AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Teotihuacan, which means the
place where men become gods, is an archaeological zone in
the State of Mexico. It lays between the towns of San Juan
Teotihuacan and San Martin de las Piramides, 48 km (30 mi)
northeast of Mexico City. The climate is semi-dry, with an
average year-round temperature of 15º C (59º F.)
These are among the most important pre-Hispanic ruins in the
Americas due to their masterful urban layout, the monumental
architecture and the strong religious and political
influence that Teotihuacan held over other cities. In
addition, it is one of Mexico’s most visited archaeological
sites. Magnificent ceremonial, social, civic and residential
structures were built around the ancient metropolis’ main
avenue. Among the most impressive constructions are the
Piramides del Sol y Luna (Pyramids of the Sun and Moon,) the
Templo de Quetzalcoatl (Temple of the Plumed Serpent,) the
Patio de los Jaguares (Patio of the Jaguars,) the Palacio de
Quetzalcoatl (Palace of Quetzalcoatl) and the Palacio de la
Ciudadela (Palace of the Citadel.) Many of the edifices are
adorned with remarkably well-preserved murals.
Not only does Teotihuacan boast one of Mesoamerica’s most
splendid examples of ancient architecture, but it is also a
very spiritual place, according to those who continue to
observe pre-Hispanic traditions. On March 21, when the
spring equinox occurs, visitors descend on the site to
absorb its strong energy. During your visit to Teotihuacan,
you’ll also find an on-site museum and the Centro de
Estudios Teotihuacan (Teotihuacan Research Center,) which
are dedicated to promoting tourist services and the study of
Teotihuacan’s ancient cultures.
In the site’s surrounding areas, especially in the town of
San Juan Teotihuacan, there are various hotels and
restaurants where you’ll find comfortable lodgings and
delicious food, such as consommé and barbacoa (lamb.) At
night, good times await you in the town’s bars.
The archeological zone of Teotihuacan is considered
Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by the UNESCO.
Hotel El Santuario
Resort and Spa
Teotihuacan is one of
Mexico’s best kept archaeological sites. It has numerous ruins,
including about 600 pyramids, important palaces and
residential areas with splendid murals. Among the most
notable constructions are:
Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead): This
main avenue cuts through the center of the archaeological
site. It is four km (2.5 mi) long and 40 meters (132 feet)
wide, stretching from the Ciudadela (Citadel) to the Plaza
de la Luna (Plaza of the Moon.) At the avenue’s halfway
point you’ll see the Conjunto Plaza Oeste and a residential
area, which probably was inhabited by priests in the
La Ciudadela (The Citadel): Located on the site’s
southern end. This 400-meter rectangular construction was
built around 200 B.C. At this place you’ll see important
religious structures, such as the Templo de Quetzalcoatl
(Temple of the Plumed Serpent,) as well as the site’s main
worshipping grounds and a residential area, which
researchers believe was occupied by the city’s ruling class.
Templo de Quetzalcoatl (Temple of the Plumed Serpent):
Located in the Ciudadela (Citadel.) This edifice, built
in honor of Quetzalcoatl, is one of the site’s most
important structures. The façade features elaborate carvings
of serpent heads, aquatic motifs of conches and seashells,
representations of rain god Tlaloc and a plumed serpent.
Piramide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun): Located in the
center of the archaeological zone. This monument was
constructed between A.D. 1 – 150 on top of a natural cave.
It is 64 meters (211 feet) high and 215 meters (709 feet)
wide, making it one of Mesoamerica’s largest pyramids.
Plaza y Piramide de la Luna (Plaza and Pyramid of the
Moon): Located north of the Calzada de los Muertos
(Avenue of the Dead.) Built between A.D. 1 – 150, the
pyramid is 40 meters (132 feet) high and has an 1800-sq.
meter (2,160-sq. yard) base. This four-sided pyramid has a
huge temple and a staircase that leads to a platform and
continues on to the top of the structure. In front of the
imposing edifice you’ll see nine smaller pyramids
surrounding the plaza.
Palacio de Quetzalpapalotl (Palace of Quetzalpapalotl):
Located southwest of the Plaza de la Luna (Plaza of the
Moon.) It is believed that the high priest lived in this
palace. Inside you’ll see the remains of bas-reliefs and
Patio de los Jaguares (Patio of the Jaguars): Located
southwest of the Plaza de la Luna (Plaza of the Moon), next
to the Palacio de Quetzalcoatl (Palace of Quetzalcoatl.)
This structure was built between 450 – 650 B.C. The patio is
surrounded by rooms that have jaguar figures painted on the
walls. You also see ornamentation such as conches, seashells
and feathers. Archaeologists believe the scenes depict
rituals to bring rain.
ARTS AND CRAFTS:
representative crafts of Teotihuacan are objects made of
onyx, obsidian and crystal. In addition, you’ll find
figurines made of quartz and malachite, as well as clay and
plaster reproductions of pre-Hispanic pieces. These crafts
are sold at the archaeological site and at an outdoor market
on Mondays in the town of San Juan Teotihuacan.
