When Hernán Cortés and his conquistadors entered the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1519, they saw magnificent treasures of the ancient civilization. The wonders of pyramids, gold, and silver overwhelmed the Spanish expedition. However, there was one more surprise in store for them – a garden full of plants and animals. Nowadays we know of this legendary site as Montezuma’s zoo.
Mexican archaeologists unearthed the remains of a very unique Aztec (Mexica) site located in the downtown of modern Mexico City. For centuries it was uncertain if the legendary garden full of incredible animals and plants was real. But thanks to a discovery made by Elsa Hernandez, the location of the legendary zoo is becoming more certain.
A Room for Meditation and a Lost Zoo of Legend
During the routine renovation project on a Colonial-era building, experts uncovered pieces of a wall and a basalt floor believed to have been part of a dark room where Montezuma (also known as Moctezuma) meditated. The site is a part of Montezuma’s palace complex, known as the Casas Nuevas, or New Houses (to distinguish them from his predecessors’ palaces.) The palace is thought to be comprised of five interconnected buildings – containing the emperor’s office, rooms for children and several wives, and a famous zoo.