Party and Photos: Atzin Valencia Flores, Felix Ossig-Bonanno

Teotihuacán is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico, located in the State of Mexico 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, known today as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas.

We had originally planned to climb Toluca, but Atzin wasn’t feeling well so requested that we opt for an easier day and visit the pyramids. I had been up since 4:30 getting ready, but there was no point heading to Toluca if Atzin wouldn’t be able to hike/climb, so happy lunch was already made, I headed back to bed.
We had a lazy morning and headed past polluted rivers, arriving at the pyramids at around noon. Many people tried to stop us as we got closer, all wanting to sell us something or other.
We started off by visiting the museum which included a lot of information about what they think Teotihuacán was all about, as well as display cabinets with many artifacts. The toilets were free! Atzin also gave his sometimes alternate interpretations based on the research he had done.
We then headed down the Avenue of the Dead towards the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.

Remains of the structures surrounding the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.

After the collapse of Teotihuacan central Mexico was dominated by the Toltecs of Tula until about 1150 CE. At its zenith, perhaps in the first half of the 1st millennium CE, Teotihuacan 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 epoch. The city covered 8 square miles; 80 to 90 percent of the total population of the valley resided in Teotihuacan.
Temple of Quetzalcoatl.
Looking out at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.

Apart from the pyramids, Teotihuacan is also anthropologically significant for its complex, multi-family residential compounds, the Avenue of the Dead, and its vibrant murals that have been well-preserved.
Temple of Quetzalcoatl

Additionally, Teotihuacan exported fine obsidian tools that are found throughout Mesoamerica. The city is thought to have been established around 100 BCE, with major monuments continuously under construction until about 250 CE. The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries CE, but its major monuments were sacked and systematically burned around 550 CE.
The decorations seemed more preserved between the two structures.
Random guy on the Temple of Quetzalcoatl the Temple of the Sun can be seen in the centre background.

Teotihuacan began as a religious center in the Mexican Highlands around the first century CE. It became the largest and most populated center in the pre-Columbian Americas. Teotihuacan was home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate the large population. The term Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacano) is also used for the whole civilization and cultural complex associated with the site.

Next we walked the Avenue of the Dead to the Temple of the Moon. It was hard to ignore all the vendors selling various trinkets. Most popular seemed to be a kind of whistle that sounded like a jaguar. They would blow on them repetitively trying to draw your attention.

The Temple of the Moon

Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region. The later Aztecs saw these magnificent ruins and claimed a common ancestry with the Teotihuacanos, modifying and adopting aspects of their culture. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of Teotihuacan is the subject of debate. Possible candidates are the NahuaOtomi or Totonac ethnic groups. Scholars have suggested that Teotihuacan was a multi-ethnic state.
Looking out from the Temple of the Moon. The Temple of the Sun is prominent. The Avenue of the dead can also be seen stretching into the distance on the right.
Looking out from the Temple of the Moon. The Temple of the Sun is prominent. The Avenue of the dead can also be seen stretching into the distance on the right.

The city and the archaeological site are located in what is now the San Juan Teotihuacán municipality in the State of México, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of Mexico City. The site covers a total surface area of 83 square kilometres (32 sq mi) and was designated a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in 1987. It is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, receiving 4,185,017 visitors in 2017.
Some decoration in the Palace of the Quetzalpapalotl, a building near to the Temple of the Moon. Atzin was quite pleased about this area as it was one he hadn’t actually visited before.

After the Palace of the Quetzalpapalotl the temperature had dropped nicely and a breeze began to blow. Perfect, since our final goal was the Temple of the Sun. It even seemed a little less crowded now. We didn’t race to the top of this structure as we had some of the others.
Some dogs were enjoying walking around in areas that seemed off limits to people.
Atzin also got us talking with a couple of nice Columbians and he even took some photos for them.
It would have been nice to stay a bit longer, maybe for the sunset, but the monument was closing and the security guard was soon chasing us off the pyramid.
All in all a great day!

Looking at the Temple of the Moon from the top of the Sun.
Sitting on the side of the Temple of the Sun.