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A Brief History of the Teotihuacan Pyramids

It was once among the largestand most populated cities across the globe, however, now the pyramids are all that remains of the ancient city of Teotihuacan situated in Mexico.

Near the modern-day Mexico City, the pyramids of Teotihuacan are considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site that ought to be on every traveler’s bucket list. Some of the more impressive structures can be climbable, providing breathtaking views from the top of these centuries-old pre-Hispanic works of engineering.

It’s an amazing place for exploring, and to assist you in planning your trip we’ve put together a information on Teotihuacan!

A Short History of the Teotihuacan Pyramids

Teotihuacan within Mexico is inseparable from its history; for it’s an archeological site! It is therefore advisable to arm yourself with a little knowledge of the past before visiting Teotihuacan.

The ruin of Teotihuacan and the surviving pyramids are the only remnants of what was once the most strong cities in Mesoamerica. It isn’t only pre-Hispanic but predates even the Aztecs who were the dominant force to be taken seriously when Europeans first arrived in the 1500s.

Teotihuacan was first established in the 1st Century AD and the city grew to become the biggest in the region. It was a hub for the arts, culture and civilization in the Teotihuacan Valley, and held an immense influence over the surrounding region. The city was one of the biggest cities anywhere in the world, and was the home to thousands of inhabitants. The present-day pyramids were built (primarily for religious reasons) during the peak of the city’s strength. By the seventh century A.D., Teotihuacan was beginning to be abandoned for mysterious reasons (at at the same time many Mayan towns in south-central Mexico were being abandoned).

The ruins of the city and the pyramids held great influence for centuries to come However. The Aztecs who arrived to build their capital city Tenochtitlan towards the south (where Mexico City stands today) also made pilgrimages to temples. The name Teotihuacan is believed to refer to “Birthplace of gods” or “Birthplace of the Gods” in the local Aztec dialect.

After the Spanish conquer the pyramids fell into further decay until archeological excavations began several centuries later. Nowadays, there’s a renewed admiration for Teotihuacan and it’s considered to be one of the best-preserved examples of pre-Hispanic pyramids in Mexico.

The Best Date to Visit Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is best visited during the spring, winter, or early summer time. The most suitable months for travel to Teotihuacan is from November through May during which the weather is dry and the temperatures are cool.

Since the elevation in Teotihuacan has been recorded at 2300 metres (7,500 feet) which means that winters in the area are often quite cold even though it’s located at the heart of Central Mexico. Winter is a great time for beating the crowds (except during Christmas) If you’re not accustomed to hot temperatures, it’s a good time to go on a tour without being too hot.

In spring when the sun is shining and temperatures begin to rise however, tourist numbers are picking up as well. It is extremely humid in summer, as well as the climate is defined by the constant rainfall (not an ideal time to be outside, going to The Pyramids).

No matter what season you go to it is a good idea to make a plan to Teotihuacan mid-week. The pyramids of Teotihuacan are located close to Mexico City, and on weekends they are busy.

Teotihuacan is located to the north in Mexico City; around 50 kilometers (nearly 32 miles) from the city center. Tours to Teotihuacan start every day, all through the season, and it’s accessible for a day trip from Mexico City.

Recommendation: We strongly recommend this Teotihuacan day tour departing from Mexico City. On this early morning tour you get to beat the crowds , and experience this impressive archaeological site just as it begins to open its doors to visitors during the day. Take a tour of its numerous places, buildings, and murals in a tranquil, peaceful a magical and mystical atmosphere which will give you to experience the true essence the city that is so famous in the past of Mexico.

While guided tours are popular and reasonably easy to catch the public bus to the ruins (even in the event that it’s your very first time using public transport within Mexico). Buses run regularly (every 15 minutes or at least every 15 minutes) from the Terminal de Autobuses del Norte, Mexico City’s most important Northern bus station.

The bus terminal is home to the metro station of its own (Autobuses del Norte Metro) which is situated on the Yellow Line (Line 5). You can purchase an individual ticket to the metro, or you can use the metro’s prepaid card. Journeys are super cheap, at just five pesos a ride.

You can cut down on a lot of time by using the Uber from the train station but. It’s safe, easy to book on using the app and surprising value. Once you are at the terminal, there will be signs on different counters advertising the bus service to Teotihuacan (complete with images of the pyramids, to make things clear). Just queue up and jump on the next departure.

The journey could take as little up to 45 minutes, from airport according to how busy. There are several entrances and exits into the complex of pyramids, but just take the first stop by one of the Pyramids (Gate 1). Get your ticket for entry (a very reasonable 80 pesos day ticket) and start exploring.

When you return it is possible to catch the bus again from another exit, rather than walking back to the starting point. Buses are available throughout the time (the monuments open from 9 a.m. to five p.m.).

It’s not a problem, and you can also rent a car and take a drive towards Teotihuacan!

How Long Do I Have to Spend in Teotihuacan?

It is possible to visit Teotihuacan on an excursion of a day out of Mexico City, but with all the transportation and waiting times you can expect to take a whole day to explore.

At the pyramids of Teotihuacan themselves, you’ll need at least three or four hours to take in all the attractions. It includes walking time between the pyramids and in the museum, as well as frequent breaks for refreshments and lunch.

Can I Spend the Night in Teotihuacan?

It’s not possible to stay the night in the pyramids itself, however, you are able to spend the night in the town nearby. It’s only a few minutes from the pyramids towards the middle and there’s a variety of lodging options to choose from.

It’s not necessary to stay overnight however, it means you can get in early enough to visit the pyramids, watch the sunset, or go for a sunrise hot air balloon flight.

