At the heart of the city was a large sacred precinct dominated by the huge pyramid , known as the Temple Mayor, which honoured the gods Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc. The site, now Mexico City, continues to be excavated and has yielded some of the greatest treasures of Aztec art such as the celebrated Sun Stone as well as art objects the Aztecs themselves collected from the other great civilizations of Mesoamerica. This is exactly what came to pass and the new capital of Tenochtitlan was built, the traditional date being CE. The name of the city derives from tetl meaning rock, nochtli , the prickly-pear cactus and tlan , the locative suffix. Although the city was destroyed and over the following centuries extensively built over, the chroniclers of the 16th century CE, fortunately, recorded in great detail the buildings and works of art that had once made Tenochtitlan one of the greatest cities in Mesoamerica and, with over , residents, certainly the most populous. These records and the extensive and continuing archaeology at the site mean that we know more about Tenochtitlan than any other city from the great Mesoamerican civilizations.
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Featured in Macworld - one of the best history sites on the web. E arly next day we left Iztapalapa with a large escort of those great Caciques whom I have already mentioned. We proceeded along the Causeway which is here eight paces in width and runs so straight to the City of Mexico [Tenochtitlan] that it does not seem to me to turn either much or little, but, broad as it is, it was so crowded with people that there was hardly room for them all, some of them going to and others returning from Mexico, besides those who had come out to see us, so that we were hardly able to pass by the crowds of them that came; and the towers and cues were full of people as well as the canoes from all parts of the lake. It was not to be wondered at, for they had never before seen horses or men such as we are. This great city of Temixtitlan [Mexico] is situated in this salt lake, and from the main land to the denser parts of it, by whichever route one chooses to enter, the distance is two leagues.
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The tensions exploded when Alvarado ordered a massacre during the great Aztec spring festival of Huizilopochtli. The causeways were cut, the bridges taken away, and the net closed. The Spanish had no food supplies and there was an acute shortage of drinking water. The Spanish later claimed that Montezuma was wounded and died of his injuries.
Today, Mexico City is still one of the largest cities in the world, despite its unusual setting. The story of how the Aztecs selected the location of their capital in such a miserable place is one part legend and another part history. The Uppsala Map was drawn about by an indigenous person or persons; and the Maguey Plan was made about , although scholars are divided about whether the city depicted is Tenochtitlan or another Aztec city. According to legend, the Mexica were one of seven Chichimeca tribes who came to Tenochtitlan from their fabled city of origin, Aztlan Place of the Herons. They came because of an omen: the Chichimec god Huitzilopochtli , who took the form of an eagle, was seen perched on a cactus eating a snake.