The Aztecs were an indigenous people who controlled a vast empire in the southern and central regions of modern-day Mexico before the Spanish conquered these lands in the 1500s. These industrious Aztecs managed their shelter needs by inhabiting residences that were often, but not always, made out of adobe.
Basic Structure of Aztec Homes
Adobe generally was the main component in the construction of Aztec homes. Adobe is a material made from blending both straw and sun-dried mud. The name translates to "dried brick" in Spanish. Flat, thatched-reed roofs frequently topped Aztec accommodations.
Wealthy Aztecs and Their Homes
As with most cultures, money also had a prominent influence on the specifics of Aztec homes. Wealthy Aztecs lived in more spacious homes, which typically featured elements including stone walls. The homes also were built out of other materials such as concrete and plaster. They generally had two levels and numerous rooms. Middle-class Aztecs had considerably smaller homes, with single levels and surrounding terraces. Working-class Aztecs generally resided in smaller shack-like, single-level accommodations. Aztec homes usually took the form of the letter "L."
It was very common for Aztec residences to have wide-open atmospheres, with single, spacious rooms that were compartmentalized for assorted functions, including socialization, relaxation, cooking or dining. Aztec homes also were equipped with shrines that prominently featured sculptures of gods, often in the central rooms. Furnishings were sparse, low-key and basic, with many items made from rushes and reeds. Cleanliness was extremely important to Aztec culture, and usually the homes were immaculately kept.
Lack of Windows
Aztec residences didn't have many windows. This was intentional, and a means of managing the often extremely hot weather conditions. The lack of windows helped keep Aztec homes cooler and therefore more comfortable.
Steam baths were important fixtures in Aztec abodes -- or, more specifically, just outside of them. These baths were situated in separate units that were right by the primary home structures. Fire provided heating for the interiors of the steam baths, and the smoke was promptly removed through chimneys. These steam baths were often used as places to rest and unwind.
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- The Aztec Empire; Jane Bingham
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- Handbook to Life in the Aztec World; Manuel Aguilar-Moreno
- Aztec; Mary Stout
- The Spanish Invasion of Mexico 1519-1521; Charles M. Robinson
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