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Teotihuacan
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-12-28 19:28:49 | Teotihuacán, Mexico, Mexico
Keywords: pre-hispanic, UNESCO
Teotihuacan is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. Although the territory was occupied even before Christ, it was only around year 100 that it became a city. The city flourished and was a very important city for more than 500 years, until it was burned and abandoned around year 650. At its peak, Teotihuacan was home of more than 100 000 people! The name means “Where men convert into Gods” was the name given by the Aztecs who rediscovered the city around year 1400, who interpreted the site according to their own beliefs.

The city was visited by Cortez as he conquered the area and was soon forgotten again. Officially, the archaeological exploration of the site began in 1865, with the first real digging operations in 1885. The man in charge of all the archaeological sites was Leopoldo Batres. He recreated (on his own authority) to rebuilt the 5th tier of the Pyramid of the Sun. That decision is very contested, just as his work at Xochicalco's Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent. Both are viewed as alterations and impact the authenticity of the site. But the rest of the Teotihuacan remained untouched and the researches have been closely monitored since.

Today what is being visited is only the ceremonial and religious centre, representing about 10% of the area of the old city. There are many places around that centre they found proof of housing neighbourhoods, but most of them are still under dirt, unexplored. The site open to the public is basically the vast Avenue of the Dead... which is flanked by many temples, palaces and the two spectacular pyramids.

There are many structures that can be climbed on, providing a global view of the majestic city. But the highest of them all is the Pyramid of the Sun, where it was believed the Sun was being created, because of its size but also because of its location just below the zenith of the star on the equinox. That pyramid can be ascended up to the top and its a very popular activity to do. I didn't do it however. Getting up wouldn't have been much of a problem, but getting down would have been for me (because of my scare of height and in places the narrow width of the steps). I've been on smaller structures though, like many palaces and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent inside the citadel (the 3rd tallest structure on the site with its 40 huge steps).

The Avenue of the Dead is about 40 m wide by about 2 km long... and goes from the citadel (entrance #1) to the Pyramid of the Moon (entrance #3). The first two thirds of the length (up to the Pyramid of the Sun) are more challenging because often have to go up and down stairs since the plazas along the way are all surrounded by small walls. The path between the two pyramids is flat and gives you a better perspective on the very imposing structures.

In 1987, the UNESCO placed Teotihuacan on the World Heritage list, because of its impressive architecture, its great historic importance in the history of Meso-America and its remarkable preservation.

Although the site is very impressive, I didn't enjoy the visit as much as my trip to Xochicalco the week before, because mostly of the huge crowd but also because I was on a tour with a limited time on the site. I took a tour to go there because there were many security issues with the buses going there from Mexico City. Another reason I didn't like it as much was because of the presence of numerous vendors (you'd be hit by one every 3 metres or so!) harassing everyone to sell their trinkets, souvenirs and fake obsidian art.


Related posts:
San Agustin site
Tierradentro
Stone spheres of the Diquís valley
Southern Guatemala
Joya de Cerén

Comments

TacosRobert
left this comment on 2014-01-03 08:24:01


Teotihuacan, c'est espagnol pour Thetford-Mines ca non? LOL


Sylvain from HoboDiary.com
left this comment on 2014-01-03 09:01:29


LOL! non, pas vraiment :-).. c'est plus en hauteur qu'en profondeur.




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