Teotihuacan is an ancient city in central Mexico that had up to 150,000 residents at one time. Although it experienced a period of economic prosperity, the city went into decline after 650 A.D. and was abandoned within 50 years. Seven centuries after the demise of the Teotihuacan empire the pyramids were honored and utilized by the Aztecs and became a place of pilgrimage. Today, tourists from around the world visit this part of Mexico to see what remains of Teotihuacan.
The city’s most famous attractions are its pyramids. The Pyramid of the Moon is located in the northern outskirts of Teotihuacan. It measures over 110 feet (34 meters) tall and provides an excellent view. The larger Pyramid of the Sun is near the city’s center. It was constructed on top of a cave and positioned so that the sun would rise over its peak. The pyramid was constructed in two phases. The first construction stage, around 100 AD brought the pyramid to nearly the size it is today. The second round of construction resulted in its completed size of 225 meters (733 feet) across and 75 meters (246 feet) high.
Visitors can find two other sites of interest in the central part of Teotihuacan. The Avenue of the Dead was the city’s main street; it spans approximately 1.6 miles (2.6 km). An underground canal provided drainage to prevent the avenue from flooding. The nearby Ciudadela is an enormous enclosed plaza that could hold at least 100,000 people.
Other attractions include the Feathered Serpent Pyramid, several ancient graves and the remnants of various stone buildings. Teotihuacan provides an opportunity to see monumental structures that were built to last for thousands of years. It also offers a rare glimpse into the workings of an early urban society.
Mesoamerica’s greatest city is just 31 miles (50km) northeast of Mexico City and can be reached by bus or taxi.