Saturday, October 8, 2016

Teotihuacan – Mexico

Around 2400 years ago, the Valley of Teotihuacan was occupied by various rural communities with a population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants within an area covering 2.5-3.7 square miles. Toward 200 B.C., part of the population from the Southern Basin of Mexico, immigrated to the north of Lake Texcoco. Thus resulted in a reorganisation of the settlements and a new population centre was formed in the Valley. In this way, the first planned urban settlement in Mesoamerica was born.
During the following phases of the development of the City, a sophisticated level of urbanisation was reached as demonstrated by an urban plan with streets and blocks, dominated by two large perpendicular roadways running through them: the Avenue of the Dead and the East-West Avenue. Likewise, the urban planning was evidence by drainage and a sewage in the residential units, buildings and public plazas, as well as by an official architectural style characterised as the slope-panel.

At its peak, the city had a population of 175,000 inhabitants. The demographic increase, the economic development and the high level of specialisation required to satisfy the needs of the population, generated great social differences, as well as an important expansion in the arts and sciences. This was a theocratic society, which controlled the Valley of Teotihuacan and the neighbouring valleys of the Basin of Mexico.
Throughout the city, different levels of construction can be appreciated, demonstrating how the city grew on top of itself during nine centuries. In this way, one can easily observe the superimposed buildings which correspond to different stages in the development of the Teotihuacan Culture, until its fall around 700-750 A.D. The collapse of this city occurred due to social and environmental factors, and to economic growth of groups in neighbouring valleys.

After the city was abandoned and until the arrival of the Spanish, various cultural groups, such as the Toltecs and the Aztecs respected it as a Sacred City. Settlements established themselves on the outskirts, reoccupying the residential zones and the spring fed agricultural areas.

In sheer size, the Pyramid of the Sun is the largest pre-Hispanic building of its time (100-650 A.D.) and one of the most significant in Meso America. Its name comes from the fact that beginning in the 16th century accounts claimed that the Sun God was worshipped at this immense monument. It is apparent that the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, are the buildings which dominated the growth and development of Teotihuacan. The religious importance of this city brought great power to it, making it a sacred city and principal destination of pilgrimages, allowing it to control the Valleys of Toluca, Puebla-Tlaxcala and Morelos. 

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