The best retreat into the ancient past from the nearby sinking modern urban jungle of Mexico City is the stunning complex of Teotihuacán, which translates into English as "The place where the gods were created." While I would have trouble agreeing with that this site, set amid what was once the greatest metropolis in Mesoamerica, is known for its two vast pyramids: Pirámide del Sol (the world’s third largest pyramid, built around AD 100 and painted bright red in its heyday) and Pirámide de la Luna (smaller and more gracefully proportioned than its sunny counterpart). Urban planners, take note: the city’s grid plan was plotted in the early parts of the 1st century AD.
You must also visit the Temple of Quetzalcoatl while you are there.
The archaeological site of Teotihuacan corresponds to a city of at least 25,000 inhabitants. Teotihuacan and its valley bear unique testimony to the pre-urban structures of ancient Mexico.
This ensemble represents a unique artistic achievement as much for its enormous size as for the strictness of a layout based on cosmic harmony. The art of the Teotihuacanos was the most developed among the Classic civilizations of Mexico. Here it is expressed in its successive and complementary aspects: the dry and obsessive geometry of the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon contrasts with the sculpted and painted decor of exceptional richness of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent.
Teotihuacan is an hour and a half drive north of Mexico City and I recommend you devote a full day to visiting.
There are two main pyramids, the Sun and the Moon, the first one is larger and taller and you can climb both of them. The sun is a bit difficult but once you get to the top you will have an incredibly beautiful view of the valley.
You can also walk around what was once the main avenue called Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead) and see many small buildings and new discoveries from on-going excavations. You will be approached by locals selling figurines that resemble originals that are housed in the Anthropology museum, they make great souvenirs.
If its a hot and sunny day, you would be advised to take comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen. Walking all the way up to the Pyramid of the Sun is taxing, but if you just walk around the site you will still appreciate the grandeur of Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan an archeological site known for the sun and the moon pyramids.
The site is 25 miles (40 km) north of Mexico City. You can visit this via tour or by taking the bus and grab on to a tour there (or wander around by yourself).
Most hotels offer day tours to the sites.
Buses leave from the Central del Norte (take a metro there). Take the buses marked "Piramides." Follow the directions in the Lonely planet guide book. Also be sure to visit the museum
For those of you who would like to see a video...here is one from the travel channel
Here is a step by step guide of the ruins
Founded around 200 BC, it flourished between 250-650 AD when it was the main religious center with pilgrimages arriving from all Mesoamerica* and was the largest city in the continent, with a population of 200,000. Please note that Teotihuacans were a different culture from Aztecs; the latter arrived to the area 500 years after Teotihuacan was abandoned.
Architecture is both monumental, as in the Sun and Moon pyramids, and intimate, as in the houses and smaller temples.
This is a place where you need to walk a lot to get to the most interesting structures (the ciudadela, the 'palace' of Quetzalpapalotl and the pyramids) as there is a 2.4 km (about 1.5 mile) distance between extremes. Protect yourself from the sun (it would not be an exaggeration to carry an umbrella besides the sunblock lotion).
Teotihuacan is located about 45 km (30 mi) northeast of Mexico city's center. There are two main ways to get there:
1. With an organized tour, which is expensive and most likely won't give you a long time to explore the area. This is, however, a comfortable and time-efficient alternative.
2. Getting there by bus. Buses depart from Mexico City's Central de autobuses del norte (northern bus terminal). Metro station "Autobuses del norte" -Line 5, yellow- is right next to the bus terminal. Once inside, walk left to get to the "Autobuses Teotihuacanos" counter; the ticket is 30 pesos (less than 3 U.S. Dollars). This alternative is unexpensive and gives you the opportunity to watch closely the unfortunate northeastern area of the city, slums included, but takes a long time (minimum 1.5 hour from the bus terminal) to get to the archaeological zone.
The archaeological zone is open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 17:00. It includes an excellent museum.
*Mesoamerica is the name for the geographic region that integrates the five cultural areas of Mexican prehispanic civilizations: Central Mexico, Gulf coast, Western, Oaxaca, and Maya.
