Teotihuacan is a vast archaeological complex that predates the Mayas and Aztecs which was home to more than 150,000 people and covered an area of 12 square miles (20 sq. km). The abandoned city was discovered by the Aztecs in the 14th century and they gave it the name of Teotihuacan which means “The place where gods were born”.
The pyramid city was inhabited between 100 B. C. and 650 A. D. and is located in Central Mexico about 30 miles (50 km) from Mexico City.
Avenue of the Dead
The city is laid out from north to south with the Pyramid of the Moon at the north, the Temple (pyramid) of Quetzalcoatl at the south and the Pyramid of the Sun in the center.
The main avenue that runs through the middle of the city was named by the Aztecs as “The Avenue of the Dead.” The avenue is 1.2 miles (2 km) long and 130 feet (40 meters) wide and links the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.
Pyramid of the Sun
The Pyramid of the Sun faces west is the largest structure in Teotihuacan. The pyramid is the 3rd largest pyramid in the world and stands at 216 feet (66 meters) tall with the base measuring approximately 720 by 760 feet (220 by 230 meters).
It take 248 steps to reach the top of the pyramid of the sun but it is worth the effort as there are wonderful views of the entire architectural complex and the surrounding area. The first two photos in this post were taken from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and show the northern end of the city and the landscape of the nearby area.
The Sun Plaza sits at the base of the Pyramid of the Sun and the remains are mostly building walls and steps. The aerial photos of the plaza were taken from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun.
Pyramid of the Moon
The Pyramid of the Moon faces south and is the second largest structure in Teotihuacan. It stands at 140-feet (43-meters) high with a base measuring 426 by 511 feet (130 by 156 meters).
The view of the Avenue of the Dead and the entire complex can be seen from the top of the stairs on the Pyramid of the Moon.
The Moon Plaza is located in front of the Pyramid of the Moon and the center of a circle of smaller pyramids. This plaza reminded me of a cul-de-sac of pyramids.
Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl
The Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl also known as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and is located at the south end of the Avenue of the Dead. It is decorated with 365 heads of the feathered serpent and the rain god that appear to alternate between the two.
This temple is believed to have been used for animal and human sacrifices as there have been remains found that indicate this practice had been done at the temple.
Carvings and art
Some of the other structures were built with stone carvings on the columns and the walls had mural paintings. The photo below shows some of the carvings and a mural painting of a jaguar.
View of the city
Teotihuacan is best known for the two large pyramids but the complex is very large with many smaller pyramids and other structures. The final two photos provide a ground level view of the complex that show how the city looks when walking through the complex.
I have always been interested in architectural sites from past civilizations. Many times there is more speculation about the civilization and the purpose of the things that they left behind than there are facts but the actual reasons that these people did these things aren’t what make these sites interesting to me.
I enjoy seeing strange architecture and unusual crafts from bygone cultures. Part of my interest is the mystery behind the strange architecture and unusual items that have been found. Speculating on the purpose of why these civilizations created things is part of the fun of seeing them.
My highlight of visiting the Teotihuacan architectural site was to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. Seeing pyramids are not common activities and climbing to the top of one the size of the Pyramid of the Sun is a once in a lifetime experience.