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Teotihuacan Mexico

by WCC on January 24, 2012

in North America

Teotihuacan is a former town in the Mexican state of México . Today’s archaeological site is located near the present city of San Juan Teotihuacan , with about 45,000 inhabitants and is located about 45 kilometers northeast of Mexico City. The metropolitan area has been inhabited continuously since the sixth century BC. Between 100 and 650 AD, Teotihuacan was the dominant cultural, economic and military center of Mesoamerica . At the height of their development, the city had possibly up to 200,000 residents and was in its time the largest city in the Americas and one of the largest cities in the world. From about 650 began its influence wane until the city was largely abandoned by 750, which is still not fully understood reasons. In central Mexico, cultural influences, however, were still up to the Spanish conquest of Mexico . The Aztecs, who found in their migration to the highlands of Mexico, Teotihuacan as for several centuries, abandoned ruins, saw in her a mythical place and named it with the surviving to the present day name Teotihuacan name is as where you becomes a God.

teotihuacan Teotihuacan Mexico


The city has been studied for the first time the arrival of the Spaniards, but instead find professional excavations only since about 1900. The absence of written legacy hampered the research in no small measure, and caused many lessons can be learned only by interpretation of findings. Teotihuacán belongs since 1987 to the World Heritage Site by UNESCO .

The archaeological site is located in central Mexico, northeast of the Valley of Mexico in the Valley of Teotihuacan. This covers an area of over 500-600 square kilometers and is bordered by several extinct volcanoes and the south by a mountain range with mountains up to 2800 meters altitude limit. Through the valley of the fins is the San Juan River, fed by several smaller springs and seasonal in the today Xaltocan Lake empties.

teotihuacan map Teotihuacan Mexico

teotihuacan map

In the Valley of Teotihuacan, there is a warm temperate climate , 1921-1968, an average annual rainfall was measured at 550 millimeters per year and an annual average temperature of 14.8 degrees Celsius. The Winter usually starts in October and can last into May . Then begins the lasting through Octoberrainy season , with most of the rain falls during the summer months.

For agriculture, the valley is only of limited use. While the eastern part has mainly shallow soils and little water is available, there are deeper in the western part of alluvial soils , and the San Juan leads here because some sources of water all year round. There are close to but larger reserves of exploitable resources, such as obsidian (especially on the eastern edge of the valley), limestone , clay minerals , and several types of volcanic rock. The fauna probably consisted of forests of oak and cypress trees in the wetter, and various shrubs in the drier areas. to the people of usable fauna existed several rabbits and rabbit species, rodents, birds, reptiles and a deer, the white-tailed deer.

teotihuacan mask Teotihuacan Mexico

teotihuacan mask

The city of Teotihuacan was at the peak of its development an area of more than 20 square kilometers of one. The layout of the town was based on a grid pattern, which was followed exactly. Example, it was also the San Juan River, which flows through the city, adapted by channeling the grid.

The main axis of the town is called the Avenue of the Dead (in Nahuatl : miccaotli ), which runs through the city with a deviation of 15 ° 30 ‘east to north-south direction, but not continuous, because it is constantly interrupted by stairs dams . The northern end of the street is the Pyramid of the Moon with its square and the adjacent upstream Quetzalpapalotl Palace. In the south it runs at the Great Complex (Great Compound)and the opposite this temple of Quetzalcoatl by on the mountain Cerro Gordo to, was erected on the summit of a temple. There is also the great Hofkomplex, the Ciudadela ( Citadel ), possibly lived in the royal family or their direct subordinates. In between, the road flanked by numerous buildings that are due to the great effort with which they were built and equipped, holds for residential buildings of the ruling elites.

teotihuacan mexico Teotihuacan Mexico

teotihuacan mexico

The center of the city is the Pyramid of the Sun , after the Great Pyramid of Cholula , the second largest pyramid in the Americas. In front of her which is plataforma adosada (in German as “connected platform”), could have served as Zeremonialplatz. The zone, which contained the largest pyramids and the above-mentioned upper-class houses were separated by a wall from the rest of the city. Most of the buildings outside it became known as apartment compounds identified, large residential complexes, which were designed for multiple families. They were in groups ( barrios , Spanish for neighborhoods) together, which in turn are grouped around a large compound, which had its own temple complex.There were also neighborhoods that have been inhabited by people of other nations, such as from Zapotec , Mixtec and Maya .

teotihuacan pyramid Teotihuacan Mexico

teotihuacan pyramid

Teotihuacan was located in the northwest of the oldest parts of town, with a relatively high population density and many temples from the early days of the city. The Southwest was settled rather sparse, however, because there was the greatest part of the scale in the immediate vicinity of the town of irrigated fields. Agriculture was in the east because of the aforementioned lack of water is hardly possible.

