Aztec Architecture | Ancient World | ArchArticulate

Aztec Architecture | Ancient World | ArchArticulate

What Is Aztec Architecture?

Aztec architecture was simple and classy, daring and extremely efficient, and it combined colours and symbols that helped created a singular model. The extremely efficient and dominant temples have been the truth is the masterpieces of the Aztec empire however there could also be relatively extra to Aztec architecture than simply these mighty temples.

There have been three groups of Aztec’s have been the Mexica, Acolhua, and Tepanecs that collectively common the triple alliance of the Aztec empire. 

The two capitals Tenochtitlan (Mexica) and Texcoco (Acolhua) shaped the Valley of Mexico.

Tenochtitlan was the principle Aztec metropolis, which was actually constructed on excessive of one different metropolis Teotihuacan. Tenochtitlan which roughly means ‘place of people who have the street of the gods’ was constructed throughout the 14th as a lot as the 16th Century. 

At the moment, it was the third largest metropolis on the earth with a inhabitants that grew to round 200,000 of us. This was the Aztec’s capital metropolis which was constructed throughout the hustle and bustle of the centre, their public plaza.

The plaza was then surrounded by temples, shrines and pyramids as you progress out from the middle, after which extra out scattered throughout the outskirts have been the Aztec properties, their ball courts, and their backyard and farming land.

Aztec architecture relied closely on cosmology, astronomy and religion, their large cities mirrored their beliefs and it’s an vital key in understanding their historic previous and custom, and the way in which this impact their buildings and constructions.

 The truth is, as we talked about earlier primarily probably the most dominant items of architecture are the temples of the Aztecs.

These temples completely characterize how the Aztecs architecture is powered by their need to sacrifice to their gods and their religion and beliefs.

Building materials utilized by the ancient Aztecs

The Aztecs used primitive devices like stones, chisels and blades for his or her building, rudimentary devices by trendy necessities, however it didn’t preserve the Aztecs once more.

They centered on building sturdy foundations as a result of the soil on their flooring was inclined to sinking due to the warmth and often damp native climate.

The Aztecs used a colourful and simple to cut volcanic stone generally known as tezontle to kind the underside of their constructions. The Aztecs furthermore used native stone provides like rubble and limestone that have been found throughout the area, and these have been normally traded as properly.

Aztecs principally carved their stones for decorations, giving their buildings and provides a singular look that added texture and seen punch to their buildings.

The carvings have been naive for primarily probably the most half with a very two dimensional top quality As well as they have been moreover keen on native wood provides and used pine and oak wooden from the forests for his or her beams and doorways.

Symbols built-in into Aztec architecture

Aztec architecture was full of symbols as we talked about earlier, the Aztecs used symbols in order so as to add ornament, model and incorporate their beliefs into their architecture.

 Listed under are among the many figures that have been typically utilized in Aztec buildings and architecture and what they characterize.

  • Eagle – The eagle was guide of the sun and of warriors
  • Serpents – Serpents represented water or fire
  • Conch shell – The Conch shell was a important picture of fertility
  • Frogs and sea creatures – Represented Tlaloc Symbols

Aztec temples and shrines

Aztec architecture

A few of the strongest and iconic Aztec architecture is the truth is the inserting Aztec temples. The temples in Mesoamerican and notably with the Aztecs have been seen as a strategy to get nearer to the gods.

The Aztec of us constructed temples and pyramids in numbers, from the most important temple, the Tempol Mayor to the Solar and Moon Pyramids which nonetheless stand proud at current.

These Aztec pyramids and temples on a regular basis had double staircases that confronted west within the route of the photo voltaic. The temples share similarities with the Egyptian pyramids nonetheless in distinction to Egyptian pyramids, the tops of the Aztec temples have been flat.

On excessive proper right here may be a block made for sacrifices and there may be idols representing the god to whom the temple was constructed for, skillfully carved too.

Inside these majestic Aztec temples, the partitions have been adorned with paint and statues. Their staircases comprised of 13 steps which had astronomical have an effect on. 

On the end of these staircases have been dragon like figures generally known as stone serpents heads. They have been typically thought to have been constructed to hold at bay evil spirits.