FESTIVALS AND TRADITIONS:
towns host festivities with many years of tradition, such as
the Feria Nacional de la Obsidiana (National Obsidian Fair,)
which takes place in March in the town of San Juan
Teotihuacan. On May 3, you can join in on the celebration of
Dia de la Santa Cruz (Day of Santa Cruz.) A festivity to
honor St. Nicholas is held in the town of Acolman, which
features processions and dance performances.
In Teotihuacan you
can enjoy the State of Mexico’s delicious culinary offering
at various restaurants and food stalls. Among the most
recommendable dishes are barbacoa (lamb,) consome de carnero
(mutton consommé) and carnitas de cerdo (fried pork.)
You will also find food and drink that is a fusion of
pre-Hispanic and contemporary cuisine, which include
ingredients such as capulines (a regional fruit,) los hongos
de monte (wild edible mushrooms,) ajolotes (axolotl) and the
traditional pulque (a fermented alcoholic beverage.) Other
regional dishes you can try are longaniza (Mexican sausage,)
tacos, tamales de charales (stuffed with fish,) pancita
(tripe,) quesadillas made with blossom pumpkin flowers or
huitlacoche (corn fungus,) tlacoyos and gorditas (made of
corn dough and various ingredients.)
surrounding areas you can visit several towns that have
preserved important examples of 16th-century architecture.
Temple and Ex-Convent of San Agustin: Located in
Acolman, 10 minutes from the archaeological site and 38 km
(23 mi) from Mexico City. This church was built between 1539
and 1560 by Augustinian friars. It features a 16th-century
Plateresque-style façade. Open Tuesday through Sunday from
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Ex-Convent of San Juan Evangelista: Located in San
Juan Teotihuacan, three km (2 mi) from the ruins and 48 km
(30 mi) from Mexico City. This Franciscan convent was
constructed in 1548. The church has a beautiful tower and an
old bell gable with cactus-shaped parapets. Open daily from
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Ex-Convent of Oxtoticpac: Located in Oxtoticpac, five
km (3 mi) from Teotihuacan. This ex-convent is an example of
religious architecture from the 16th-century colonial era.
It is said that the bodies of two important Chichimeca
rulers were buried here. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00
In Teotihuacan and
near the site you’ll find numerous museums and a research
center where investigators do in-depth studies and document
Museum of the Archeological Zone: Located in the
Teotihuacan archaeological zone, south of the Pyramid of the
Sun. Here you’ll see interesting pre-Hispanic obsidian,
ceramic, bone and conch shell works. Open daily from 10:00
a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Museum of the Paintings of Teotihuacan: Located in
the Teotihuacan archaeological zone, west of the Pyramid of
the Moon. At this museum you’ll see many murals that have
been found at the site and restored. The murals depict
ancient rituals, ceremonies, deities and scenes of everyday
life. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Museum Cultural of Teotihuacan: Located in the
Teotihuacan archaeological zone, south of the Pyramid of the
Sun. The exhibit at this museum chronicles the cultural
development of the city’s ancient inhabitants. You’ll also
see various pieces that have been discovered at the site and
a model of Teotihuacan. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00
Teotihuacan Research Center and the Museum Manuel Gamio:
Located at Km 46 on the Mexico-Piramides Highway. This
research center conducts studies and promotes Teotihuacana
culture. Here you also can visit the Manuel Gamio Museum,
which has several showrooms with temporary exhibits, an
auditorium, a library, a photo archive, an audiovisual
center and more than 2,000 plans that map out the
archaeological site. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION:
surrounding areas you’ll find swimming resorts and cultural
centers offering entertainment and good times for the whole
Casa de la Cultura Heberto Castillo (Cultural Center
Heberto Castillo): Located in San Juan Teotihuacan, on
the corner of Avenue Hidalgo and Zaragoza, in the city
center. This center hosts cultural events and offers courses
in folkloric dance, jazz and contemporary dance, aerobics
and weaving. It also has temporary art exhibits. Open Monday
through Saturday. The hours vary depending on the scheduled
Botanical Garden of Teotihuacan: Located south of the
Pyramid of the Sun. This botanical garden was created in
order to conserve Teotihuacan’s traditional plants, such as
cacti, tejocote, capulin, avocado, fig, lemon, apricot, plum
and cherry trees. Nearby you’ll find a picnic area and a
garden with sculptures.
Recreational Center Frida Kahlo: Located at two km
(1.2 mi) from the Pyramid of the Sun. This recreational
center has swimming and wading pools, Jacuzzis, tennis
courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, volleyball courts,
squash courts, amusement rides for children, a restaurant,
gardens and an event hall. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
on weekends, holidays and during vacation periods.
Balneario La Fuente del Sol (Recreational Center La
Fuente del Sol): Located in San Juan Teotihuacan, at 3
Cuauhtemoc Street, in the city center. This swimming resort
has a pool and spacious recreational areas. Open on weekends
from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
In the town of San
Juan Teotihuacan and its surrounding areas there are several
markets and stores that sell all kinds of crafts, including
figures made of obsidian (volcanic silica glass), objects
made of tin cans and clay figurines of pre-Hispanic deities.
On Mondays, in San Juan Teotihuacan, you can visit an
outdoor market where you can try delicious food and buy all
kinds of souvenirs.
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