Hidden Gems

Ancient Aztec Ruins in the State of Mexico

The State of Mexico may be modern on the surface, but its roots are deeply tied to the ancient civilizations of the Olmecs, Toltecs and Aztecs.  Those old ruins are still standing, and some are even accessible to the public.

Some visitors to the state of Mexico will often stop at the pyramids of Teotihuacan. But if you really want to avoid the crowds and still get a great experience, then head to Malinalco.

Malinalco has an ancient and surprisingly Aztec site that’s truly stunning. The temple of Cuauhtinchan is the only monolithic temple in all of Mexico, meaning it was cut out of a single stone.

These ancient Aztec ruins were carved carved into the side of a mountaintop, and were built  over a 15-year span for the most elite warriors.

Cuauhtinchan was the home and training ground of the Eagle and Jaguar knights, who acted as guardians of this magical place.

And true to its patrons, it takes a warrior’s spirit to get to the site, since there are 426 steps to the top.  It may be a trek, but it’s worth every step.


Tune into The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg each week on public television to watch more of Peter’s Hidden Gem adventures.