Teotihuacan is one of the most popular archaeological sites in the world. Located about 40 kilometers north of Mexico City, this enormous site is famous for its large pyramidal structures built during the pre-Columbian period. The site also houses a number of museums through which tourists can explore Teotihuacan’s fascinating history. So what is there to see in this ancient city?
The Citadel and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl
The Citadel used to be the center of Teotihuacan. It is a large open space located in the southernmost part of the site open to visitors. A number of temples believed to be used for ceremonies surround the Citadel.
You can see the Temple of Quetzalcoatl when you climb the steps. Serpents and the Aztec rain god Tlaloc dominate the design of the Citadel. It is also decorated with symbols of water like snails and shells.
The Avenue of the Dead
The Avenue of the Dead serves as the main axis of Teotihuacan. The two-kilometer ancient avenue stretches from the Citadel all the way to the north, to the Temple of the Moon.
Instead of having an exact north-south direction, the avenue is aligned to 16 degrees north-west. Apparently, this was done on purpose to align it with the setting sun on a particular date.
The Pyramid of the Sun
This pyramid is one of pre-Columbian America’s largest structures. It is roughly 210 feet high and 700 feet wide. It sits on top of a cave discovered in 1970.
The Pyramid of the Sun was built around A.D. 100, with laborers transporting three million tons of brick, rubble, and stone without using the wheel, metal tools, or beasts of burden. If you are not afraid of heights, climb around 250 steps to see the breathtaking views from the top.
The Quetzalpapalotl Palace
Along the Avenue of the Dead, walk farther north and this will lead you to the entrance to the Quetzalpapalotl Palace. It is located on the left side just before you arrive at the Pyramid of the Moon. Many historians and archaeologists believe that the temple was the residence of the ruler of Teotihuacan.
The Pyramid of the Moon
This pyramid is the second largest building in the archaeological site, next to the Pyramid of the Sun. You can find it in the northernmost part of the site, at the north end of the Avenue of the Dead. The Pyramid of the Moon covers a structure older than the larger pyramid which existed before 200 A.D.
Tips for travelers
Teotihuacan has five entrances. Take Entrance 1 at the south end if you want to tour the entire site, . You will walk the length of the Avenue of the Dead. However, if you are tight on time, you can begin at Entrance 2.
Also, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and bottled water as the sun can get very scorching.