If you build it….

…touristas (tourists) will come.

I’m sure that’s what the Aztec people were thinking when they built the massive pyramids we visited today for our fun day. No? Eh, probably not.

(Arriving and seeing the Pyramid of the Sun through the cacti.)

(The slightly smaller Pyramid of the Moon just a quarter mile from the Pyramid of the Sun.)

(Looking at the Pyramid of the Sun from one of the smaller altar stages lining the former main road of Tenochtilan, capital of the Aztec empire.)

The Aztec were incredibly talented builders and the architecture is amazing especially how they could build these buildings so accurately and to last for so long. We spent the day climbing they Pyramids and exploring the ruins of what used to be home to around 200,000 people.

(Rodrigo Mayoga of Des Moines and Nicolas Haiar of Sioux Falls looking to see if they could find a house they like….or what’s left of one)

(The Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The steps up had carved serpent heads along with carvings all around the temple.)

The whole Pyramid/temple complex was two miles long from the Temple of the Moon at one end to the Temple of the Feathered Serpent at the other.

(Two miles away! Seriously! The temples are huge!)

The Temple of the Sun up close and personal. Oh, and the steps are steep…so have fun.

(Nate Pacer of Rockford and Scott Padernos of Duluth sit on the top level of the pyramid)

(A view from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. A view 213 feet up according to the all knowing google.)

I love history and architecture so it was really interesting to see the historical nature, but also keeping in mind that these pyramids were temples. It is interesting to see that their whole city was built with the central roads leading to these massive temples to their gods: Sun, Moon, and Feathered Serpent. They had such a strong religious sense that they built based on their commitment too the gods.

(But could they have made the steps less steep??)

However, that strong religious sense expressed itself in horrific and brutal human sacrifice for the gods demanded blood. A sign near the Temple of the Feathered Serpent said that excavators found hundreds of bodies under the base of the pyramid most likely the first victims for blessing on construction of the temple. Thousands upon thousands of sacrifices were made by the Aztec of their neighboring tribes they conquered. One of the Spaniards who came with Cortez and the first Spanish conquistadors kept a journal expressing the horror of what they saw on the altars and the images of the terrifying gods.

The two mile street was even known as “Road of the Dead” due to all the human sacrifice that would happen at the altars along it.

It was honestly kind of creepy to be at these Pyramids knowing what they were used for. The architecture is gorgeous and culturally, the Mexican people treasure this part of their heritage. We had a tour where the tour guide showed us many elements of Aztec life that shows the True God was providing for these people. Proof in point, the maguey plant which provided a syrup like drink, fibers for making clothing, needles for arrows and sewing, and even paper.

But in spite of all this architectural beauty and mathematical genius, can human sacrifice on such a large scale be justified? Hint: sun, moon, stars, serpent…answer tomorrow.


Overall, the day just made me think and reflect on my own religious sense and how my own life is “built.” Is it set up and planned so that the biggest and best work goes into my day for God, or me and my needs? Does my day start and focus on Jesus Christ, the ultimate sacrifice once for all who rose to give life to all, or the all knowing google on the all powerful iphone? Do the roads flow out from that relationship with Christ or not? The Aztec believed these temples were placed in the center of the world, what is the center of my life? If the answer isn’t Jesus, no matter how pretty it is architecturally, it has to go.

Tomorrow comes the crown jewel of the trip and God’s answer to the dilemma of the Spanish and Aztec cultures colliding in the 1600’s.

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