Teotihuacan Travel Blog

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Today we  drive out to the mysterious pyramids of Teotihuacan. Although abandoned thirteen centuries ago, they are still an unbelievable sight. Once the largest city in the Americas with perhaps 100,000 inhabitants, its influence continued through Middle America, and Maya craftsmen borrowed its decorative motifs and building designs. Centuries later the Aztecs revered Teotihuacan as ‘the Place of the Gods’ 

We first visit one of the shops on the road in to see the various uses of the agave plant.It's one of those things that are included in a day trip to pad it out and perhaps make a little money for the locals.It's enjoyable but a little early for tequila tasting!

Teotihuacan arose as a new religious center in the Mexican Highlands around the time of Christ.

Although its first period the first two centuries B.C is poorly understood, archaeological data show that the next two centuries were the time of monumental construction, during which Teotihuacan quickly became the largest and most populous urban center in the New World. By this time, the city already appears to have expanded to approximately 20 square km, with about 60,000 to 80,000 inhabitants . The place was called Teotihuacan by Nahuatl speakers several centuries after the city's fall, but its original name, the language or languages spoken there, and the ethnic groups who built the city are still unknown. 

The Avenue of the Dead was the main street of Teotihuacan. It ran for more than 2.5 km, beginning at the Moon Plaza to the north and extending beyond the Ciudadela and the Great Compound complexes to the south.

The avenue divided the city into two sections. Apartment compounds with pyramidal constructions were arranged on both sides of the avenue.

We climb the Sun Pyramid for a better view of the site.It's a hot day and we are at alltitude so we take it easy on the way up.It's a fantastic site and our knowledgeable guide continues his explanation. The Sun Pyramid was extensively excavated  by Leopordo Batres. Since that time, two tunnels have been excavated into the core of the pyramid, providing more information about its chronology and substructure. Another extensive excavation by INAH, directed by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma in 1992-93, exposed more of the pyramid complex, especially on its north and east sides.

As originally built, the Sun Pyramid was approximately 215 by 215 m at the base, and about 63 m high. It was significantly enlarged at least twice in later periods, resulting in a final size of 225 m along each side. The pyramid was located on the east side of the Avenue of the Dead in the northern half of the city. If the area of monumental construction between the Moon Pyramid and the San Juan Canal is regarded as the central zone of the city, the Sun Pyramid is located at its middle. In addition to its geographic position, the importance of the pyramid is indicated by a cave located under the structure. It is believed by certain scholars that the cave was used for ritual activities, and why the pyramid was constructed where it is today.

Across from us we can see the moon Pyramid. We don't have time to climb it but we learn more about it as we make our way back down the Avenue of the Dead to the bus.

The Pyramid of the Moon is located at the extreme northern end of the Avenue of the Dead, the principal axis of the city of Teotihuacan. The pyramid, facing towards the south, was constructed as the principal monument of the Plaza of the Moon. For many years it was believed that the pyramid contained earlier structures within its walls, but until the Pyramid of the Moon Project excavations began in 1998, archaeologists could only guess at how many there were and how they had been constructed. Over the last four years, as a result of the fieldwork that has been carried out, a large quantity of information and materials have been obtained. All of these materials are now in the process of being analyzed. The team plans to continue the excavations of the Pyramid of the Moon and the adjacent areas over the next few years.

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photo by: Niki-Travelfan