......WOW !!!!!! The pyramids of the Sun and Moon are impressive and GIGANTIC !!!!!! So I can't even imagine the ones in Cairo !!!! lined with smaller temples and structures the highlight of this site are the Sun and Moon pyramids......try to climb either one and the reward when on top is breathtaking !!!!! Crowded at all times, come early to achieve the feat of climbing of both pyramids !!!!! worth an all day trip !!!!
Teotihuacan was old long before the Aztecs arrived in the Val de Mexico and built the cities the Spaniards found.
Construction of the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon began around 100BC. The reason for their construction is still a mystery, though it is believed the Pyramid of the Sun was built over the sacred Cave of Creation
The third Pyramid - the Templo Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent Pyramid) has been dated to about 150-250AD and, by virtue of its elaborately decorated facade, is presumed to have served a more recognisably ritualistic purpose. It is known that there were once seven levels to this pyramid - only four remain - and there is good evidence that there was once a temple on the top. Later centuries saw this pyramid enclosed within a larger structure and it is as a reult of this enclosing that the facade we see today is in such good condition.
Two deities appear over and over on the facade of this structure - Qetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, the chief deity of these early people, and the fire serpent, Tlaloc, with his four eyes and huge fangs. It was his task to carry the sun across the sky each day.
I and a friend from Mexico went to visit Mexico D.F. most ancient and great wonder: the complex and sacred area of the pre-colombian period. What we found, once there, was an old ensemble of ruins dated back from the XI century AC, which takes anyone visiting the area dreaming of what it was in old times. The greatest remains are well preserved trough the years and Mexican archeologists and authoritities did a good job in order to preserve and restore the huge area of interest. The built area runs along a 1 km long with a few hundreds meters width and from the top of the huge Sun's pyramid you may have the sight lost at the breathtaking view of the below ruins and ancient vestiges. All is great and that alone was our long the journey to Mexico D.F. made a worth. Have no words at describing the sensation I fel and I and may friend had long talk after the visit about it. I would reccommend to anyone having the wish to go there early in the morning when not to many vendors are in plase, to hassle tourists with their (costly) souvenirs. I have no doubt the monumental site gets a well deserved place in the World heritage's list.
Going to the Piramides of Teotihuacan is an absolute must when you make a trip ti Mexico City. They are about 45 minutes away if traffic isnt too bad. They are amazing! This was the ancient city of Teotihuacan (the capital of the Aztec empire).
Admission here runs about $5 dollars and if you bring a video camera its a little more. You will find three rather large piramides. The largest being the Piramide of the Sun which they say is just alittle smaller than some of the Pyramids in Egypt.
We climbed the Piramide if the Sun all the way to the top. They say that at the top there is an energy field that you can connect with. I personally didnt feel anything excpet totally out of breath. The climb down wasnt bad and then we set out to climb the Piramde of the moon. It seems that even though it was smaller the the Sun Piramide it was much more steep. There was also some reconstruction or repairs happening at the top so we could only go alittle more than half way.
If you would like more information of Toetihuacan you can check out my Teotihuacan pages, They are under construction right now, But I hope to finish them soon.
teotihuacan is one of the great highligts of mexico.
it´s located a little north of mexico city and doable in a day.
the pyramids at teotihuacan are from a civilisation that is not fully discoverd yet and still a mystery in many ways.
they are incredibly scenic and the whole temple area is very interesting and very well preserved.
since i'm an arab woman and i only knew about the great pyramids in egypt, i said i should see some mexican pyramids. do they really exist on the other side of the world? so *hurray* i did.
the tourist van picked me up from my hotel just to meet up with other tourists from other hotels, from panama, russia and mexico itself. i remember that i spoke and made friends with everyone - as usual. but i particulary enjoyed the company of a family from santa cruz (central america) who only spoke spanish, a mother and cute two daughters. when we arrived at Teotihaucan, the land of the pyramids, we were stunned by two great pyramids and quite a few little ones, dispered over a huge land. one of the pyramids was full of pilgrims and the other was nearly abandoned except from crazy tourists like me. i found out later that the abandoned pyramid was to take the best photo shot, while the other was to get empowered by the energy it is producing.