There would even be a extraordinarily revered eagle, the nahual of Huitzilopochtli-Tonatiuh. These are widespread in loads of the Aztec temples and could also be seen at Tepoztlan temple, the temple of the Feathered Serpent in Xochicalco, the spherical temple of Cempoala, and the temple of Ehecatl in Calixtlahuaca.

Equally shrines have been constructed by the Aztecs and typically devoted to a specific God. These have been areas of worship or a spot for decisions. The shrines found honoured the Photo voltaic god, the Eagle and the Jaguar.

An Aztec emperors palace

The emperor and ruler of the Aztecs would have a very large palace. It had a very large courtyard and had two tales. Gold panels, work and carvings cowl the partitions.

There may be fairly a couple of rooms, each devoted to a specific use. A big staircase is positioned throughout the heart of the grand residence.

The 4 essential rooms of the Aztec emperors palace

  • Reception area the place the King entertained guests.
  • The emperor’s room which could the most important and most extravagant room.
  • Assembly room the place the throne is positioned.
  • Storage room which housed all the gadgets given to the King

Aztec ball courts

Tlachco – Ball courts have been L shaped. It is the location for ballgames which is the Aztecs essential sport generally known as tlachtli or ullamaliztli This was frequent once more throughout the Mesoamerican interval nonetheless stays to be carried out at current in some parts of Mexico. The Ball courts have been usually positioned beside the shrine for Huitzilopochtli.

The Aztec ceremonial plaza the sacred precinct

The Good Temple and the core of city, was surrounded by a ceremonial centre. This area was a bunch of large buildings notably used for religious ceremonies by the Aztecs.

These buildings embody temples, ball courts, priest houses and have been surrounded by the houses of the essential Aztec nobles. Farther away from the centre of this area may be the markets and the houses of the lower class.

The gardens or Chinampas lengthen on to the lake the place crops have been grown, and on the west aspect of the precinct was their bathhouse, the tozpalatl.

Aztec chinamapas the floating gardens

Aztec architecture

Chinampas are swampy rectangular patches of earth the place meals is being grown. Each chinampa was surrounded by canals which is the water customary in between them.

Damns and complex packages of irrigation have been constructed to preserve crops essential to the Aztec of us. These patches of swamps farming blocks have been spherical 2.5 metres massive and 30 metres prolonged and traditionally separated by willow roots.

Chinampas have been positioned on the outskirts of metropolis and typically lengthen into the encircling physique of water the place the irrigation for them may be sourced from.

Aztec architecture in abstract

The Aztec of us created among the many most spectacular temples and pyramids the world has ever seen. These majestic and extremely efficient buildings have been constructed stone by stone, by hand, and might want to have taken the Aztecs a really very long time to complete.

Their motivation was clearly to get nearer to the skies, the place they could sacrifice to their gods from atop their mighty gadgets of architecture.

In all their architectural endeavours though, the Aztecs maintained a singular seen mannequin in the complete buildings and constructions. From the ball courts to their properties and dwelling areas, the Aztecs would adorn their buildings with inventive renderings and sculptures, give them a singular model that is actually distinctive to this civilisation.


Aztec architecture
Aztec architecture

The Aztec have been grasp builders and constructed many varied sorts of buildings, akin to pyramids, ball courts, plazas, temples, and homes.  However, for the Aztec, they considered the Toltec to be a major have an effect on on their very personal architecture.

The Toltec have been a Mesoamerican civilization that was positioned in central Mexico from about 900 CE to 1168 CE.  They’re an vital civilization throughout the historic previous of Mesoamerican custom because of many various later societies in the similar area considered the Toltec to be an occasion of the height of workmanship and civilization. 

 As an example, the Aztec considered themselves to be the successors to the earlier Toltec.  Really, the Aztec admired the Toltec for lots of completely totally different factors, along with: art work, architecture, craftsmanship and custom. 

Some historians have questioned whether or not or not or not the Aztec of us have been the descendants of the earlier Toltec society, nonetheless this suggestion has moreover been made about totally different earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, along with the Teotihuacan. 

