Teotihuacan or Teotihuacán is a city of 83 sq kilometers (32 sq mi) as Mesoamerica's largest city in the first half of the millennium with a population of over 125,000 people in the Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacán Town, State of Mexico, Mexico, 40 kilometers (25 miles) east The modern Mexico City is known to have many of the most architectural Mesoamerican sites built in the Americas.

The Teotihuacan complex was built in 100 BC with major monuments continuing to be built up to 250 AD and remained important until the 8th century AD, but major monuments were torn down and systematically burned in 550 AD Despite the debate over whether Teotihuacan was the center of the state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented.

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Teotihuacano gives style to various sites in the Maya region and the Aztecs claim the ruins as part of their ancestors, modifying and adopting cultural aspects. The Teotihuacan population is also a subject of debate among scientists, but most likely the Nahua, Otomi or Totonac nations where Teotihuacan is a multi-ethnic country.


Teotihuacan's early history is very mysterious. Around 300 BC, people from the central and southeastern regions of Mesoamerica began gathering to the larger settlements and Teotihuacan was the largest urban center of pre-Aztec Mesoamerica or nearly 1000 years before them. The city has become a ruin by the time the Aztecs appear.

For years archaeologists say the city was built by the Toltecs, while others say the Totonak people as the founders of Teotihuacan. But some evidence also points to people living in Teotihuacan including Zapotec, Mixtec and Maya. Teotihuacan takes advantage of geography in the Mexican Basin with agricultural productivity, livestock and economic traffic.

In the 7th or 8th centuries the city was destroyed and burned, but limited to the structures and residence associated primarily the ruling class. Some scientists think combustion comes from an internal insurgency, while other scientists say otherwise that Teotihuacan's collapse was a result of the invasion because several statues throughout the city have been methodically destroyed.

But evidence of population decline beginning in the 6th century provided support to the hypothesis of internal unrest. The Teotihuacan decline has correlated with long droughts associated with climate change in 535. The theory of ecological degradation is supported by an increase in the percentage of adolescent skeletons with evidence of malnutrition.

Famine is most likely one of the reasons for Teotihuacan's decline. The majority of the food comes from agriculture such as corn, beans, spinach, green tomatoes, and pumpkin. But the harvest is not enough to feed a population of at Teotihuacan. This finding does not contradict any of the above theories, as it increases warfare and internal unrest.

Other nearby nations including Cholula, Xochicalco, and Cacaxtla competed to fill the emptiness of power left by Teotihuacan. They may align themselves with Teotihuacan where art and architecture mimic Teotihuacan forms, but also a mixture of eclectic motifs and iconography from other parts of Mesoamerica, including the Maya region.


The great ruins of Teotihuacan never disappear altogether. After the fall of the city, various squatters live in the location. During the Aztecs, it was a place of pilgrimage and identified with the Tollan myth or the place where the sun was created.

The vast downtown street called "Avenue of the Dead" is flanked by an impressive ceremonial architecture, including the enormous Pyramid of the Sun. Pyramid of the Moon, and Temple of the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl are at both ends of the Avenue, while the Quetzalpapálot Museums as the basic structure of the four sites lie between the two main pyramids.

The Avenue of the Dead is 40 meters and 4 kilometers wide, after the creek is an area known as the Citadel containing the ruins of Temple of the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl. This area is a large square surrounded by temples that form the center of religion and politics.

Most ordinary people live in large apartment buildings scattered throughout the city. Many buildings contain workshops where craftsmen produce pottery and other items. The geographical layout of Teotihuacan is a good example of Mesoamerican tradition in planning cities, settlements, and buildings as a representation of the view of the universe.

The urban network is parallel to the southeast axis where the sun rises at the same angle during the summer each year. Settlers use alignment to calibrate time or markers to plant crops or perform certain rituals. Another theory is the orientation with the highest mountain that is distant and invisible.

The big market in urban centers is strong evidence of the state organization. Ciudadela is a large closed compound capable of accommodating 100,000 people. Approximately 700,000 cubic meters of material is used to construct the construction. The main feature is the Temple of Quetzalcoatl flanked by an upscale apartment.

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Location: Teotihuacán Town, State of Mexico, Mexico

Routes and public transport: Flights to Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City, then drive to Teotihuacán Town for 40 kilometers (25 miles). Using a car on the highway takes about 45 minutes from Mexico City.

Buses to Teotihuacán depart from Mexico City every 20 minutes from the Autobuses del Norte Terminal. You enter the terminal building to buy tickets and say "piramides". Check if your bus shows a placard "Pyramid". Usually the staff will direct you to the right bus if you show them tickets. The official name of the stop is the "Arqueologico Zone" that should be printed on your ticket.

Buses can also stop outside the Potrero Metro station that leads to Piramides which means the Teotihuacán pyramids. The journey will take about 1 hour as it passes through San Juan Teotihuacán City.

Advice: Avoid heavy Sundays where the site is free for Mexicans on that day. Entrance fee of 70 pesos (March 2018) includes museum. This is a great site and lots of walks to navigate the complex. There is a licensed guide service that speaks English and you can bargain for wages

If you bring a car, then you can freely drive around. There is a cart pulled by a tractor with seats and shelter around and scheduled. Renting a bicycle allows for adventure and traveling.

Itinerary inside complex:
  • The Temple of the Moon - Medium-sized pyramid.
  • The Temple of the Sun - The largest pyramid with mountain views.
  • The Temple of Quetzalcoatl - One of the most sacred Temple.
  • Museo Teotihuacán - Museum with a miniature of the entire site.

Hotel Villa Arqueológica of Teotihuacan is the only hotel in the archaeological zone, located a 5-minute walk from the main entrance of the site and open year-round. Facilities include a small swimming pool, dining room, terrace, parking lot. Plenty of restaurants inside and outside the park.