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 Culture & Traditions

Teotihuacan: The Place where Men Become Gods

 


 

 

Among the hundreds of archaeological sites in Mexico, Teotihuacan is the most visited, even more than the New Wonder of the World, Chichen Itza, or the mysterious city of Monte Albán, in Oaxaca. Teotihuacan is for Mexicans a pre-Hispanic Mecca. Teotihuacan is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

 

Visiting Teotihuacan is a pilgrimage many families make, that creates some of the most treasured memories of our childhood, and having climbed the hundreds of steps of the Pyramid of the Moon is an experience that we like to boast about.

 

To ancient Mexicans, Teotihuacan was a holy city. Located a 40 miles northeast of Mexico City, it was the birthplace of the fifth sun. “The world had been destroyed four times. To bring forth the rise of a new sun the gods gathered at Teotihuacan.   

They performed sacrifices and life returned to earth: the fifth sun was born.

Many assume that the Aztecs or Mexicas built Teotihuacan, but it was not. In fact, historians do not yet know who constructed it, but they do confirm that it dates centuries before our era, and that in its period of splendor it was inhabited by 150 to 200 thousand people and that it extended more than 20 square kilometers of built territory.

Teotihuacan became the most important city of ancient Mexico from 300 B.C. to 900 A.D., approximately. During this period, the Teotihuacan Empire exerted its influence upon many regions in Mesoamerica.

Its architecture displayed monumental characteristics.

 

Given its mystical essence, thousands of people visit Teotihuacan and ascend the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon during the spring equinox every March 21. Do not visit Teotihuacan if your intention is to learn about this archaeological marvel in depth.

 

The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon supported temples dedicated to a particular deity.         The city exudes an atmosphere of peace and greatness.       

 

The ceremonial center was planned along a North -South axis, known as Avenue of the Dead, on both sides of which, the palaces where the higher class lived and the temples for their religious ceremonies were built.       

 

A thousand years later, Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital was built after the Teotihuacan model.        

 

The urban center had a sewer system, which demonstrates their knowledge of city planning.        

 

Each residential complex was made up of many rooms and interior courtyards.       

 

Quetzalcoatl Temple

The Quetzalcoatl Temple shows the extent of their remarkable artistic talent. It is beautifully decorated with conch shells, plumes, and serpents.

 

They decorated their temples and the palaces of priests and noblemen with frescoes and mural paintings of religious themes.

 

The Teotihuacan were great merchants and they extended their trading as far as the Gulf of Mexico and Oaxaca.        

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