Regardless, the Toltec language was Nahuatl, which was the similar as a result of the Aztec.  As properly, the Nahuatl phrase for Toltec, throughout the Aztec society, obtained right here to suggest ‘artisan’ in reference to their view that the Toltec have been the height of custom, art work and design in Mesoamerica.



The Aztec Empire is known for lots of of its choices along with the excellent architectural sorts that the Aztec of us used throughout the building of their buildings and cities.  

Really, Aztec architecture adopted associated guidelines to totally different earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, along with, the utilization of a grid system in metropolis building and the event of huge temples throughout the type of a pyramid.  

For instance, the pyramid was a central factor of Aztec building and featured prominently in their very personal city-state (altepetl) in Tenochtitlan.  Templo Mayor is the establish of the precept temple throughout the Aztec capital metropolis of Tenochtitlan.

Sadly, little or no of the distinctive pyramid stays and most descriptions of the temple come from historic accounts, along with these of the Spanish conquistadors who witnessed it all through their conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521. 

 It’s as a result of, rather a lot of the Temple Mayor and Tenochtitlan have been destroyed by the Spanish as soon as they conquered city and defeated the Aztec Empire.  Furthermore, following the destruction of the Tenochtitlan, the Spanish (led by Hernán Cortes) constructed their very personal metropolis on the ruins of the earlier Aztec capital, which is at current the modern-day Mexico Metropolis.

The Temple Mayor that the Spanish conquistadors witnessed in 1521, was supposedly the seventh and remaining model of the good temple.  Historians think about that the good temple was first constructed merely after the founding of Tenochtitlan in 1325 after which went by the use of many various additions all by means of the historic previous of the Aztec.

  Initially, the temple was pretty small and constructed out of earth and wood.  Then, successive Aztec leaders, usually known as huey tlatoani, constructed onto the temple.  

​Trendy excavations of the ruins of Templo Mayor current that the additions to the temple have been really constructed on excessive of the outdated structure, thus creating many various layers to the temple that current its historic previous with each layer.  

​The last word mannequin of the Temple Mayor (and the one which the Spanish witnessed in 1521) was most likely constructed sometime on the end of the 15th century.  It was a pyramid with 4 completely totally different ranges or terraces and two models of staircases that reached to the best platform. 

The temple reached as extreme as 180 toes (60 meters) and was topped with an enormous platform.  This excessive platform contained two shrines to 2 completely totally different Aztec gods that carried out a serious operate throughout the religion of the Aztec. 

Spanish information report that the pyramid was painted in shiny colors and contained inventive reliefs of serpents and Aztec warriors.

​The Temple Mayor highlights numerous key choices of Aztec architecture.  First, they did not substitute large buildings akin to temples, comparatively they merely constructed over excessive of them and made them bigger and further elaborate. 

This has been witnessed in numerous Aztec archaeological websites, nonetheless might be going biggest seen throughout the ruins found of the Temple Mayor. 

Second, the Aztec have been grasp craftsmen and have been merely ready to work with stone excessive assemble large and elaborate temples. 

Third, Aztec custom featured intently of their architecture, along with their religious beliefs, gods, and astronomy.  For instance, numerous pictures reappear in Aztec temples, along with: eagle, serpent, conch shell and sea creatures.  These all carried out vital roles in Aztec cultural beliefs and symbolized completely totally different factors of Aztec life.

Aztec Architecture Homes

​In distinction to the large stone temples, Aztec properties have been primarily constructed from wood logs that have been interlinked.  They could have moreover used mud bricks (adobe).  The bottom of the properties was usually merely mud or may have been manufactured from stone.  

The roof was usually made out of small sticks woven collectively or a form pf thatch (straw, leaves, grass, and so forth).  Sometimes, the properties for the middle class (macehualtin) have been one single room and the family would sleep on this room at evening time and have a shrine to honor the gods in the middle of the day.

With that acknowledged, properties for the nobles (pipiltin) have been relatively extra elaborate to inform aside their wealth and standing in society.  For instance, the properties of nobles have been normally further spacious contained further ornate artwork work related to Aztec religion and customs.