tita, patricia, penolope and i climbed up the free pyramid, had a spectacular view, a break for a bit. then tita, the mom, was too tired to climb up the other pyamid. that was where i used my fantastic spanish to convince her,lol
"no senora. esa pyramida por energia", everyone was supposed to have traditional beliefs about this energy, so i used the energy card, and was pointing to the sky with both arms.
she was a bit hesitant but she was in need for this energy, at least to refresh what she has lost climbing up the first pyramid. so we did. we felt 'renewed'.
honestly, i love doing these cultural practices, experiencing the honesty the local people express when they're so much dedicated to believing in something. and it's so much fun and sincere.
when you go to the pyramids, just look where the people are gathering. go up. take a look at the legendary place you're standing on. you'll feel you're connected with the ancient gods and goddesses, living their story, being refreshed and most important, realising that you're an extension to their legendary history.
The Pyramid of the moon at Teotihuacan appears to be as tall as the Pyramid of the Sun due to the fact that it is built on higher ground. This pyramid was built slightly later than the Pyramid of the Sun, perhaps around the time the first was finished.
The top of the Pyramid of the Moon provides the best overall view of Teotihuacan. The sight of the ruins stretching both sides of the mile long Avenue of the Dead opens ones eyes to how truly great this city once was.
We didn't have the opportunity to climb it because of time available and the hot weather.
THe photo was taken from the top of the pyramid of the Sun and in the Back you can see the Pyramid of the Moon.
The Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan was built in the first century AD. The alignment of this pyramid was designed to coincide with the two days a year (May 19th and July 25th) when the Sun would be directly over the top of the pyramid at noon. The East facade directly faces the rising Sun, and the West facade directly faces the Sun as it sets.
A visit to México city can't be complete without a visit to Teotihuacan, it really worth it. Even my 4yrs old enjoy climbing the pyramid, it was a little scary on the way back for him, but there are some ropes that can be used as to hold in case you feeel like falling. It's a nice experience.
Include the immense Pyramid of the Sun (second largest in the New World) and the Pyramid of the Moon. The city's broad central avenue, is called "Avenue of the Dead". Along the Avenue of the Dead are many smaller talud-tablero platforms that are known to be ceremonial platforms that were topped with temples. Further down the Avenue of the Dead is the area known as the Citadel, containing the ruined Temple of the Feathered Serpent.
There are two reasons to try to visit Teotihuacan early in the morning; 1) You can avoid the heat of the mid-day sun, and 2) you can beat the peak hours of tourist bus arrivals. In most places worldwide this might be between 9 and 10 AM but the time might extend a little later for Teotihuacan because of the travel time from the city.
The ruins open at 7AM. The cheapest way to get to the ruins is to go to the north bus terminal and take a bus that leaves from the far left side of the terminal from the main entrance. The bus will drop you off at gate 1.
Although taking the bus from the north station is a great way to go, if you are
traveling with friends or want to save time (waiting for the bus, etc.)and gain
some comfort and convenience you might consider just hiring a taxi for the day.
It has been a number of years since I last heard a quote for this type of"tour". I recall it being about $50 dollars but I expect it would be closer to $100 today. Maybe even $150 because of the price of gas. Remember to bargain and not accept an initial offer. Your hotel may very well have a "driver of confidence" with an unmarked car that they might recommend. Otherwise you could just ask them to help you negotiate a price with a regular taxi. I once had a couple friends who when they went onto the street to hire a car encountered a police officer who guided them through the process and got them a good price. Having your own taxi also would give you some flexibility in making stops for pictures, shopping, eating and even seeing other sites.
Hiring a private real tour from an agency would cost a lot more money. Group tours are not expensive but they are not really necessary. You can easily visit on your own.
We took a day trip to the Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan which is about a 45 minute drive outside Mexico City. When we got there, my wife was literally speechless for about 30 minutes! I've got to tell you, this site will be very hard to top!! It has two main pyramids (moon and sun pyramids) and a long long avenue with smaller pyramids all down each side. I almost made it to the top of the larger pyramid of the sun (216 big and often steep steps) but didn't quite get there due to lack of breath. The view was stunning and very photogenic. If you go to Mexico City, this day trip is an absolute must do!!!