that largely reflected their beliefs and culture. Perhaps the most striking of Aztec architecture are the iconic Aztec temples. Temples and pyramids were built in range of sizes from the largest temple, Templo Mayor to the Sun and Moon Pyramids. The pyramids and temples had double staircases that ordinarily faced west. The designs of the temples pyramids were somehow similar to the Egyptian pyramids except that Aztec temples were flat. The walls inside the temples were embodied with statues and paints and dragon-like figures along the temple staircase.
Rulers and emperors in Aztec had enormous places that had massive two stories courtyards. The places had many rooms including; reception area, the emperor’s room, throne room which was also the meeting room as well as storage room that stored the king’s gifts, plus a large staircase at the center. Place walls were covered by paintings, carvings and gold panels. The ball courts were typically designed in an L shaped figure. The ball court was the main venue for Aztecs ballgames. Another architectural marvel was the Aztec ceremonial plaza that formed the sacred precinct.
The ceremonial plaza was surrounded by the great temple and formed the core of the city. The area encompassed a collection of large structures that were specific for religious ceremonies. Some of the structures included temples, houses for the priests, ball courts as well houses of the noble. Farther from the center were the markets and houses of the lower class. The Chinampas meaning gardens, stretched to lake where it formed the farming lands.
On the west of the plaza were the tozpalatl that was the bathhouse. The Aztec people designed some marvelous architecture that was mainly built from stone and by hand. In almost all their architecture, Aztec maintained unique and distinct style in building, from the marvelous temples, the ball courts, the homes and living rooms. The Aztecs adorned their buildings with sculpture that created a unique style that was truly distinct to civilization.