Aztec Artwork: A Method of Life

The Aztecs created a rich variety of artwork works from large stone sculptures to miniature, exquisitely carved gemstone bugs. They made stylized hand crafted pottery, advantageous gold and silver jewellery and breathtaking feather work garments.

The Aztecs have been as intimately involved with artwork as they have been with their religion and the two have been tightly interwoven. Our information of the Aztec custom largely comes from their pictogram codices and their artwork.

Aztec craftsmen labored pictures of their gods into rather a lot of their art work. In one different article we’ll describe the great stone carvings: the Stone of Tizoc, the massive statue of Coatlicue and the Photo voltaic or Calendar Stone, as they’re masterpieces of Aztec artwork.

Of gold and silver jewelry, rather a lot of it was misplaced to the conquering Spanish who melted it down for currency. Feather works, sadly, don’t remaining for ages, although some samples keep. Textiles too, are destroyed by time, and pottery is fragile. Energetic stone carvings, however, keep to level out us the great artistry of the Aztecs.

Whereas rather a lot of the Aztec inhabitants labored in agriculture to keep up the empire fed and others have been involved throughout the good shopping for and promoting networks, many others devoted themselves to producing the artworks that noble Aztecs beloved.

Thus, samples of ingenious creativity in priceless metal jewellery, embellished with jade, obsidian, turquoise, greenstone and coral nonetheless exist, primarily in smaller gadgets paying homage to earrings or labrets for lips. Pottery from Tenochtitlan and surrounding areas nonetheless reveal the advantageous abstract symbolism of the Aztecs. Feather workers made vibrant tilmas for the emperor and nobles, and produced ceremonial costumes for the perfect warrior castes, creating intricately embellished shields and headdresses.

Many Aztec households and even villages have been devoted to providing artwork work for Aztec nobles. Every artwork had its private calpulli or guild. The nobles throughout the calpulli provided the raw provides and the artists created the accomplished works—the magnificent stone carvings, jewelry, elaborate ritual costumes for the great religious ceremonies and feather shirts, cloaks and headdresses. The Aztec emperors acquired artwork works as tribute or the artists purchased them throughout the good market at Tlatelolco.

The partitions of the great Tenochtitlan Templo Mayor are coated with carvings of Aztec symbolism. Stone carvers created sculptures of the Aztec gods to be used throughout the month-to-month religious ceremonies. Fairly frequent was the chacmool, a reclining decide which acquired the extracted hearts and blood of sacrificial victims.

Aztecs throughout the rural areas carved the agricultural gods in every stone and wood, notably Xipe Totec, the god of spring and vegetation.

 Completely different carvers labored in miniature, creating tiny shells, bugs and crops out of jade, pearl, onyx and obsidian. Artists created mosaic masks utilized in religious ceremonies with gadgets of turquoise, shell and coral. These masks are extraordinarily guide of the Aztec devotion to their gods.

Although rather a lot Aztec was destroyed all through the Spanish conquest, many advantageous samples of each distinct art work sort stays to stipulate for viewers the great experience and technique of Aztec artists. Confirm the Aztec Helpful useful resource Internet web page on Aztec art work for hyperlinks to extra data.

Aztec religion

To know the Aztecs, it is compulsory to understand, as best we’ll, their religious beliefs and the way in which these beliefs manifested of their custom. To that end, we’re going to check out their religion usually, the gods, sacred calendar and temples proper right here. 

Completely different articles will cowl religious ceremonies and rituals and the observe of human sacrifice.

Aztec Architecture Religion Ruled All of Life

Aztecs have been a devoutly religious people, to the extent that no Aztec determined about any aspect of his or her life with out considering its religious significance. The timing of any event huge or small required consulting the religious calendar.

No teenager was named sooner than a explicit priest, a diviner, would possibly take into consideration what title could best match the child’s tonali or future. Religion permeated every aspect of Aztec life, it does not matter what one’s station, from the perfect born emperor to the lowliest slave. The Aztecs worshipped an entire lot of deities and honored all of them in various rituals and ceremonies, some that features human sacrifice. 

