5 Reasons You Should Visit Mexico City: #2 The Museum of Anthropology

In 2020, I planned to visit Scotland with my daughter, but Scotland would not let us in. Even if it did, nothing would have been open. So, we had to find another epic place to visit to celebrate the completion of her senior year of high school. We had to find a place that would let Americans in.

Most of Latin America was open for American tourists, but I did not think that was epic enough. So, I chose Egypt. It was a great choice, but I was wrong about Latin America. A trip to Latin America can be an epic one. That is especially true if that trip is to Mexico, and few places demonstrate that fact like Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology.

When I went to Egypt, I was able to see the treasures of Egypt in the amazing Egyptian Museum. There, I saw King Tut’s treasures and innumerable other artifacts from a thousand years before King Tut. It was a marvel and a wonder.

To my surprise, the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City presented room after room of marvels and wonders from all over Mexico on a level with Egypt. That’s why it is reason #2 to visit Mexico City (Reason #1 is Zocalo, the Plaza of the Constitution).

It was filled with an astonishing number of large, well-crafted, and well-preserved artifacts. Every imaginable artifact is available there. You could spend days or weeks studying it all. You can see the variety of Mesoamerican cultures of Mexico represented there: the Olmecs, the Mayas, the Aztecs, the Toltecs, and others. Each group has its own section.

The museum itself is a beautiful structure. It has a large courtyard. In that courtyard, there is a stone fountain that is about 15 feet high. Water pours down from what appears to be a circular table. It adds a fresh welcome to the museum.

I only had a couple of hours to tour the place, and I did not use a tour guide. My main goal was to see the treasures from the Templo Mayor that were not housed in the Museum of the Templo Mayor (read about this museum here in reason #1 for visiting Mexico City).

So, what I did was to go directly to the Aztec section. Then, I walked around the rest of the museum to see what stuck out to me. I was amazed.

The first thing that amazed me was the Aztec Calendar (pictured at top). It is a huge stone calendar containing a vast amount of information. It is almost hard to believe that you could put that much information on one calendar. It contains not only the days and seasons but also depicts the relationship of the days and the months to the cosmic mythology of the Aztecs.

During the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan in 1521, the invaders forced the Mexica people to destroy all the statues in the city. The Mexica buried the statue of Coatlicue instead, which is why it is now one of the best-preserved pieces of Aztec art.

Another notable artifact from the Aztecs is the Tizoc stone. It is comparable in size to the Aztec Calendar. It depicts the rituals of human sacrifice and was likely used in carrying out those human sacrifices.

One of the most famous symbols of ancient Mexico is the giant heads created by the Olmecs. These giant heads represent the advanced craftmanship of the Olmecs. It is unclear what their purpose was, but they bring a sense of awe for the civilization that created them and wonder as to their purpose. They could be commemorative, religious, or governmental, but they are sure to stand out to anyone who passes through the Olmec section of the museum.

Similar in size to the statue of Coatlicue is the statue of Chalchiuhtlicue, the consort of Tlaloc, god of rain. This is in the Teotihuacan section of the museum. I was fascinated to see this because we were going to visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan the following day. This statue in the middle of the exhibit hall stood out, as well as the replica of pyramid of Quezalcoatl, showing how it might have looked with all its colors (pictured below).

There was so much more to see in this amazing museum. I purchased a book on the museum as I left. I was surprised to find that one of the most valuable pieces in the museum is a cup made of obsidian, a very fragile material, that depicts a pregnant monkey. I would have been interested to see this, but that will be for another visit.

For those who love history and want to wonder and imagine what ancient life was like, there are few better places on earth than Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology. It will show you that Mexico is really America’s version of Egypt with its innumerable artifacts and grand pyramids.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it inspires you to travel and to travel in particular to the wonderful land to our south (this was written in the United States). This is reason #2 of 5 for why you should visit Mexico City. Next week, we will consider the modern part of Mexico City, which will be a third reason you should visit Mexico City. I hope to see you here again soon. If you liked this article, please share it on Facebook and subscribe below.


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