Quebec - Patagonia 2017-2019

(North and Central America)
unknown length - solo travel - Suzuki DR650 moto

Teotihuacan

November 24, 2017  —  Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

The pyramids of Teotihuacan are among the most famous and most visited of Mexico. The site is located 50 km north-east of Mexico City and is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site. The city of Teotihuacan once spread over 20 km2, but nowadays only a small part of it can be seen.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Hot air balloon ride at dawn.

Teotihuacan was the biggest pre-Hispanic city of Mexico and probably the capital of the largest empire of that time. The city layout was plotted at the beginning of the 1st century AD, and the Pyramid of the Sun was completed by AD 150. The rest of the city was developed between AD 250 and AD 600. Social, environmental and economic factors contributed to the decline and eventual collapse of the city in the 8th century.

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Pyramid of the Moon

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Pyramid of the Moon.

The Pyramid of the Moon is smaller than the Sun Pyramid, but has a more elaborate architecture. Completed around AD 300, the rectangle structure has a base of 152 by 132 metres and a height of 43 metres.

In front of the pyramid, the Plaza of the Moon contains 12 smaller pyramids for a total of 13. This key number is of great importance in the Mesoamerican ritual calendar (Mexico and Central America).

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Plaza of the Moon.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
With my camouflage clothes.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Pyramid of the Moon.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
At sunrise.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
With all the people, it is easier to get an idea of the size of the pyramids.
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Pyramid of the Sun

It's the world's third-largest pyramid. The largest ones are from Egypt, the Cheops and Cholula pyramids. At the height of Teotihuacan, the pyramid was painted a bright red and must have been an impressive sight at sunset.

The pyramid was built between AD 100 and AD 150. Its square base measures 22 metres and its height is 70 metres. The structure is made of three million tonnes of stone and was built without metal tools, the wheel, or pack animals.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Pyramid of the Sun seen from the rear.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Pyramid and Plaza of the Sun.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
At sunset.
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Quetzalpapálotl Palace

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Front of the Quetzalpapálotl Complex.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
At the top of the stairs, this statue.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

Next to the Plaza of the Moon, the central part of this palace is called the 'Patio of Pillars.' The pillars are decorated with birds reliefs surrounded by butterflies and quetzals (a bird from Central America).

It was probably a house for priests or some leaders.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Bird relief.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Palacio de los Jaguares

This palace displays the jaguar god blowing conch shells and praying to the rain god Tláloc.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Templo de los Caracoles Emplumados

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

This temple is located on a small pyramid decorated with birds painting that resemble quetzals or parrots. The temple with its base is entirely located under a bigger pyramid.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Mural Paintings Museum

This museum showcases superb paintings from the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Some of these murals are reconstructions.

Imagine the temples and upper-class houses decorated with these paintings. It must have been extraordinary when the city was at its peak.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Museo del Sitio (Site Museum)

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

This museum displays the rich art that was developed in Teotihuacan. The artisans at that time must have been very skilled...

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Calzada de los Muertos

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
The Avenue of the Dead near the Pyramid of the Moon.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
The Avenue of the Dead.

The Avenue of the Dead is a 2 km road linking the Pyramid of the Moon to the Ciudadela and passing in front of the Pyramid of the Sun.

On the adjacent photo, I am standing on the Pyramid of the Sun and the Avenue of the Dead can be seen up to the Pyramid of the Moon. However, only about 1/3 of the avenue is visible. On the left (behind), there is more than one kilometre of this avenue flanked for most of its length by ruins of living quarters.

The photos below show some of the structures flanking the Avenue of the Dead.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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La Ciudadela

At the southern end of the Avenue of the Dead is the Ciudadela. Archeologists think it was the house of the supreme leader of the city. It's a vast complex surrounded by walls with a big open space inside. To the east of this inner courtyard is the Quetzalcóatl Temple (see below).

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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La Ciudadela - Temple de Quetzalcóatl

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
The temple is made of two pyramids. The temple with the carvings is behind the square pyramid.
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

This temple was built around AD 250 and was probably used for human sacrifices. Skeletal remains of 117 people were found near the temple. DNA tests show that there were from various regions of Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America).

The temple on the two pictures below had 7 levels. Nowadays, only 4 levels with superb carvings can be seen. The temple is 'hidden' behind the square pyramid on the panorama above.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Palacio de Tetitla

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

The Palace of Tetitla is located a few hundreds metres to the west of the Avenue of the Dead. In this large palace, more than 120 walls are decorated with murals of the god Tláloc (rain), jaguars, serpents, and eagles.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Palacio de Atetelco

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico

About 400 metres further west than the previous palace is the Palace of Atetelco. It contains a mix of original and restored murals.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
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Palacio de Tepantitla

Unlike the two previous palaces, this one is located on the eastern side of the Avenue of the Dead, about 500 metres north-east of the Pyramid of the Sun. It contains paintings of the Rain God Tláloc.

Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico
Teotihuacán - State of Mexico - Mexico