Teotihuacan and the Avenue of Dead

When I was walking through the 'Avenue of Dead' was really stunned to see the width of that road and a grief put me down to see those  ruined apartments. Checked in Google map and get to know that its 130 ft wide, can you just imagine  this huge road was made during 100 BCE ? There are multiple ruined but well planned apartments, plazas at both sides of the road. During my Mexico days I travelled to the capital city and around 50 km off from  there an ancient Mesoamerica i.e. Mayan city is still present which known as Teotihuacan. But it's not that same name which was used during 100 BCE -650 CE.  Actually, the earlier name of that city is still unknown, no clue about the name.

The Sun Pyramid
The Sun pyramid

With a big curiosity and great interests I wish to visit that city at first, because the city is positioned in the 'Pyramid belt around the world' ... comparable to the largest pyramids of Egypt. Yep, 3 among 15 Mesoamerica pyramids are present in the completely ruined city Teotihuacan.

The present name was given by the Nahualt language speaking tribal community Aztec. Around 1400 CE they came from different place to this abandoned city to live and seeing the prosperity yet ruined  of the ancient city they were wonderstruck. And then the name Teotihuacan emerges which signifies the meaning "The city of Gods".

Today's Teotihuacan is one of the ancient city in the Western Hemisphere where habitants were living during 100 BCE -650 CE. The city was a wealthy and influential during that period with a population as high as 2,00,000. This is currently an archeological site under UNESCO since 1987. It is believed that the abandoned city was build by hand only before arrival the Nahualt language speaking tribal Aztec.

As History says :  

A few villagers of around the volcanic belt had been lost everything in a volcanic eruption approximately during the 100 BC. Then, they started to rebuilt their homes in this small river valley. As usual, they started their livelihood with farming and animal husbandry, but after a few years, their way of earning money increased a lot, so the extra money slowly started in that group. Do you know the real reason for this extra income? it's due to nature. There are still some active volcanoes in Mexico, so could you imagine about how many volcanoes would have erupted 2100 years ago. As a result, various types of Igneous Rocks could be found in that area, some are still available today's date also such as: Basalt, Granite, Pumice, Rhyolite, Obsidian. This last stone is very useful, made of cooled boiling lava, magic can be seen in the light of dark brown colour, wearing a golden hue. However, the villagers stated to make a lot of weapons, utensils and jewelleries from the obsidian stones and imported through trade so that financially the whole city went a long way.

The Avenue of Dead : It says that this street is about 130 feet wide and 4 KM in length. Due to the immense prosperity in the city life both sides of the street having ruined building complexes which has modern style toilet structure, planned extended balcony or proper space of verandah. Around 2000 single or multi storied apartment complex, temples, plazas (i.e. today's mall), pyramids, gathering places have been excavated in this region. The total area of Teotihuacan is about 20 sq km.

The Avenue of Dead with the ruined apartments
The Avenue of Dead and the ruined multi storey apartments

How can this awesome city be collapsed? Though the exact reason is not known, but with evidence it is concluded that the city was burned still now some signs are present on the ruin. According to some scholars there might be two valid reasons:

1. Some invaders attacked the city in 7th century CE, sacked and burned the whole city.

2. Another theory says that the poorer classes carried the internal upraising against the higher &. middle classes, may be due to the discriminations. Because lot of evidences are there that during the zenith period of the civilisation human and animal sacrifices were going. A huge number of male, female and even children burial body had been discovered in different time frame.

Whatever, this was my first & last pyramid visit till now. There are 3 pyramids, The Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Ciudadela (“Citadel”) and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent).

As per the name the Pyramid of the Sun is towards the west, facing the Sunrise of the day, which is surrounded by few smaller pyramids and platforms. This pyramid is the largest in size in Teotihuacanstands at 216 feet with a base measuring approximately 720 by 760 feet.

The Pyramid of the Moon is situated at the extreme northern end of the "Avenue of the Dead" and faces south. The Pyramid of the Moon is the second largest structure in Teotihuacan. The distance between these two pyramids is approx. 1 km.

The Ciudadela is situated at the south end of the Avenue of the Dead. The 38-acre (15-hectare) courtyard contains multiple elite residential complexes and is dominated by the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, a kind of truncated pyramid that is adorned with numerous stone heads of the Feathered Serpent deity. 

Temple of Quetzalcoatl from atop of the Sun pyramid
Temple of Quetzalcoatl from atop of the Sun pyramid

In front of the Moon pyramid there is a platform called as Ciudadela or Citadel. In recent year there have been found a hidden tunnel beneath the Temple of Feather Serpent and inside that tunnel an enough number of human skeletons were buried some of them were decorated with jewelleries. Based on excavation lot of skeletons found scattered  surrounded in the pyramid complex. I have attached some of those article in Photographs section, if you know Spanish please in your spare time go through it.

Photographs & Video:



                     A short video of the Avenue of Dead and it's surrounding places.

Road map of Teotihuacan
The Road map 1, of present Teotihuacan city


The Road map 2 inside the complex.


Article on excavation of the pyramid
The details about the excavation of buried human body skeleton, in Spanish


Story & history of Teotihuacan
The history of the pyramids


Animal head's carvings on the staircase of the Moon pyramid
The  stone stair case in the Moon pyramid where the carvings of animals with open mouth.


Stone carvings and inscriptions at the Moon pyramid.


Panoramic view of the Avenue of Dead from pyramid of Sun
Panoramic view of the Avenue of Dead from pyramid of Sun


The extensive view of the Avenue of Dead the pyramid of Moon
The extensive view of the Avenue of Dead the pyramid of Moon


Entrance of the pyramid of Sun


The ruined buildings beside the Avenue of Dead


Part of Avenue of Dead and the storey apartments, one upon a time.


 A Maya figurine at the entrance 

Reference:  Natgeo link & Wiki









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