Pyramids of the Sun and Moon; visiting the largest city of the pre-Columbian Americas
Teotihuacan is an archaeological site around 25 miles north-east of Mexico City. It contains some of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as the 3 mile long Avenue of the Dead, and examples of extremely well preserved murals.
Just how wise it was to clamber up these pyramids – 2000m+ above sea level – the day after arriving into a sweltering Mexico City, I’m not sure… It was an amazing place to visit though.
The sheer scale of the place and the buildings takes your breath away, let alone the hundreds of steps to reach to top of the pyramids. The Pyramid of the Sun stands at 70+ metres as the largest of the structures.
The earliest buildings at Teotihuacan date to about 200 BC, with the city reaching its peak around AD 450 and collapse starting in AD 500 Official excavation and restoration has been ongoing since the 16th Century. In 2013 a robot discovered strange yellow spheres underneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, with ‘jade statues, jaguar remains, a box filled with carved shells and rubber balls’ being found in November 2014, and a chamber filled with liquid mercury discovered earlier this year.
We went unguided as part of the Architectural Association’s Summer School to Las Pozas in 2014, and this trip was quite a quick visit; the morning had been spent in the National Anthropology Museum.
We climbed the pyramids of the Sun and Moon and walked along the Avenue of the Dead (around 2km) as well as exploring a little the other side of the river in an afternoon.
You could easily spend the whole day there seeing some of the excavated finds and murals in the museums on-site as well as checking out the sculpture park.
Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacan
Ecatepec Pirámides km.22 + 600, Municipio de Teotihuacan, Estado de México, C.P. 55800
(approx 40km North East of Mexico City)