Teotihuacan, Mexico

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GPS Address: Pyramid of the Sun, San Juan Teotihuacán, 55800 Teotihuacán de Arista, State of Mexico, Mexico

Teotihuacan was a pre-hispanic mesoamerican city, with the pyramids, and a plethora of ancient ruins assembled in an area of ~12 square miles. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987) and attracts a heavy number of tourists both from within Mexico and outside. The city was home to Nahuatl speaking Aztecs and predates the Mayan civilization.

There are two main pyramids (Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of the Sun), avenue of the dead, pre-historic murals, and residential complexes. Walk around the ancient city along the avenue of the dead will surely stimulate your senses, especially if you can read Spanish. Most of the signs and the descriptions are written in Spanish, so it will help to have an offline dictionary handy if you cannot read Spanish.

If you enter through the parking lot #1 and walk towards the Pyramid of the Moon on the other side of the city, you will do so via the Avenue of the Dead. Along the road, there will be ruins of temples, residential complexes and marketplaces along with the places to worship.

Pyramids – The larger one (75m high) is the Piramide del Sol, has multiple levels (around 100 steps of various shape and sizes). The first two stages are easier than the last one with narrower steps. But once atop, it is a vista you’d not want to miss. There is always a line to climb, and it gets pretty crowded up in the levels so be careful. The smaller one (Piramide del Luna) is probably half the height that of the Piramide del Sol, but the steps are steeper. You can only climb halfway, but the view is amazing regardless.

In the avenue of the dead, near the Moon Pyramid, there are two things that you should not miss –
1. Mural of a Puma – due to great restoration work, the paint and the sketch is still visible. Many such murals were there in the city, but are not yet restored.
2. Chalchiuhticre – Apparently a random piece of stone, that was actually a sculpture from the past of the Goddess of Water. This is probably one of the very few stones that are preserved from the past. Rest of the stone, building walls, and monuments are all restored to somewhat extent.

Other places for good photo ops and historical importance are the Citadel (the first site near the entrance 1), El palacio de Quetzalpapalotl, remains of a smaller pyramid showing somewhat the plan, and Plaza de la Luna, etc.

Along the avenue of the dead, there are street vendors selling stuff like the Mayan Calendar (which is fake as it is actually called Sun Stone; Mayan calendar looks more like a Gregorian Calendar with different counting of days and months), Statues made with Obsidian (most of them are probably fake too as some of the texture was not of any igneous rock), Jaguares (small airpipe that makes an annoying noise), etc. Be careful buying anything from here, likely you will be ripped off unless you are fluent in Spanish to aid in heavy bargaining process. If you like something, just quote a low price that you are comfortable with and walk away.

In the avenue of the dead, near the Moon Pyramid, there are two things that you should not miss –
1. Mural of a Puma – due to great restoration work, the paint and the sketch is still visible. Many such murals were there in the city, but are not yet restored.
2. Chalchiuhticre – Apparently a random piece of stone, that was actually a sculpture from the past of the Goddess of Water. This is probably one of the very few stones that are preserved from the past. Rest of the stone, building walls, and monuments are all restored to somewhat extent.

Once out of the area, walk to the car and drive out to have food in the nearby restaurants or visit the Teotihuacan museum. We ate at one of the local restaurants that served homemade food, one of the family members sang a song for us, and had a couple of mezcals for free. Yelp review here.

Check out the Gallery for Teotihuacan (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

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