Rather than counting time on an infinite scale like we do, the Aztecs counted time in cycles of 52 years, and at the completion of each cycle, life and the world began anew. To begin the beginning of a new cycle, a new fire ritual was held, the most important Aztec ritual. Every 52 years, the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan threw away the statues of the gods and all household items, extinguished the fires in their houses and temples. With the city in complete darkness, the priests left Templo Mayor and headed to Huixactlán (Cerro de la Estrella, or Hill of Stars), where they lit a new fire at the top. Ta. This ritual was surrounded by anxiety and fear, as it was believed that if the new fire was not successfully lit, the world would end and the stars would turn into monsters that would devour humanity. In the five days leading up to the ceremony, people put out fires, destroyed property, and then waited, fasting and mourning as they pondered the possibility of world collapse. Mr. Cole has beautifully recreated that moment in 3D.
“The real challenge was gathering all the information and trying it out,” explains Thomas Cole. “How do you create a city when you don’t know anything about it? How do you start gathering that information? It’s really difficult, and when you find different sources with conflicting information, you end up with a lot of information.” I had to let go. That’s part of being a pioneer, venturing into the unknown, trying something no one has done before, but it’s also very difficult because it takes a lot of time. Also, I I don’t speak Spanish and I’m not an academic, so I really approached this as an outsider,” Cole says.
“The year is 1518. Tenochtitlan, Mexico, once a modest hamlet in the middle of Lake Texcoco, is now a bustling metropolis. It rules over five million people and pays tribute. Tenochtitlan is home to 200,000 farmers, artisans, merchants, soldiers, clergy, and nobility. At the moment, it is one of the largest cities in the world. Today, we calls this city Ciudad de México, or Mexico City,” the site reads, beginning with a stylized glyph of Tenochtitlan created by Mi Corazon México.