We had left Mexico City and were driving toward the ruins of Teotihuacan to see the pyramids called “Pyramid of the Sun” and “Pyramid of the Moon” that was once the greatest Mesoamerican city. Teotihuacan was Mexico’s biggest ancient city and the capital of what was probably Mexico’s largest pre-Hispanic empire.
Mexico City is known for its traffic, and the city did live up to its reputation when we were on our way out out of the city. I don’t think that it is possible to drive in Mexico City without getting stuck in traffic.
It took 3 hours instead of the 1½ hours on the GPS told us. We were getting hungry, and decided to stop for one of our favorite snack, a corn with mayonnaise and cheese. I had to pick the best corns in the big pot and todays deal was 2 corns for 15 pesos (80 cent USD or 5 DKK).
We found a campground that was in walking distance to gate 2 (one of the five entrances to Teotihuacan). Here we were meet by a local family, so we were able to practice our Spanish and the kids got to sit on the motorcycles.
We put up the tent and began to cook dinner. In the nearby town we had shopped for fresh vegetables and meat. In the right picture Esben is holding a piece of nopales, which he had picked on the campground. We didn’t have it for dinner, because Esben was to lazy to cut of all the spines after getting several into his fingertips .
This was the final result, homemade tostadas with refried beans, fried ground beef, peppers and tomatoes. Served with avocado and salsa on top
The next morning we got up early to see the pyramids. We almost had the pyramids by ourselves, and the hot air balloons was rising behind the pyramids making the experience even better. In both pictures your have “Pyramid of the Sun” to the right. Pyramid of the Sun was complete by AG 150 and the Aztec belief that the structure was dedicated to the sun.
You can hike all the way to the top of “Pyramid of the Sun” and of course we had to do that! 248 steps to the top of the pyramid which measures 222 meters on each side and is 70 meters high. It is the world third-largest pyramid.
Celebrating that we reached the top of the pyramid
The rest of the city was build between about AD 250 and 600. The city was divided into quarters by two great avenues. Here we stand on the famous Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead), which runs north-south. At the north end is Pyramid of the Moon.
Pyramid of the Moon is smaller than pyramid of the Sun, measuring 130 meters on each side and is 42 meters high, and it was completed around AD 300. You are only allowed half way up the pyramid of the Moon, but the steps are huge (left picture). In front of the Pyramid of the Moon is Plaza de la Luna, with an arrangement of 12 temple platforms including the pyramid the total number is 13. 13 is a key number in the day-counting system of the Mesoamerican ritual calendar, so the center of Plaza de la Luna is thought to have been the site of religious dancing (right picture).
From Pyramid of the Moon you have a great view towards Pyramid of the Sun
At its peak the city of Teotihuacan occupied an area of approximately 14 sq. miles (37 sq. kilometers) with a population of 175,000 inhabitants. Throughout the city’s development, the city grew on top of itself during nine centuries, which correspond to different stages in the development of the Teotihuacan Culture. This can be observed on the picture below, if you look at the stairs.
We also visited the murals (In Danish: vægmalerier), which are painted designs of abstract geometric shapes. The designs are unique for the city of Teotihuacan and they are closely linked to the architectural spaces to which they belong.
Teotihuacan fell around 700-750 A.D. Centuries after its fall, Teotihuacan remained a pilgrimage site for the Aztec royalty.
After all that walking –> we walked 20,000 steps that day according to my activity watch. We took a break in the after noon sitting in the shade having a cold “Vickychelada” and chicharrón (In Danish: “Flæskesvær” with lime and hot sauce.
The Teotihuacan adventure was over and when we got up the next morning to get back on the road, a hot air balloons was right above our heads. It didn’t get stuck in the trees, but it landed just next to the campground.
Back on the road heading southeast towards Hierve el Agua… the Mexicans really know how to load they pickup trucks to the limit – or maybe over the limit. You can judge for yourself