Throughout the Aztec creation myths, all the gods had sacrificed themselves repeatedly to convey the world and individuals into being. Thus, human sacrifice and blood decisions have been important to pay the gods their due and to keep up the pure world in steadiness.

The Gods

The principle Aztec gods might be classified on this means:

  • Primordial Creators and Celestial Gods
  • Ometecuhtli (Two Lord) and Omecihuatl (Two Girl)—the divine male/feminine ingenious drive permeating each little factor on earth
  • Xiuhtecuhtli (Turquoise Lord)
  • Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror—Destiny and Future)
  • Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent—Creator, Wind and Storm)
  • Gods of Agriculture, Fertility and Sacred Elements
  • Tlaloc (Rain)
  • Centeotl (Maize, Corn)
  • Xipe Totec (Our Flayed Lord—vegetation god)
  • Huehueteotl (Previous, Previous Deity–fire)
  • Chalchiutlicue (She of the Jade Skirt—deity of rivers, lakes, springs and the ocean)
  • Mayahuel (Maguey cactus goddess)
  • Gods of Sacrifice and War
  • Huitzilopochtli (War and Warrior god)
  • Tonatiuh (Sun god)
  • Tlaltecuhtli (Earth god)

Aztec architecture achievements

The Aztecs tailor-made many ideas from earlier groups, along with their calendars and temple-pyramids. Nonetheless the Aztecs improved on these ideas and made them their very personal.

Science and Technology One among many Aztecs’ most distinctive technological achievements was the event of their island metropolis, Tenochtitlán. 

The Aztecs enlarged the realm of city by creating artificial islands generally known as chinampas. Right now, flower farmers in Xochimilco, near Mexico Metropolis, nonetheless use chinampas. Vacationers take pleasure in taking boat journeys to see these “floating gardens.”

Merely as spectacular as a result of the chinampas have been the three causeways that associated Tenochtitlán to the mainland. The causeways have been normally crowded with people touring in and out of the capital. All through the moist season, when the waters of the lake rose, the causeways moreover served as dikes.

To deal with time, the Aztecs tailor-made the Mayan photograph voltaic and sacred calendars. The 365-day photograph voltaic calendar was notably useful for farming, as a result of it tracked the seasons. Monks used the sacred 260-day calendar to predict events and to seek out out “lucky” days for issues like planting crops and going to battle.

Most likely probably the most well-known Aztec artifacts is a calendar generally known as the Solar Stone. Devoted to the god of the solar, this fantastically carved stone is sort of twelve ft huge and weighs just about twenty-five tons. The center reveals the face of the solar god. Right now, the Solar Stone is a well-known picture of Mexico.

Aztec Architecture – Arts and Architecture

The Aztecs practiced fairly a couple of arts, along with poetry, music, dance, and sculpture. Poets wrote verses to sing the praises of the gods, to tell tales, and to have enjoyable the pure world. Poetry was extraordinarily valued. Aztec poets sung their poems or recited them to music. Typically, actors carried out them, making a dramatic current with dialogue and costumes.

Music and dance have been vital choices of Aztec ceremonies and holidays. People dressed up for these explicit occasions. Women wore beautiful blouses over their skirts. Males painted their faces, greased their hair, and wore feathered headdresses. 

The dancers customary huge circles and moved to the beat of drums and the sound of rattle bells. The dances had religious which means, and the dancers wanted to perform every step appropriately. Typically, tons of of people danced at one time. Even the emperor typically joined in.

The Aztecs have been moreover gifted painters and sculptors. Painters used wise colors to create scenes exhibiting gods and religious ceremonies. Sculptors long-established stone statues and support sculptures on temple partitions. 

Moreover they carved small, lifelike figures of people and animals from rock and semiprecious stones, paying homage to jade. In technical craft and surprise, their work surpassed that of earlier Mesoamerican cultures.

In architecture, the Aztecs are best remembered proper this second for his or her large stone temples. The Aztecs have been distinctive in building double stairways, like these of the Good Temple in Tenochtitlán. 

The staircases led to 2 temples, one for the photo voltaic god and one for the god of rain. Smaller pyramids shut by had their very personal temples, the place sacrificial fires burned sooner than massive statues of the gods.