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The pyramids of Teotihuacan

Written on: Wednesday May 28th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

Remembering what our friend Erna had told us the night before, we both whispered a small intention as we drove up to the Teotihuacan Archaeological site.

We decided to hire a guide at the entrance as we were both fascinated with the history and looking to get the most out of our visit. Teotihuacan was Mexico's biggest ancient city, America's first great powerful civilization and quite possibly the largest city of its era, even surpassing Rome. The magnificent city was built between AD 250 and AD 600 and the Teotihuacan empire collapsed in 8th century.

The famous Pyramide del Sol (Sun Pyramid), and the Pyramide de la Luna (Moon Pyramid) are part of a large ceremonial complex in the city center. The ancient city is sprawled over and area of 83 square kilometres although only the core ceremonial complex has been excavated.

After a tour through the museum we hiked to the top of the Pyramide del Sol to enjoy the impressive view. The pyramid, at 75 meters high, is the third largest pyramid ever built after Egypt's Cheops and another pyramid south of Mexico City (although this one is in ruins). "The high priests would give their speeches from atop the pyramid," our guide explained. He turned to face the complex below and then bellowed "MICHEEEELLE!". As my name resonated over and over again, it was evident how communicating to a massive assembly of people could be accomplished without a microphone and sound system. It also became evident to the thousands of tourists below what my name was.

We strolled along the large central avenue, called "Avenue of the Dead". The Aztec's (who came along long after the fall of Teotihuacan) named it such because they believed the small platforms topped with temples, which lined both sides of the broad avenue, were tombs. These structures were later determined to be ceremonial platforms. At the north end of the avenue, the Pyramide de la Luna looms imposingly over the large square below it. This pyramid is slightly smaller that the Sun Pyramid, but equally impressive.

Our guide was keen to explain the advanced mathematical and astrological knowledge that these peoples possessed. In fact, he believed that the city itself was designed to reflect and observe important astrological events. The city grid is aligned precisely to 15.5 degrees east of North and the Pyramid of the Moon is oriented with respect to the horizon point of the setting of the sun on the 12th of August and the 29th of August, two very important days in the Teotihuacano calendar (the Mayan calendar evolved from this calendar).

We finished the tour in awe and amazement for the Teotihuacanos and what they had accomplished. It was upon one of the platform temples, overlooking the majestic Moon Pyramid, that we decided to stop for a little picnic. Content from our delicious packed lunch I sat cross legged facing the temple, closed my eyes and started concentrating on my breathing. I felt so relaxed and content that I completely lost my sense of time. Finally bringing myself back to awareness, I heard a quiet rumble behind me and looking over I saw Rob sprawled out on his back enjoying an afternoon nap.

Back at the campground later that evening, Erna joined us for diner in our camper. We enjoyed another lovely evening together and listened to Erna's fabulous stories. The following morning we stopped by Erna's house as we were leaving to say goodbye. "I'm glad you stopped in," she told us, "I have a little something for you, Rob". She handed Rob a small piece of paper. It read: Robbie, I love you very much and am so proud of you. Erna explained, "I received that message from your grandmother last night."


From Thea Avis on Aug 10th, 2008