MEXICO CITY (EFE).- A replica of the sacred center of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, will begin construction this year outside Mexico City, the directors of the project said.
Notable among the 21 buildings that will make up the replica of Tenochtitlan, a city founded in the 14th century and one of the biggest of its day, will be the pyramids of Coacalco, Cihuacoatl, Chicomecoatl and Xochiquetzal, the Temple of the Sun and courts for the pre-Columbian ball game that played a central role in Aztec culture, all of them surrounded by a canal.
"Rescuing history" is the key to this project, which will occupy some 300 hectares (740 acres), and where besides the pre-Columbian-style buildings there will also be offices, two Hilton hotels and two shopping malls, one of them dedicated to international designer fashions.
The buildings of the "sacred premises" will preserve the original dimensions, colors and paintings that, according to the observations of chroniclers like the Spanish conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo, decorated the Aztec capital.
These pavilions will be reserved for exhibitions and, in the case of the ball court, for concerts and cultural events. IMAX movie screens will be installed inside some of the temples.
"We must recover the pre-Columbian architecture, our true architecture," the head of the project, Ivan Castañeda, said in Mexico City, but added that these will be "smart" buildings, "as required by businesses of the 21st century."
In order to "save these roots," whose importance is stressed by the creators of the project, the Nican Ca Tenochtitlan Center, as they are going to call it, will also include a Museum of Aztec Culture and an embassy of the indigenous peoples.
In addition, the canal surrounding the replica of the sacred premises will offer a nighttime boat tour featuring a representation of how the Aztec capital was destroyed by colonizers of the 16th century.
The team carrying out the project estimates that work will begin "in a few months" and that it will create more than 6,000 direct jobs and will take 5 years to finish, though the first replicas will be ready "by the end of 2010."
The plan has a budget of $3 billion, all provided by unnamed private investors from France, Britain, Chile and Peru.
The exact location of this park of commerce and culture has not yet been revealed, though it is known that it will be in the town of Huixquilucan, chosen for its proximity to a planned highway linking Mexico City with Toluca, capital of the surrounding state of Mexico. EFE