Mexico Readies New Roof Protecting Important Aztec Ruins After Storm Damage

For 14 months, a team of more than 80 engineers, surveyors, restorers, architects and archaeologists have been toiling to protect part of one of Mexico’s most important and ancient sites, the Templo Mayor complex – which the Aztecs believed to be the center of the universe.

A roof that covered the House of Eagles, part of this 500-year-old site, collapsed in a storm last April under the weight of hail and rain. It caused only minor damage, but left the team scrambling to protect the site in the center of downtown Mexico City’s historic district.

A newly designed roof over the site, adjacent to the ruins of the Templo Mayor – the Aztecs’ holiest shrine – should be ready by mid-September, restorers told Reuters during a visit.

The task has been daunting; needing to redesign a roof built in the 1980s that would be wide enough and strong enough to withstand extreme weather and protect an area featuring elaborately carved relief sculptures and painted murals depicting warriors in procession and blood-letting rituals.

They would have to avoid constructing new support beams that damage the fragile pre-Hispanic floor – and do it all in the middle of a pandemic.

They got started the morning after the storm.

“And from then on, we didn’t stop,” said Mariana Diaz de Leon Lastras, head of the restoration department at the Templo Mayor museum. “It is a very big responsibility.”