Which Ancient Civilization Is Now Mexico City?

Mexico City, the vibrant and bustling capital of Mexico, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The city sits on the ancient ruins of what was once a thriving civilization, and today visitors can still see remnants of this fascinating culture throughout the city.

But which ancient civilization is now Mexico City? Let’s take a closer look.

The Aztecs

The most well-known ancient civilization in Mexico is undoubtedly the Aztecs. This powerful empire dominated central Mexico from the 14th to 16th centuries and built their capital city, Tenochtitlan, on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Today, much of modern-day Mexico City is built on top of what was once Tenochtitlan.

Fun fact: The name “Mexico” comes from the Aztec word “Mexica,” which was used to refer to their capital city.

The Pyramids of Teotihuacan

Another ancient civilization that played a significant role in shaping Mexico City’s history is the Teotihuacan culture. This civilization flourished from around 200 BCE to 650 CE and built an impressive city with massive pyramids just outside modern-day Mexico City.

Some of the most famous structures from this period include:

  • The Pyramid of the Sun
  • The Pyramid of the Moon
  • The Temple of the Feathered Serpent

These awe-inspiring structures are still standing today and are popular tourist attractions in Mexico City.

The Spanish Conquistadors

In 1521, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan with an army and conquered the Aztec empire. From then on, Mexico City became a Spanish colony known as New Spain. The Spanish brought with them their own culture and architecture, which can still be seen in many of Mexico City’s historic buildings and landmarks.

One such example is the Metropolitan Cathedral, located in the city’s historic center. This grand cathedral was built over the ruins of an Aztec temple and features a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.


In conclusion, Mexico City is built on the ruins of multiple ancient civilizations, including the Aztecs and Teotihuacans. The city’s rich history is reflected in its diverse architecture and cultural landmarks, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history or archaeology. So next time you find yourself in Mexico City, take some time to explore its fascinating ancient past.