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Teotihuacán, Mesoamerica’s City of Gods and Pyramids

Teotihuacán was an ancient city in Modern-Day Mexico that was once known as Mesoamerica’s biggest city; the city was even bigger than Rome. Teotihuacán is an Aztec name meaning “place of the gods.” The population was around 50,000-100,000 people and the city covered an area over eight square miles. It was a sophisticated city, with religious buildings, wide streets, and private houses. According to local legend, it has been said that the sun and the moon were born in Teotihuacán. Not a lot is known about the daily life and customs of its people. However, we do know that the people of Teotihuacán praised certain gods. The rain god and the jaguar were two important figures for them. That was discovered by studying the engravings on religious temples. This civilization was advanced because of how carefully the city was built. They had a grid system that controlled the access to water.

Teotihuacán is dominated by two main pyramids: the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. There are also two monumental public places at the heart of the city: the Citadel and the Great Compound. The Great Compound has two big platforms on several building stands. The Citadel played a religious role, approached by a stairway. The platform supported another pyramid, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, which rose to about seventy feet in the tiers made of richly carved sculptures. The stone serpent heads coming from the tiers appear alarming to this day.

Local supplies such as obsidian were important for trading in a chiefly agricultural economy. The high-quality murals suggest that the people from Teotihuacán were good at art, but evidence of human sacrifice during the years of decline points to a more barbaric side of their culture. Nobody knows how Teotihuacán came to an end, but somewhere around the eighth century, the city had been burned and sacked.

[Source: 100 Great Wonders Of the World; Painting by Dominique Amendola]

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