An archaeological treasure in Mexico

Teotihuacán: An ancestral and impressive pre-Hispanic city

By Notimex Friday, July 26, 2013 comments

Teotihuacan archaeological zone Mexico

Mexico, a vast and rich country concerning traditions and culture; featuring a unique historical legacy that dates back to ancestral times, where a great number of pre-Hispanic civilizations settled and built impressive cities, while developing a very particular lifestyle based upon beliefs and customs, with a hint of astronomy and spirituality (from which several sciences took their origin, specifically in the astronomical side). Having said this, there is an impressive archaeological treasure in the midst of a great metropolis called Mexico city; a marvelous pre-Hispanic city, religious and cultural center that extended across a 25 km surface, which according to historical registers, hosted over 200 thousand inhabitants! I’m referring to one of Mexico’s greatest attributes: The ancestral pre-Hispanic city Teotihuacan, yet another hidden treasure that offers Mexico´s residents and visitors a different taste of history and charm. Join us on today’s journey across our country’s origin and inception; through archaic civilizations that once ruled the world, whose splendor and glory marked history, and set the bar and basis for science, astronomy and philosophy (only to name a few). Let us guide you across Teotihuacan, also known as The City of the Gods, where a vast array of Mexican cultures (from náhuatl, mexica, and even aztecas and zapotecas) established their homes for thousands of years.

Let’s start our journey with one of the most important things about this wonderful archaeological city: Its location. Teotihuacan is located in a valley, in the center of Mexico. Getting there is quite an easy task; if you’re currently in nearby areas, I suggest you take the road and enjoy the ride… It should be no longer than two hours when departing from any of the following: Toluca, Mexico City, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Michoacan, Morelos, Puebla, Queretaro or Tlaxcala.

It was the year 500 BC (approximately), when the city of Teotihuacan began to be constructed; however it wasn’t until the year 200 AD that the two most significant buildings of this marvelous archaeological site, were officially finished: La Pirámide del Sol y de la Luna, translated into English as the pyramid of the sun and of the moon. By the year 650 AD, Teotihuacan already had 2,600 important buildings, whose evolution and importance certainly marked yet another page in Mexico’s history, which can today be seen in the country’s modern landscape. It wasn’t until some years later, precisely 150 years, in 800 AD, when the residents of Teotihuacan abandoned the city, without leaving any trace behind whatsoever! Several remains and vestiges have been found in the area, which has led experts to design theories about the civilization’s lifestyle, deities and beliefs, and so forth… Despite this, the reason for their departure remains uncertain. As an additional fact, and very important I must add, according to nahuatl mythology, Teotihuacan was the place where the sun and the moon were created.

You may be wondering what the best attractions and features of Teotihuacan are… From a personal point of view, I consider the mere fact of being standing in the midst of such magnificent grounds, is simply jaw-breaking! There’s nothing like feeling positive vibes run all over your body, that peculiar sensation that fills the soul and enhances the spirit… There is nothing like it! Seriously, as soon as you set foot on Teotihuacan, all sorts of marvelous emotions will overwhelm you with enchantment and magic. Just close your eyes and think for a moment that right there, where you’re standing, a series of rituals, sacrifices, interactions, magic and history were written, in yet another chapter of Mexico’s history… Trust me, there’s nothing like it!

What will you find in Teotihuacan? At first, from the moment of your arrival, you’ll come across the Calzada de los Muertos, which is the main axis of the entire city of Teotihuacan; it’s a pretty wide area, featuring approximately a 4 kilometer surface, where you’ll be completely surrounded by impressive pre-Hispanic buildings, which go from palaces, temples and other important constructions. To the west of the Calzada de los Muertos, you’ll find La Pirámide del Sol (translated in English as the pyramid of the Sun), which is, as I stated previously, one of the most significant buildings of this ancestral city. It’s a structure with 162 steps, where several religious ceremonies and rituals were held (as a matter of fact, some of these are still being carried out); it’s important to mention that just as it names indicates so, the pyramid was dedicated to the Sun, and is actually the second largest of Mexico. Moving on… To the north of the Calzada de los Muertos, you’ll be able to admire the majestic pyramid dedicated to the moon: La Pirámide de la Luna, has 111 steps and a central altar… In addition, it’s surrounded by a set of buildings with a very symmetrical order.

The Piramide del Sol and La Piramide de la Luna, are the two most important buildings of the entire city of Teotihuacan; however, this doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing worth seeing… There are several features of the entire grounds of Teotihuacan that you can’t miss out on. For instance the Templo de Quetzalcóatl (Quetzalcoatl’s Temple); the jaguar’s palaces and the palace of Quetzal-Papalotl; in addition, you’ll find the Templo de los Caracoles Emplumados (The temple of the feathered snails) and much more. Let me remind you that each of these buildings are part of an amazing civilization (in fact, a mixture of cultures) that inhabited back in ancient times, and are the evidence of the rise and wonders behind such impressive metropolis. The ancestral city of Teotihuacan also features museums, hosting very interesting and artistic attributes, and even some historical records and manuscripts… There are two I suggest you visit, the El Museo de Sitio (translated into English as The museum of the site) and El Museo de la Pintura Mural (translated into English as The museum of Mural Paintings). Teotihuacan has yet another unique feature, ideal for kids and one of their favorite places too: Reino Animal (Animal Kingdom), which is a zoo that holds in a wonderful and exotic variety of flora and wild fauna.

Teotihuacan is the living proof of a multi-culture that prevails today in Mexico; it’s important to emphasize that Mexico is a vast and wide country concerning nature destinations and traditions. In addition, it’s also a country with a fusion of cultures and civilizations, which meet to form the basis of today’s modern and contemporary Mexico. Discover Mexico; enjoy each and every wonderful experience available for you, in every single corner of the country… However, if you happen to be near the center of the country, I strongly suggest you take a day trip to explore beyond the city lights and buildings, and immerse yourself into an ancestral journey… A true and unique archaeological treasure in the midst of a great metropolis: Teotihuacan.