The Pyramid of the Sun is in the center of Teotihuacan. With a footprint of 222 times 225 meters, a height of over 65 meters and a volume of about one million cubic meters, it is the third largest pyramid in the world. It was built around 100 AD in one operation and was the first large building that was built .in Teotihuacán. Its present name was given by the Aztecs.

teotihuacan pyramid of the sun Teotihuacan Mexico

teotihuacan pyramid of the sun

The pyramid now has five stages , initially there were only four. The archaeological layman Leopoldo Batres in 1906 tried to expose, to restore the pyramid and it went out of the existence of five levels. Indeed, today’s fifth stage was the first place by Batres’ Working on this assumption.On the side which faces the street of the dead, a staircase leads on the device connected to the pyramid plataforma adosada on the top. There was a small temple, which is no longer visible today. At its core is the pyramid of adobe and basalt , while the outer skin of stucco was painted and covered, which is now nothing but get more.
In 1968 the entrance to a cave was discovered, which led to the Pyramid of the Sun. There, in addition to artifacts from the period Teotihuacán also objects were found in Aztec times. Moreover, since in later Mesoamerican religions were always caves as places of creation, it is assumed that the pyramid was used for religious purposes. Which God had ordained the Pyramid of the Sun is not yet assured. Today, no paintings, there are more that could prove the worship of a particular god, it was (often with the later Aztec God merely a vessel with a picture of the “storm god” Tlaloc identified) found, but this alone is also no conclusive evidence that This god was worshiped here as well.

The art historian Esther Pasztory of the U.S. Columbia University brings the pyramid but with a particular deity in combination, the “Great Goddess”. are some of her illustrations, which indicate that she was a fertility goddess. In some cases, it is also brought out in connection with caves. Pasztorys assumption is now based on the frequency of images of the Great Goddess and the resulting large and important to the interpretation of the cave as a typical female symbol.

The north end of Avenue of the Dead Pyramid of the Moon was located about a century after the Pyramid of the Sun. With a footprint of 120 by 150 meters, reaches a height of 46 meters. Although it is less so in fact than the Pyramid of the Sun, its tip is the tip of the Pyramid of the Sun at approximately the same height as the Pyramid of the Moon is on a small rise. Unlike the Pyramid of the Sun, they built in several stages. The earliest moon pyramid was built around 100 AD, to 350 total followed by seven phases. Excavations under the pyramid brought to light several chambers in which were found human remains.

Esther Pasztory suggested that the Pyramid of the Moon the “storm god” was dedicated to a deity who was responsible, according Pasztory for war victims, but also for policy affairs. The pyramid has been built on this elevated place, because they did from virtually any point in the city was visible. With the architecture of the pyramid, therefore the people should also be noted that the city as a whole, “Fortress of order” the midst of chaotic and disordered nature represented.

In almost all buildings in Teotihuacan murals there. They are the main source for the study of the daily life of local people and the social structure. When the paint was commonly used as a red background color, the other colors were chosen to represent the motifs. These are numerous, but their lives also hold a great deal of symbolism. Were treated including mythological and religious subjects, but also pictures of people in their everyday activities and especially by high dignitaries and warriors in battle.

Sculptures, there are essentially two forms: those that are directly involved in the architecture of a building, and smaller objects, such as small figures or masks. For the first group are the sculptures of the temple of Quetzalcoatl example, are mounted on the facade of many snake heads as figure of the god Quetzalcoatl. Many of the smaller sculptures made of stone, alabaster, obsidian and other materials and were processed with stone tools. Often they are decorated with shells or obsidian. Vases and other vessels were made of clay, however. Many of the masks are to be regarded more as sculptures, since they have flat backs and no eyes and mouth openings and therefore not intended to be worn by persons apparently were.

Construction method of tablero (flat surface) and Talud (slope) in the design of building facades. Yellow: base plates, red: Development of Tablero, green: internal design, brown: raw surface beneath the stucco cladding (black)
The building in Teotihuacán were usually made of stone and adobe built. A characteristic feature of this architecture is the so -Tablero Talud . This term is the alternation between a vertical surface (tablero) , the protruding box-like and is sunk in the inner field, and often painted, and a projecting upwardly and inwardly sloping (Talud) refers. In the Classic period in Mesoamerica, the Tablero Talud- used not only in Teotihuacán, but also some other cultures, but the occurrence of this style element is not seen as the sole indicator of a supremacy of Teotihuacan, but at this time was instead a general stylistic devices.
Another characteristic feature is the high degree of symmetry. This is not just individual buildings but also the arrangement of a single building with several recognizable and even in urban planning. Teotihuacán was arranged according to two axes in the east-west and north-south direction and aligned with the entire basic grid in a certain direction. Whether or religious motives also played a role, as with the Maya , is uncertain.

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