The Pyramids of Teotihuacan
The Archaeological Zone of Teotihuacan is one of the most important Mesoamerican sites in Mexico. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, located 48km northeast of Mexico City, draws over three millions visitors a year.
The origin and the founders of Teotihuacan is uncertain. Archaeologists believe that it is possibly the first Mesoamerican city, built around 100-200B.C. In its prime, between the 1st and 7th century, it was a master planned metropolis sprawling 20 square kilometers with at least 125,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest ancient cities in the Americas.
The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest structure in the zone, and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. It stands at 71.2 meters with a base of 794.8 square meters. It is half the height of the Pyramid of Giza but its base is almost triple the size of its Egyptian counterpart.
Visitors are allowed to climb to its almost flat top. It is a steep 248 steps climb with soft railing for support. There are “rest area” along the way where you can catch your breath if you can’t make it in one shot. Situated at 2300 meters above sea level, most people can only do the climb slowly. At the top, you have an unobstructed 360 ° view of the valley and its surrounding mountains. It’s arguably the highlight of the trip.
The second largest structure in Teotihuacan, the Pyramid of the Moon lies at the end of an avenue called Street of the Dead. It is believed that it started off as a small platform, built for religious purposes, and eventually became a 46 meters pyramid. The elevated platforms were used for rituals that could be witnessed by the masses on the ground. Tombs were found in this pyramid, suggesting of human sacrifices being practiced.
Unlike the Pyramid of the Sun, visitors are not allowed to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Moon. The platform area halfway up the pyramid where visitors end their climb, and it offers the best view of the Pyramid of the Sun and be awed by the precision and layout of this ancient city.
2 thoughts on “Photo of the Week: The Pyramids of Teotihuacan”
Wow, I never thought that these pyramids are so big.
The pyramid from the second image ‘The Pyramid of the Sun’ is very tall from my perspective, and I hope I can go there this spring to count the steps and to make tons of pictures.
Jess, I didn’t expect it to be so big too! It’s well worth the trip to Teotihuacan if you are in Mexico! Hope you make it there.