August 13, 2013

0792 MEXICO (México) - Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan (UNESCO WHS)

0792 The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan

Located in the Basin of Mexico, 48km northeast of modern day Mexico City, Teotihuacan was established around 100 BC and continued to be built until about 250 AD. It may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries AD, and at its zenith, perhaps in the first half of the 1st millennium AD, was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas (with perhaps 150,000 inhabitants). Although it's a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented.

The Aztecs may have been influenced by this city. Archaeological evidence suggests that Teotihuacan was a multi-ethnic city, with distinct quarters occupied by Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya and Nahua peoples. The Totonacs have always maintained that they were the ones who built it. The Aztecs repeated that story, but it has not been corroborated by archaeological findings. The city's broad central avenue, called Avenue of the Dead, is flanked by impressive ceremonial architecture, including the immense Pyramid of the Sun (third largest in the World after the Great Pyramid of Cholula and the Great Pyramid of Giza).

Along the Avenue of the Dead are many smaller talud-tablero platforms. 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. The name "Citadel" was given to it by the Spanish, who believed it was a fort. Most of the common people lived in large apartment buildings spread across the city. Many of the buildings contained workshops where artisans produced pottery and other goods.

The Pyramid of the Sun (named like that  by Aztecs, centuries after it was abandoned), was constructed in two phases, in the second being added an altar atop of it, which hasn't survived into modern times. Over the structure the ancient Teotihuacanos finished their pyramid with lime plaster imported from surrounding areas, on which they painted brilliantly coloured murals. While the pyramid has endured for centuries, the paint and plaster haven't and are no longer visible. Jaguar heads and paws, stars, and snake rattles are among the few images associated with the pyramids.

As "a unique artistic achievement as much for the enormous size as for the strictness of a layout based on cosmic harmony", Teotihuacan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, under the name Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting guaje de plata - México / Distrito Federal (13.50 MXN), is part of the series México creación popular (Folk Art Mexico), about which I wrote here.
Teotihuacan - Wikipedia
Teotihuacan, the City of the Gods - official website
Pyramid of the Sun - Wikipedia

Sender: Maggie Alonso (direct swap)
Sent from Ecatepec (Mexico / Mexico), on 12.06.2013

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