Best Things to Do in Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is spread over many kilometers, so be prepared for lots of walking during the day. It is also possible to rent bikes at the entrance if you prefer. If you own your own car, you can drive around the perimeter of the complex and park in various spots However, you’ll still be walking in and out.

As we’ve said earlier, it’s easier to use the bus. Just get off at the entrance that is the first and then take the return trip at the last entrance (start at The Temple of Quetzalcoatl by Gate 1 and finish at The Pyramid of the Moon by Gate 3).

With this in mind with that in mind, here are the top things to see and do during the Teotihuacan tour.

1. Temple of Quetzalcoatl

The Temple of Quetzalcoatl (also known as the Temple of the Feathered Serpent) is the third-largest pyramid at Teotihuacan. It’s situated near Gate 1 and is the first temple to be seen by day-trippers.

It’s not as impressive like the other pyramids you’ll glimpse from the distance however it’s packed with history, some of it rather dark. Mass graves have been discovered near the pyramid. Secret underground tunnels the temple. The temple was once within the city walls – rather than outside, as the other temples do.

2. Avenue of the Dead

The Avenue of the Dead is 2.5 kilometers (about 1.5 miles) long , and it runs from towards the Temple of Quetzalcoatl in a perfect straight line to The Pyramid of the Moon.

This was the city of Teotihuacan’s main thoroughfare, and it’s so called because it could be the path taken by those who would die on the pyramids.

You’ll stroll along the avenue in your travels, taking in temples and other places along the way.

3. Pyramid of the Sun

The Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan is located along the Avenue of the Dead, between the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramid of the Moon. This is the largest one in the city and is the most famous and easily recognizable.

It’s also the pyramid which all visitors climb to reach the top, therefore be prepared for a long slog through the steps. It’s worth the effort expenditure as the views are spectacular (and in 360 degrees).

The pyramid is an exceptional engineering feat. It’s believed to date back to 200 A.D. and rises up to 65 meters (about 213 feet) in height, making it the third largest stone structure ever constructed anywhere in the world.

4. Pyramid of the Moon

The Pyramid of the Moon is situated at the side of the Avenue of the Dead, in the place where the road ends. The pyramid measures 43 meters (about 140 feet) in height. It has seven distinct layers leading to the highest point.

It is believed that the pyramid was a key site for ritual sacrifice and religious ceremonies because graves of many people have been found around the base and within the pyramid’s layers inside the structure.

5. Palace of Quetzalpapalotl

At the foot on the Pyramid of the Moon, you can wander through the excavated ruins of the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl.

There are a variety of murals that were meticulously restored and show the ability to create art created in the pre-Hispanic age.

The purpose of the palace is unclear however it could have been the home for a high-ranking priest, given its location by the temples.

6. Teotihuacan Museum

The tiny Teotihuacan Museum offers an insight into the background and archaeology around the pyramids as well as the ancient city.

There are artifacts and short descriptions, along with diagrams of how the city looked like in the past. It’s not very detailed, but does help you to understand the city’s layout as in its entirety.

7. Hot Air Balloon Flight

A most exciting ways to get to know Teotihuacan is to go on a hot air balloon ride above the pyramids. You can schedule them ahead of time, and as with the majority of hot air balloon rides the best time to take them is early in the morning.

From high above, you’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire area and the valley that surrounds it, that really puts the size and size of the city into sharp view.

Tips for visiting Teotihuacan

1. Visit in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City First

There’s not a lot of information on the pyramids while walking around, so it’s a good option to go to the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City before your trip to Teotihuacan.

The Museum of Anthropology is one of the largest museums in the world, and there’s a lot of information about the background of Teotihuacan and the civilization that built the pyramids.

The museum covers a lot of known eras that are part of Mexican history, too it is possible to begin to piece the narrative together and imagine how the pyramids will fit in the timeline.

2. Be Early to Leave, but Not Too Early

If you’re coming from Mexico City you’ll need to leave early-ish to enjoy a full day. However, you want to avoid rush hour in the city. This goes for anyone traveling on a car, metro, or Uber!

The city’s peak hours are notorious, and you’ll find that the metro system is crowded (literally to the point of being suffocating) and the roads closed.

Try to start your journey before 9 a.m. to miss the worst rush hour in the city. There’s still enough time to view the pyramids before returning to your hotel before the rush of evening.

Recommendation: By booking an excursion, you do not have to worry about getting on the right bus or rush hour traffic. In addition, you will be able to explore the city with an experienced guide who will tell you the story of this important pre-Hispanic city. Day tours are affordable and can take the strain out of your journey to The Teotihuacan Pyramids.

3. Wear a hat and Sunscreen

There’s no shade once you’re inside the pyramid complex (except at the museum) because everything is expansive.

During the climb to the summit of the pyramids and walk through the Avenue of the Dead, you’re constantly in the sun. Make sure you wear a sun hat and put on sunscreen, even in the winter.

4. Begin with a Guided Tour of the Pyramids

Although you can explore the area on your own but having a dedicated Teotihuacan guide can really help you experience the Teotihuacan experience.

If you haven’t booked a guided tour in advance it is possible to hire help from a local guide to Teotihuacan by stepping up to the front.

Prices are reasonable You’ll leave those pyramids at Teotihuacan with a better appreciation of their significance than you did before you came.

Pyramids in Teotihuacan are one of the most stunning archaeological sites in the world, and a must-visit for travelers to Mexico City. The pre-Hispanic ruins stand over time and provide a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures that grew and died long before Europeans arrived on Mexican shores. This is the ideal day excursion away from Mexico City!