Tijuana Gringo : Andar tras mesoamérica
Diary Poemas Archeology


TEOTIHUACAN - Ruined Ancient Mexican City, 19º41 N, 98º50 W.
Name means "Place-Where-Gods-Made" in Nahuatl language of the
Aztecs. The city was already a ruin, centuries old, when the Spanish
came to Mexico in 1519.

Mentioned by chroniclers and colonial travelers, it was not until around
1900 that serious excavation/reconstruction began, followed by
more serious archeology, which continues to this day.

The ruined stone age metropolis is now perhaps the most important
tourist site outside of Mexico City, offering multiple ancient
American wonders for the visitor to view.

The zona arqueoligica is huge: roughly two miles north/south
by one mile across, you could walk all day here and still fall down
exhausted before lunch. (And this was only the center of the ancient city!)
Serious visitors will time themselves accordingly, perhaps
drive between several parking areas, and certainly carry plenty of
water, wear sun-hats and comfortable, safe shoes.

The zone is officially open 8-5, admisssion charged at the gate(s).
Free on Sundays and national Mexican holidays. Bus service is
available to/from Central de Autobuses Norte in Mexico City
(1-2 hours depending on traffic).

In its heyday, the influence of this city was felt far and wide,
from the distant northern deserts, across all of central Mexico, from
the Pacific to the gulf, and deep into Maya country in the south.

It has been recently speculated by leading Mayanists that ambassadorial
warriors from Teotihuacan played a role in Maya politics, perhaps even
allying with, imposing, removing and/or legitimizing certain kings at
major cities like Tikal and Copan, which places show evidence of
central Mexican influence. They also probably controlled a vast
commercial empire.

Neighborhoods of "foreigners" have been found in Teotihuacan
with their own dumps of broken pottery in the styles of other
parts of Mesoamerica.

At its greatest extent, it was one of the largest cities in the world,
(not just in America alone).

The golden age of the city of Teotihuacan began more than 2000
years ago. It lasted for around 800 years. The ancient metropolis
was built and re-built on top of itself. In some excavations
you can see these layers laid down above each other.
Broken steps disappear into the next level.

The foundation of Teotihuacan's power was physical, environmental,
and spiritual. A seven-lobed cave buried deep under the pyramid
of the Sun appears to have been an ancient cult site related to
the mythical appearance of human beings on the earth. Nearby sources
for quality obsidian early on gave the city a commodity desired
all over Mesoamerica. The city's geographical location on the
main route between the central highlands and the tropical gulf gave
it an advantageous position in the greater market/trading system.

But eventually its power came to an end, probably because
of growing competition and strength of other cities.
Archeologists generally agree that most of the city
center was burned around 600 or 700 A.D. It is believed
this was all one, deliberate fire. Reasons are debated by
the moderns, but Moctezuma would have said it was
to re-create the moon and sun.

The two biggest remains are of course the pyramid of
the moon and the pyramid of the sun. A mile further down
the street of the dead, you will find the citadel and
temple of the feathered serpent with its (now)
uncovered wall of monster dragon heads
with giant rain god googly eyes.

Other palaces and temples mark the entire zone.
Back up by the corner on the plaza of the moon,
the complex of Quetzal Butterfly and jaguar palaces
were built on top of each other. They should not be

  The Palace of the Quetzal Butterfly
  has been magnificently reconstructed, and   
  there is another entire building
  buried underneath...
video from Teotihuacan, posted by youtuber damnthestream.

Towns & People Culture & Nature Countryside & Metropolis Ancient, Modern & Colonial Places Valley and Mountain

Andar tras mesoamérica : Diary Poemas Archeology

Tijuana Gringo

copyright 2002-2006 Daniel Charles Thomas