North of Mexico City lies some of the most amazing and mysterious ruins in the world. Two twin pyramids, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun look over Teotihuacan, a sacred, abandoned city of ancient Mesoamericans. The area spans four miles and the two pyramids are the largest constructed-monuments in all Central America.
The Pyramid of the Sun is perfectly aligned with the solstice and rises 64 meters into the sky. Its mass is one-half of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The Pyramid of the Moon is half the size of the Pyramid of the Sun and is a kilometer away. Both pyramids represent the meaning of the name Teotihuacan, “City of the Gods.” Even the Aztecs, who inhabited the city 1,000 years after the Pyramids’ construction, were amazed at the buildings and could scarce replicate their size and splendor.
It is unknown to whom we can attribute the building of Teotihuacan, but the Zapotecs, Maya, Toltecs and others participated in the cult of Quetzalcoatl, the serpent god worshipped in the city. These cultures spread Quetzalcoatl throughout Central America, building lavish monuments devoted to him. Deep within the Pyramid of the Sun are “glimmer chambers” where priests were initiated into the cult. However, now the rooms are sealed and off-limits. The Pyramid was built on top of a lava tube in the 2nd century of the Common Era. Both pyramids were originally terraced with tall, steep stairs leading from the ground outside to the tip top. Some archaeologists theorize that Teotihuacan was not a city at all, but rather some sort of priestly ritual ground.
Since there are no buildings resembling known stone residences within the city borders, it is likely that most people lived out in the wilderness in shelters made of perishable materials such as wood. Because of the giant open spaces in the city and the model of presentation of the twin pyramids, the ritual activity conducted here–perhaps sacrificial in nature–likely was seen or even involved thousands. The Avenue of the Dead connects the two pyramids. In between, along the Avenue are hundreds of smaller pyramids and religious shrines. All the buildings form a nicely assembled grid showing that the city was planned carefully and constructed rapidly. Every building is positioned along the sun’s axis.
In the seventh century of the Common Era the city was burned with much destruction. One hypothesis states that the city was, besides a religious center, a center for commerce. The interconnectivity between religion and commerce in Central America is well documented and remains a leading example why invaders or a warring neighbor ransacked the city. At its peak, during a religious festival or event, Teotihuacan could have held more people than Rome during Caesar’s time. To get to this relic of Mexico’s past, travel 45km northeast of Mexico City on a daily tour bus. Besides the city proper are dozens of other caves and monuments momentous to see in the Valley of Teotihuacan.
Date posted: 18th March, 2014Home > Articles > Teotihuacan-Mexico