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Tetzcotzinco Sacred Mountain Retreat
Restoring the agricultural and ethno-botanical heritage of Tetzcotzinco
San Nicolás Tlaminca, Texcoco, Mexico
Project Description

Just outside of Mexico City, the ancient archeological site of Tetzcotzinco was once a cultural center known for its terraced botanical gardens, production of medicinal herbs, artistic performances, sacred rituals, and teachings.  This site is believed to be the first botanical garden in the world. The terraces surrounding Tezcotzinco have long been abandoned. This project aims to bring back traditional Mexican agricultural and ethno-botanical heritage to Tetzcotzinco and the surrounding area.  By working with local medicine people, the knowledge and plants of ancient Mexico can be promoted and preserved.


BASE is designing three unique areas at Tetzcotzinco:

Sacred Mountain Retreat

The 2.5-acre property will be developed using permaculture design principles  to demonstrate the kind of restoration and production possible for rest of the mountain. Food forests will reinstate the ethnobotanical garden that was here during the times of King Nezahualcóyotl. The program will focus on the protection, propagation, understanding, and education about the use of traditional ancient Mexican medicinal plants.

Once restored, this property will be home to an intentional community for long-term residential recovery with ongoing monthly and weekly retreats. It will also offer spaces for events based on the Mayan calendar and  lunar, solstice, or equinox celebrations or gatherings. 

Restoration of Botanical Gardens

This phase will expand the medicinal plant preservation and propagation into the adjacent hills while restoring the original productive garden from the era of King Nezahualcóyotl.


Paul Aviles, in his article "Seven Ways of Looking at a Mountain," considers the site to have “seven different but overlapping uses: sensual gratification, sacred rituals, agricultural production, political symbolism, artistic performance, and the construction of a site-specific earthwork.”  These principals, as well as the local and traditional knowledge, combined with permaculture techniques, will be considered in the restoration of the hill gardens.

Restoration of Agricultural Terraces 

This phase will create productive gardens of edible and medicinal plants on the hills surrounding Tetzcotzinco. The team will collaborate with the adjacent landowners to restore the protected area surrounding the archeological site. This protected area encompasses about 8,700 hectares within five villages.

This is an ambitious project which will require collaboration, not only with the land owners, but also the municipal governments and several federal government agencies. Another major task will be to reconfigure and reconstruct the ancient water ways that gather water from Mt. Tlaloc to provide irrigation to the site.

team. BASE Landscape Architecture

Crossroads Treatment Center

year completed. ongoing

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