Teotihuacan

Trip Start Jul 08, 2007
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Flag of Mexico  ,
Sunday, July 29, 2007

History on Teotihuacan:



Teotihuacan or the "Place where men become gods" is located at 50 km
from northwestern Mexico City at the core of a region known as "Central
Mexico". It has been regarded one of the most important sites in Middle
America during Classic period, and a model city for cultures that
settled in that region in the subsequent centuries.



After a stage characterized by the presence of villages, Teotihuacan
became more important during the early 100 years AC, when the settlers
of Mexico Valley clustered together in the area that in the following
years would be occupied by the city. The labor force insisted on the
intense exploitation of several natural resources, and on the
construction of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. One
of the reasons why Teotihuacán could become the more planned and
influential Middle American city during Classic period were the
governors' master plans. Such master plans entailed not only economic
aspects, but also an early orientation and planning of the city
regarded as a model of the Universe and the place where it originated.



The control of Otumba and Pachuca's obsidian mines allowed Teotihuacán
to centralize the production of tools made of such material within the
city, not only for domestic consumption, but also for exportation. By
means of this specialized production as economic base and of the
distribution monopoly of the Thin Orange Pottery, Teotihuacán developed
a trading system that covered almost every Middle America region,
including remote places, such as the Mayan, the current state of
Guerrero, and the Gulf of Mexico areas.



Besides, its metropolitan nature, its trading system, and its religious
importance -probably arising from their huge pyramids and religious
center- were sufficiently attractive to foster a floating population
that enriched the major city and the inhabitants' life.



Finally, after a sustained growth, external pressures arising from the
emerging sites of Central Mexico must have influenced over the collapse
of Teotihuacán by 750 AC. However, the evidences of fires and of a
systematic and devastating destruction of the buildings placed at the
Avenue of the Dead constitute an irrefutable proof that the internal
conflicts must have been the main cause of Teotihuacan collapse.



Urbanism

In the model of the city we can appreciate the Avenue of the Dead, the
Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, the Citadel, and the
Temple of Quetzalcóatl. Besides the monumental section, it is possible
to distinguish a great number of residential complexes, mainly those
that have been excavated



Pyramid of the Sun

There is a cave underneath the pyramid, where settlers used to practice
rituals since early periods of time.  It is the biggest pyramid in
the world (volume wise) and the 3rd highest.



Pyramid of the Moon

The Pyramid of the Moon, as well as the Pyramid of the Sun, was one of
the early-built constructions in Teotihuacán. Most recent researches
have proved that the pyramid, as can be seen today, is the result of
several layers of construction and amplifications.



Temple of Quetzalcóatl

It is characterized by its complex ornamentation in which prevail two
sculptural elements: a head of a feathered serpent and another artwork
that has been thought to be a representation of the God of the Storms,
or as a huge headdress with ornaments and a knot.



Residential Complexes and Mural Painting

Inside the city, there were around two thousand residential complexes
destined for housing and other activities. In the central courtyard,
which generally featured a small temple in the center, inhabitants
should have carried out the corresponding rituals..



The idealized man

In Teotihuacán's anthropomorphic representations people can appreciate
the lack of individual traits, as well as the predominance of the
established aesthetic patterns.



The God of Storms

The God of Storms was the more portrayed deity within Teotihuacán, both
in mural painting and in sculpture and pottery. Traits and elements
related to this god make it come closer to the Aztec's god Tláloc,
which it is very likely to be its precedent.



Specialized Production and Trade

Teotihuacán's economic base, along with other activities, were the
massive and specialized production of certain products, the monopoly of
certain sources of raw materials, and the establishment of a trading
route that covered almost every Middle American region.



Teotihuacán Contacts

The intense interaction between Teotihuacán and other contemporary
cultures is archaeologically confirmed. In such way, the most important
enclaves were the Oaxaca barrio, and the Traders' or Gulf of Mexico
barrio.



Teotihuacán Collapse

The collapse of Teotihuacán, by 750 AC, has been ascribed to several
factors, such as the appearing and strengthening of other centers of
power -e.g. Xochicalco and Cholula- that are claimed to have
interrupted Teotihuacán's trading routes. Furthermore, internal
conflicts must have been the cause of the great fire that took place in
750 AC.



Clara Luz Díaz Oyarzábal

Curator

Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

ascmak
ascmak on

Hope you climbed the pyramids!
I visited Teotihuacan three years ago and I was really amazed that this site was so close to the city! My visit here was definately a highlight of my trip to Mexico City. It's incredible how the site still stands today. Walking down the Avenue of the Dead... I can almost picture and feel what it must have been like years and years ago when the city was 'alive'!
Safe travels.

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