Sunday, September 6, 2009

Teotihuacan- 'The City of the Gods"



http://www.destination360.com/north-america/mexico/images/s/mexico-teotihuacan-s.jpg

Teotihuacan means 'The City of the Gods", or "Where Men Become Gods"
(in Nahuatl). It is located in the valley of the same name 30 miles north of Mexico City.


http://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/ancient/images/ga/teotihuacan-ruins-976285-ga.jpg



Though archaeologists have long been fascinated with the site, Teotihuacan's culture and history are still largely mysterious. The civilization left massive ruins, but no trace has yet been found of a writing system and very little is known for sure about its inhabitants, who were succeeded first by the Toltecs and then by the Aztecs.

The Aztecs did not live in the city, but gave the place and its major structures their current names. They considered it the "Place of the Gods" - a place where, they believed, the current world was created.







Teotihuacan used to be a thriving city and ceremonial center that predated the Aztecs by several centuries. Most likely it was Mexico's biggest ancient city at its peak and the sixth largest city in the world in AD 600.




Teotihuacan began declining sharply around 650 AD, and was almost completely abandoned around 750 AD. No one knows why.


Mysterious Layout of Teotihuacán


The city of Teotihuacán is meticulously laid out on a grid which is offset 15º.5 from the cardinal points. Its main avenue, the "Street of the Dead," runs from 15º.5 east of north to 15º.5 west of south, while its most impressive structure, the Pyramid of the Sun, is directly oriented to a point 15º.5 north of west -- the position at which the sun sets on August 13.


The siting of the Pyramid of the Moon at the far end of the avenue was likewise done with such care that a sight-line directly over the top of the Pyramid of the Sun marks the meridian, thus allowing the priests of the city to fix the times of noon and midnight with complete accuracy.

History of Teotihuacan

Besides the major ceremonial pyramids, there were also palaces and temples, especially near the north end of the city surrounding the plaza in front of the Pyramid of the Moon. These included the Palace of Quetzalcoatl, the Butterfly Palace, the Temple of the Feathered Conches, and the Palace of the Jaguars. The sophistication and artistry of the Teotihuacanos can be seen everywhere in the magnificent murals and stone carvings which adorn the walls of the palaces and apartment compounds.

Teotihuacan's decline was almost as rapid as its rise to prominence. Even so, eight centuries later, Teotihuacan was still revered far and wide as an intensely sacred place. But no one remembered who had built it or that tens of thousands of people had once lived there.

The Pyramid of the Sun





The Pyramid of the Sun, built in the 2nd century AD, dominates the landscape of the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico.It is the third largest pyramid in the world and the largest in the Teotihuacan complex.

A fascinating feature of some of the pyramidal structures is that they contain a broad, thick layer of mica, which had to be brought from Brazil, over 2000 miles away! Mica is very flaky and fragile, yet it was brought in very large pieces from great distances (and without wheeled vehicles). Then the mica was used on an inner layer of the pyramid, not where it could be seen. Why? One characteristic of mica is that it is used as an insulator in electronic and electrical things. Was that its purpose here? Another mystery of Teotihuacan.

The Pyramid of the Moon



The Moon Pyramid is located at the northern end of the Avenue of the Dead, which is the main axis of the city. The pyramid, facing south, was built as the principal monument of the Moon Pyramid complex.




The five-tiered platform was attached to the front of the Moon Pyramid. It is said that the present pyramid has interior structures within it. However, the pyramid still remains as one of the least understood major monuments in Teotihuacan.
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~izapa/teotihuacan2p.gif

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