Teotihuacan

By: Taylor Turner

Basic Info

Teotihuacán, ( teo oo ti hi can) ( Nahuatl: “The City of the Gods”) the most important and largest city of pre-Aztec central Mexico , located about 30 miles (50 km) northeast of modern Mexico City. At its apogee (c. ad 500), it encompassed some 8 square miles (20 square km) and supported a population estimated at 125,000–200,000, making it, at the time, one of the largest cities in the world. It was the region’s major economic as well as religious centre.

Teotihuacan now and then

The ruins of Teotihuacan archaeological site are among the most remarkable in Mexico. The Aztecs believed that the gods created the universe in this ancient city that once flourished as the epicenter of culture and commerce during Mesoamerica's Classic period. Located about 50 km (30 miles) north of Mexico City makes an ideal day trip for history and anthropology buffs.

The site was inhabited from around 200 B.C. until its collapse almost one thousand years later. Teotihuacan is thought to have had a population of about 200 thousand inhabitants at its peak.

This ancient site is enveloped in mysteries that add to its intrigue and appeal. Experts do not know to what ethnic group the people of Teotihuacan belonged, nor what language they spoke. For this reason they are called Teotihuacanos. The name of the site, which means "place of the gods," comes from the Aztecs. By the time of the Aztec civilization, Teotihuacan had already been abandoned for hundreds of years, but the Aztecs considered it a sacred place full of myths and legends.

The principal road running through the center of Teotihuacan, called the Avenue of the Dead, is almost a mile and a half long, and about 130 feet wide. Many buildings surround the Avenue of the Dead. The Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan's most impressive structure towering more than 200 feet in height, presents a challenging but worthwhile climb. From the top you can appreciate the full extent of the site and the view is breathtaking.

More remarkable structures at Teotihuacan include The Pyramid of the Moon, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl.

Social Structure

Teotihucacan maintained a clearly stratified social system. The city's architecture shows it had a limitless labor force. The leaders were involved in both the administrative & religious life of the city. Farmers, Craftsmen, Merchants, Bureaucrats, and Foreigners all shared the common trait being below the nobility. Farming communities were very important to the city due to large population. Merchants provided certain economic stability, and took part in the trading enterprise of the city

Government

The type of government was unknown. However it seems like the city was ruled by an individual. Even today there is still no specific information that we know about the government and there are no inscriptions that can show their achievements. The seat of government was probably located at many different places

Type of Writing

Little is known about the writing system

We know that it is iconography because there is evidence of that type of writing on paintings

Advances

City is laid out in a somewhat grid pattern like the "Avenue of the dead". Improved drainage and water-supply systems. One of the earliest known examples of urban planning. Their clay was light orange it's not brown like today's clay. They had light but sturdy pottery "Lite Orange" due to orange clay.

They created a architectural style called talud-tablero which consisted of alternating slopes and vertical lines

Artifacts

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