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Saturday, 15 February 2014


 pyramids of the Sun & the Moon

keywords: Mexico, monuments, mountains, landscape, tourism, travel, food, culture, art, paintings, history, lakes.

1/10/2008. The day is bright and warm and we decided to visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan. But first we we had to have something to eat, Alex have had no solid food for the last three days. A short distance from the hotel, there is a shop selling fresh fruit and fruit juice and we had double servings of both, munching Jalapeñas, hot Mexican chillies. These are available free in every food and fruit selling shops, kept in bowls, sliced (rajas), on the counters. Delicious with cold refreshing fruit juice.

We took a taxi to the Estacíon del Norte (Station of the North) paid the bus  fare of 30 pesos. The station is a huge place, buses leave for all destinations in that direction and buses for Teotihuacán leave every fifteen minutes. The journey took one hour.

Teotihuacán teh--oh-tee-wah-kan "Abode  of the Gods), just 50kms north east of distrito federal, was once Meso-america's greatest city and is the number one attraction, both for Mexicans and tourists. The site of the pyramids is huge, and easily compares in its significance to the ruins of Chiapas and Yucatan. Any one who comes here, will be astonished and inspired by the architectural technology of the mighty Toltecs, to whom are attributed the construction of these pyramids, also at Cholula (Tula, their capital is 75kms. from Mexico city). The empire of Toltecs was overthrown and they mysteriously disappeared at the begining of 12th century. The famous Calender Stone of Mexico has been ascribed to Toltecs.

The area is set in a mountainous region, offshoot of the valley of Mexico (La Valle del Mexico), Teotihacán, in times long forgotten in the mist of history, was once the place pulsating with population busy with cultivation, today it is well known for its two vast pyramids, of the Sun & the Moon. The large pyramid was dedicated to Tonatiuah-The Sun.

Aztecs erected a huge stone image of their god at the top of the pyramid and placed a large disc of polished gold facing it, which reflected the rays of the rising sun. This was Mexico's biggest pre-Hispanic ancient city and Mexican empire. The ancient city, we were told, at present covers about 80 square kms, although the site of the two pyramids, which covered more than 20 square kilometres, today covers only about 2kms. of the Avenue of the Dead (Valle de Los Muertos).

The admission fee is 45 pesos and at the entrance you will find many shops selling souvenirs, artifacts, coloured cotton blankets,  Sombreros etc. If you want to buy any, this place is cheaper than the art market in the city. You will find many men selling Mexican jewelry and artifacts, figurines of clay, on the ground around the pyramids, and they sell much cheaper too. When we were there, Mexico was going through economic crisis and there were not many tourists in the country and things were very difficult for the people then.

El Palacio de Tepantitla (The Palace of Tepantitla). It took us about four hours to see both pyramids, we walked the vast grounds covering both, sat down and speculated at the might and majesty of the Aztecs. This was a site of pilgrimage of the Aztec royalty, who believed that all the gods had sacrificed themselves here, in order to start the Sun moving at the beginning of the "fifth world", which was inhibited by Aztecs.

The murals of Tepantitla  show images of Tlaloc, the Rain God and the temple priests. This residential area once called "palace" is located northwest of the archaeological site at Gate 4, located near the Pyramid of the Sun. This is a mural which has been interpreted as the paradise of Tlaloc, which according to the Aztecs, was the site of the dwelling of the lord of rain and seed/kernels, where after death, came all those who had succumbed, struck by lightning or  from dropsy, drowning or other water-related causes. 

Teotihuacan, having been a colourful city, the main deity in this mural is also colourful. The scene is framed on a red background, which is a sacred mountain or hill from which flow streams of water, into which are corn kernels, guarded by tlaloques or assistants. On top of the the painting, as a celestial figure, is the central character, Tlaloc, god of rain, who carries a huge headdress shaped as a bird with long green feathers, which sprout jets of water in which intermingle flowers and leaves. Gifts of the earth which fall from his hands, to the ground.

Several specialists in art and iconography of ancient Mexico have come to recognise the central figure not as male but  female, which removes  Tlaloc from  the Aztec pantheon. Instead, the deity of Tepantitla now appears as one Great Mother or Mother Goddess, who may have been related to the great Aztec deity of fertility Xochiquetzal " Beautiful Flower", Mother of the Terrestrial Water.
 On returning to the Estacion del Norte, we booked our seats on the bus leaving next day for Oaxacan (Wah-ha-kan).

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