TeotihuacanJanuary 2 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C
Today we picked up where we left off on Monday and finally made it out to see the awesome pyramids at Teotihuacán. Our first brief stop was within Mexico City at Tlatelolco, which was the marketplace dating to the same period as the Templo Mayor in Centro Histórico. Next, and as is the case with most tours in Mexico, we made a pit stop for tequila and mezcal tasting and a demonstration of obsidian sculptures. We were then shown the importance of the agave cactus to the indigenous people. The point of the blooms were used as weapons and as sewing needles with the fibers of the plant acting as thread. Both the inner and outer layers of the leaves can be peeled off and used to write upon.
Then we drove the 40 kilometres to the pyramids at Teotihuacán, which is known today as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. At its peak it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population estimated at 125,000 or more, making it at least the sixth-largest city in the world during its era.
The city covered 8 square miles and is thought to have been established around 100 BC with major monuments continuously under construction until about 250 AD. The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries AD, but its major monuments were sacked and systematically burned around 550 AD.
We climbed the 217 treacherous steps to the peak of the sun pyramid and walked down the avenue of the dead toward the pyramid of the moon, flanked on both sides by a array of imposing altars. Not only is the architecture and size of these ancient structures impressive, the degree of detail that went into the builds is difficult to fathom. All the mortar between the large stones in the walls contains smaller decorative pebbles of volcanic origin, evenly spaced to be as appealing to the eye as possible. Walking down the avenue, one is almost transported back in time and imagines what the hustle and bustle of the day may have been like.
We visited an ancient home and place of worship where many of the murals on the walls have survived the centuries, with their vibrant colours fully intact.
When we left the pyramids we stopped for a quick lunch before completing the tour at the shrine to Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where it is said the Virgin Mary appeared to an indigenous man in 1531. The original shrine, which is astonishingly beautiful, is unfortunately sinking into the clay and was replaced in 1978 with a new basilica that has a capacity of 10,000 worshippers.
We still have one day remaining to explore this fascinating city and I feel we’ve barely scratched the surface. There is no doubt in my mind that we will return here in the not too distant future to continue our exploration of this vibrant metropolis.Read more