"The Mesoamerican Empire" Teotihuacán by alza
Teotihuacán Travel Guide: 216 reviews and 636 photos
For a while I confused Tenochtitlán with Teotihuacán... both are in a big valley called Valley of México, in the middle of the country.
TENOCHTITLÁN was the capital city of the Aztecas. It was destroyed by Cortez and the conquistadores. MEXICO CITY was built over Tenochtitlán.
TEOTIHUACÁN is another place altogether, 50 kms north-east of Mexico City. It was the seat of an important civilisation from 100 a.d. to 800 a.d., whose strength came from an economy based on agriculture, specifically the culture of corn. In its Golden Age (400-800 a.d.), the Empire of Teotihuacán dominated Southern México, all of Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Honduras and El Salvador. It disappeared suddenly, apparently unable to sustain a rapidly growing population. But its cultural influence remained strong. A thousand years after its demise, the Aztecs were still worshipping Teotihuacán's gods.
(Just to tie the knot, the TOLTECAS took over as the next great civilisation. This tribe could be descended from the nomads who invaded Teotihuacán at the time of its fall. The TOLTECAS built their capital at TULA, 65 kms north of Mexico City. With time and population movements, competition became fierce between small states for control of the Valley of Mexico and during the 12th century, the Tolteca civilisation also disappeared.
Another hundred years went by before the AZTECAS emerged victorious over other nations and founded TENOCHTITLÁN.)
Teotihuacán is a must-see in México. The site is impressive and well organised. Visit during the week if you can, to avoid the hordes of tourists -- even the vendors were quiet and not too insistent when I visited in the middle of the week.
At the Equinox of Spring (21st March), thousands of Mexicans go to Teotihuacán on pilgrimage, as the site is believed to exude major vibes and energy. That would be another time to avoid visiting, unless you're interested in the phenomenon of spiritual pilgrimages.
I think Teotihuacán *does* have great vibes. I took my time and spent about three hours there, could have spent more but the sun hitting hard and the hugeness of it all made me feel listless all of a sudden... so much for mystic energies!
You can reach Teotihuacán very easily from Mexico City, using organised tours from any hotel/hostels if you don't want... more travel advice
The Pyramid of the Sun has 248 steps, steep and wide apart. Climbing is easiest early in the day, from opening at 7 a.m.... more travel advice
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