Mexico City, a teeming metropolis of intensity and innovation, has at its heart one of the most important museums in Mexico, Museo Nacional de Antropologia (The National Museum of Anthropology).
The Museum contains one of the world’s largest collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts from prehispanic Mayan civilizations to the Spanish conquest.
Located within Chapultepec Park, the Museum is one of the most comprehensive and impressive (almost 20 acres) facilities in the world. The modern architecture, designed by Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, is characterized by its iconic umbrella roof supported by a single column, which represents a mythological tree and depicts eagles and jaguars—all important symbols to the prehispanic natives.
Each of the salons displays artifacts from a particular geographic region or culture. The Mesoamerican cultures displayed include: Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, Olmec, and Maya. Be sure to see the Aztec Calendar, Piedra del Sol (Stone of the Sun), which shares similar aspects to the Mayan Calendar. The 12-foot, 25-ton, carved basalt slab, dating to the late 1400s, was discovered buried beneath the Zocalo. Other highlights include the reconstruction of an eighth century Mayan tomb and perfectly preserved skeleton, a replica model of the Templo Mayor, a copy of Aztec ruler Moctezuma’s feathered headdress and massive Olmec heads.
Not all of the explanations are translated in English so you may want to hire a guide or rent an English audio guide. The museum is closed on Mondays.