Teotihuacan, Mexico City
That's what the pre-Hispanic people's who lived here in the Valle de Mexico considered Teotihuacan to be and for hundreds of years it was the most important city in all Mexico. The size and scale of the place is so awesome you really begin to appreciate just how sophisticated the pre-Colombian civilazations of Mexico were.This really is the must-see of all the must-sees of Mexico. Dominated by two HUGE pyramids - the Piramide de la Luna (the Pyramid of the Moon) at the north end of the main concourse ( the Avenida de los Muertos -- the Avenue of the Dead) and the Piramide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) halfway along the eastern axis of the avenue - the site is vast, open and exposed and can be very, very hot - do bring a hat and some water with you. Be aware also that you are at quite a high altitude, so if you have only just arrived in Mexico City - take it easy.
Whether you come to the site at the northern end, in which case you'll probably climb the Piramide de la Luna first and so get a wonderful view of the site from a high vantage point, and make your way along the Avenida de los Muertes via the various palaces and temples as well as the even bigger Piramide del Sol (the 3rd biggest in the world) to the south-west entrance and the museum, or make your way up from the southern end, visiting the museum first, a visit is going to take you hours and involve a lot of walking and climbing, so wear sensible shoes and comfortable clothes. This is an expedition to prepare for but it is worth all the effort.
Entry is free on Sundays and holidays which means it is always more crowded then. The earlier you can arrive, the better. You'll avoid much of the crowds as well as the heat of the day.
If you approach the vast site at Teotihuacan from the south (the main carpark and public transport) approach you will pass the Museum before you actually reach the temples. It is worth making a detour at this point and visiting the museum first, tempting though it is to head straight for the temples and pyramids that lie ahead. The museum gives you an excellent understanding of what the place was all about and the admission is included in the entry fee, so make the most of it, spend an hour inside and out (there is quite a lot of stuff outside in the surrounding garden) and your visit will become more meaningful.
The model of the site is very good, allowing you to really see how the buildings related to each other.
This is an amazing place.
The place is relatively near Mexico city - you can take a cheap bus from the North Bus Termianal. The visit to Teotihuacan won't be longer than one day, so don't worry about accomodation.
When you arrive at the place, check out first the museum, it will give you a general idea of what you will see outside.
The Sun and Moon Pyramids are very popular and walking trough the death street will take you in someway to those times.
Be ready to meet lot of tourist and climb up.
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.
If you've begun your visit at the southern end of the city, visited the museum, gazed at the Templo Qetzalcoatl, climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and walked the whole length of the Avenidade los Muertos, you're going to be feeling hot and weary by the time you reach Pyramid de la Luna and you may well feel you're not up to another climb, and you'll give the palaces at this end of the site a miss. Don't!
Sit down somewhere, have a drink (you did bring some water with you I hope), take a break, and then branch off from the Avenue of the Dead to look at some of the palaces here and their wonderful frescoes and carvings. Some of the frescoes are still in excellent condition - showing birds and gods in vivid colours. Others, sadly, are showing severe signs of degrading - I'm told by a recent visitor the Mural of the Puma is now in shocking condition, so it may be that some of the palaces will be closed in future - it would be advisable to check at the entrance before you expend the effort at this stage of the day.
One way to beat the crowd is to go thru the site in the direction opposite the general foot traffic. This can be done by entering the site at Gate 3 instead of Gate 1. This will place you at the north end of the site right at Piramide de la Luna. If you're there early enough, you may be the first few folks climbing to its top. Then visit the sites at the base of Piramide de la Luna and head on to Piramide del Sol. By the time you came down from this pyramid, the crowd that got off at Gate 1 would have just made it here. Now it's a good time to take a lunch break at La Gruta outside Gate 5 in a natural cave! After lunch, walk back to see the wonderful museum. While heading down to Cuidadela, take a look at the traffic jam on Piramide del Sol.
If you have extra time or energy, you can fit in Tepantitla by Gate 4 and several palaces by Gate 2.
We hired a private car and driver for N$800 for 8 hours for our family of 4. Had a feeling we maybe able bargain more from the initial N$1000.
Souvenirs here are quite a bit cheaper than in town so stock up.
Within driving distance from Mexico City is a definate can't miss site. Teotihuacan is a giant site home to two massive pyramids (the sun and the moon) as well as many tomb in the avenue of the dead. Plan to spend the entire day wandering this massive site.
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.
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.
This is one of the biggest and most important archeological sites in the whole of Mexico. If you are in the city, you have to take the time to visit this place! You will not regret it... ;)
At it's glorydays about 1500 years ago, it was one of the biggest cities in the world! The influence of the city can be seen in very many places all around Mesoamerica.
No one knows who made the city, who lived there or why it was suddenly abandoned. When the aztecs found it, it had been deserted for hundreds of years. They thought that no human could build something as beautiful as this, and assumed it was made by the Gods, and that it was the origin of the Universe.
It became a very important religious place for the aztecs, and they were the ones that gave the city it's current name Teotihuacán ("The City of Gods"/"The place where Men becomes Gods").
Click here for more info about Teotihuacán
A place you cannot miss when coming to Mexico City is Teotihuacan, where we have some of the most amazing and well conserved pyramids in our whole country. The Teotihuacan complex is very big and a whole day should be spent touring it and climbing the pyramids (this is tiring, though!!). Teotihuacan is about 1 hour away from Mexico City, towards the north-east, and there are buses which take you there (you can get there by car/taxi as well but a cab would be too expensive, I highly recommend the bus). This is an impressive site that you just can't miss!
Teotihuacan is one of the wonders of the world. The city was long dead when the Aztecs found it. The pyramids are large and beautiful. The Pyramid of the Sun is a little larger then that of the Moon. People in good health should only climb them.
The tops are dangerous because there are no longer any steps, just a mound of rocks. You get a great view of the surrounding area from the top.
The ruins are impressively clean compared to others in the world. Often some tourists leave trash and mark up the places they visit. Those people are evil and will rot in HELL! I was glad to see that was not the case at Teotihuacan. Mexico takes good care of its monuments.
Teotihuacan is surrounded by large cactus and many people selling arts and crafts.
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
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.
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.