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Xochicalco
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-12-22 16:05:44 | Miacatlan, Morelos, Mexico
Keywords: pyramids, UNESCO
It's name signifies “in the house of flowers” and it's a very important site for the pre-hispanic history of Mexico. It was built around year 650 and was burned and abandoned around year 900. But during its 250 years of existence, the site was an important trading post along many commercial roads in the Mesoamerica. It's location and isolation helped in preserving the site throughout the centuries, but also makes it difficult to reach for visitors.

It's built on a series of hills, in a remote location from current roads and development. The hills were a blessing for the fortification of the trading post, but were also a curse for the construction of the large areas. To solve the issue, they built large retaining walls to support the plazas and built artificial plateaus to support the city components.

The site is built in three layers: residential and fortifications, communal areas and Acropolis. In the middle level, you find all installations used by the collectivity, including temples, ball courts, etc. The highest level, the Acropolis, was reserved for the rich and educated members of the population. In addition to the largest and more luxurious accommodations, many pieces of art were found in this section, indicative of the social status of the inhabitants.

The inhabitants of the city mostly paid tribute to the God Tláloc, which governed the cycle of water on the planet, from rain, to rivers to evaporation carried by the wind. The upper class was also adoring the God Quetzalcóatl, better known as the Feathered Serpent. The temple (or pyramid) of the Feathered Serpent is certainly one of the most impressive structures on the site. Not because of its size, but because of its decorations on the sides. The experts say it shows clear influence from another city North of Mexico City (Teotihuacan) and from Maya civilization.




The site is not even totally explored yet. There are many places around the core of the site where the archeologists know there are some structures, but they haven't been unearthed and catalogued, because of money issues. The museum on the site is very well done and provided loads of information about the life of the people in the city and of the area. The site has been placed on the World Heritage List in 1999.

It's a site located in a zone hard to reach from Mexico City, there's not even a tour leaving from the capital to go there! Even by the closest town (Cuernavaca), there are is no transportation to the site itself, besides tours. I would have had great difficulty to reach it without the help of a local member of Mensa who provided me transportation and with whom I spent a great day (in which we also covered the site for the Early 16th century monasteries). This was the first time I saw any form of old pyramids and it was a great experience!


Related posts:
What I've seen in Mexico
Historical Centre of Oaxaca and Monte Albán
El Tajin
Ouro Preto
Modern Ensemble of Pampulha

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