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Teotihuacan is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Spanish Americas.  Apart from the pyramidal structures, the archaeological site of Teotihuacan is also known for its large residential complexes, the so-called “avenue of the dead”, and its colorful well-preserved murals. The original name of the city is unknown, but it appears in hieroglyphic texts from the Maya region as “Place of Reeds”. The early history of Teotihuacan is quite mysterious, and the origin of its founders is debated. For many years, archaeologists believed it was built by the Toltec. This belief was based on colonial period texts. However, the Nahuatl word “Toltec” generally means “craftsman of the highest level” and may not always refer to the archaeological Toltec civilization. Most of what we know about the culture at Teotihuacan comes from the mural that adorn the site and from hieroglyphic inscriptions made by the Maya. There is archeological evidence that Teotihuacan was a multi-ethnic city, with distinct Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya and what seem to be Nahhuatl quarters. The religion of Teotihuacan is similar to those of other Mesoamerican cultures. Many of the same gods were worshiped, including the Feathered Serpent (the Aztecs’ Quetzalcoatl) and Rain God (the Aztecs’ Tlaloc). Teotihuacan was a major religious center, and the priests, probably has a great deal of political power. As with other Mesoamerican cultures, Teotihuacan’s practiced human sacrifice. The city’s broad central avenue, called “Avenue of the Dead”, is flanked by impressive ceremonial architecture, including the immense Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Aztecs believed they were tombs, inspiring the name of the avenue. Now they are known to be ceremonial platforms that were topped with temples. Further down the Avenue of the Dead is the area known as the Citadel, containing the ruined Temple of the Feathered Serpent. This area was a large plaza surrounded by temples that formed the religious and political center of the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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