The ancient ruins of Teotihuacan in Mexico are the world’s largest pyramid complex! They hold some of the most impressive monuments in all of Mexico. Indeed, this site is home to the third largest pyramid in the world, numerous smaller ones, and even an aqueduct. You can visit Teotihuacan on your trip to Mexico and explore these remarkable places.
With more than 140 structures spread over 40 hectares (100 acres) and several smaller sub-sites, it’s one of the largest pre-Columbian sites in the Americas. Moreover, evidence suggests that Teotihuacan was once home to a population numbering in the tens of thousands. Although they could have been better builders, archaeologists still need to learn why these people settled here or how they constructed such impressive buildings using Stone Age tools.
That is to say, Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Center zone of Mexico. As its name suggests, Teotihuacan means “The City of the Gods” in Nahuatl. It was one of pre-Columbian North America’s largest and most influential cities.
Therefore, Teotihuacan is home to the Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest pyramid in the world after the Great Pyramids at Giza and The Great Pyramid of Cholula. Also, it measures 130 meters high, and its base is 222 meters long.
Teotihuacan, a fascinating site
In this article, we will look at Teotihuacan’s pyramids so that you can learn more about this fascinating site.
The most impressive ancient wonders in the world are the result of enormous time and effort. Teotihuacan Pyramids are the product of a sophisticated culture with knowledge, resources, engineering skills, and even the audacity to create structures that would continue to awe visitors for a thousand years after their creation. The pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico are no exception to this rule. This pre-Columbian archaeological site is home to some of the giant pyramids in North America. Here is a brief look at some interesting facts about these unique structures.
The Temple of the Moon
The Temple of the Moon stands just north of the Pyramid of the Sun. The temple consists of an open-ended plaza, a large platform, and a smaller building on the north side. The temple is believed to have been built in two phases. The first phase was when they built the Plaza, the platform, and the smaller building. The second phase was after creating the Pyramid of the Sun and the Avenue of the Dead. The smaller building is believed to have been a residential structure. The Temple of the Moon was built on a pre-existing structure that may have been a ritual site. The orientation of the building indicates the alignment of the Moon at the time of the spring equinox.
The Temple of the Sun
They built the Temple of the Sun on top of an earlier temple. It is one of the largest and most recognizable buildings in Teotihuacan. The building was constructed in three phases. The first phase was the construction when the Plaza of the Tower of the Crow and the Temple of the Sun. The second phase was was the construction of the South Gateway, the Plaza of the Dead, and the Northern Gateway. The third phase was was the construction of the stairway leading to the top of the temple. The Temple of the Sun was the city’s focal point during the Temple of the Moon. After the construction of the Temple of the Moon, the Temple of the Sun remained a significant structure in the city.
The Great Pyramids of Teotihuacan
The Great Pyramids of Teotihuacan are the true wonders of this ancient city. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas and the third largest pyramid in the world, after the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the Great Pyramid of Cholula. The Pyramid of the Moon is the second-largest pyramid in Teotihuacan. The third largest pyramid is the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent. The Temple of the Sun is the largest building at Teotihuacan. The Temple of the Feathered Serpent is the second largest, while the Temple of the Moon is the third largest. The Avenue of the Dead runs along the center of the Great Pyramids. This is the longest path found at Teotihuacan, stretching almost a kilometer (about half a mile).
The location of Ruins in Teotihuacan
The Ruins of Teotihuacan are found directly south of the Pyramid of the Sun. The Plaza of the Moon and the east building are located on the west side of the Ruins. The Plaza of the Feathered Serpent is on the east side of the Ruins. The Temple of the Scales is located on the southern side of the Ruins. The Temple of the Tlaloc is on the northern side of the Ruins. The Patio Hundido is located in the center of the Ruins. The Plaza of the Moon is a small plaza on the west side of the Ruins. The east building is a building located on the west side of the Ruins. The Plaza of the Feathered Serpent is a large plaza on the east side of the Ruins.
This is how the Teotihuacan people lived.
Outside the immense pyramidal structures, the palaces are located, misnamed for their dimensions that give the idea of being homes for the upper classes when in reality, they were housing units because the Teotihuacan people lived in these large apartment complexes. Teotihuacan had more than 2,000 apartment complexes with a rectangular floor plan, one level, and flat roofs in times of maximum splendor. Each apartment comprises rooms around porticoed courtyards that allow light entry, rainwater collection, and ventilation. It had areas for living and resting, food preparation and consumption, storing raw materials and provisions, work, worship and burial, and waste disposal.
An authentic palace is the so-called Palace of Quetzalpapálotl. The decoration given the name in the Patio of the Pillars shows quetzals with butterflies on their chests, inhabited by priests or leaders and located in the southwest corner of the Plaza de la Luna. Here you can see the Patio of the Jaguars and the Feathered Snails. It was reconstructed in the 60s to show how the Teotihuacan people lived.
What Caused the Decline of Teotihuacan?
The reasons for the decline of Teotihuacan are still unknown. Moreover, the city’s fall ‘s fall happened sometime around AD 650. Internal conflict and a significant population decline may have been the cause of the city’s downfall. Archaeologists believe that the town’s inhabitants may have either moved to another area or been replaced by a new civilization. Since we have yet to determine what caused the downfall of Teotihuacan, it is difficult to make any conclusions about this ancient civilization. However, there is one theory that is worth mentioning. According to this theory, the people living at Teotihuacan used to do extensive farming. They may have used extensive irrigation, which would have required a lot of water. Evidence suggests a drought may have occurred in this area during AD 650. If this theory is correct, the drought would have caused a population decline and Teotihuacan’s downfall.
Did you know that…?
- Teotihuacan is the archaeological site with the most extended history of exploration in Mexico, and there are still unfinished facts.
- The Teotihuacan influence was felt in various areas, including pottery production and architecture. Cotton, precious feathers, fine blankets, shell and snail jewelry, jade, and numerous fruits and vegetables were brought to the city from many markets, even far away.
- The city was razed by fire and then abandoned during the 7th century.
- In 1986 an estimate was made of the construction time of the Pyramid of the Sun: 139 years, considering that it would have been built by 12,000 to 14,000 individuals working 10 hours a day with no rest days.
The ancient ruins of Teotihuacan hold some of the most impressive monuments in all of Mexico. You can visit Teotihuacan on your trip to Mexico and explore these remarkable places. Indeed, when you visit these sites, you can only imagine what it would have been like when they were in their prime. These pyramids and temples were built so long ago that they existed before the Aztecs ruled this region. Without a doubt, visiting Teotihuacan will fascinate you whether you are interested in archaeology or just curious about the past.