Saturday, December 27, 2008
The archaeological zone of Teotihaucan is located 50km northeast of Mexico City in the Valle de Mexico. The site is dominated by two large pyramids, Piramides del Sol y de la Luna. The city was the largest ancient city in Mexico and the capital of the largest pre-Hispanic empire.
The strictly geometric city plan was laid out in the beginning of the 1st century AD and the Piramides del Sol was completed around AD 150. The city grew over the next 450 years before it began its decline due to social, environmental and economic factors leading to it’s collapse in the 8th century AD.
The city consists of two main avenues. The Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead) running north south which is lined with talud-tablero, stepped pyramid structures of sloping and vertical portions, former palaces of Teotihuacans elite, which were originally painted in bright colours.
The Piramides del Sol is the third largest pyramid in the world. The base is 222m long on each side and is 70m high. The pyramid is constructed with 3 million tonnes of stone. The smaller Piramides de la Luna was completed around AD 300.
The scale and geometry of the site reminded me of the Forbidden City in Beijing, a city which was built over 1000 years later on the other side of the world. The monumentality and durability of the plan and major structures on the site is remarkable considering the city was built without the use metal tools, pack animals or the wheel.
Teohuatican on World Heritage Site