Video: The place where the gods lived: The secret of the ancient "ghost town" Teotihuacan is revealed
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
Mysterious Teotihuacan, which is more than two thousand years old, rivals such great cities of its time as Rome, Athens and Alexandria. He was the heart of a great empire. The ancient abandoned city was discovered by the Aztecs in the XIV century. They believed that the city was built by giants, it was so majestic. The Aztecs named it Teotihuacan - the place where the gods touched the earth. Who and when laid the first stone and why, at the peak of its heyday, was it abandoned by all its inhabitants?
"Ghost town" Teotihuacan located just fifty kilometers from Mexico City. It has been reconstructed several times, not only in our days, but also in antiquity. The tribes of the Aztecs, leaving the north, stumbled upon this abandoned city and its greatness made them in awe.
It could not be otherwise: amazing all the foundations of the imagination, the Road of the Dead, paved with volcanic stone, five kilometers long, forty meters wide, is surrounded by numerous sanctuaries and temples. This avenue begins at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, goes past the Pyramid of the Sun and ends in a huge square in front of the Pyramid of the Moon. In the center of the city, there is a place called the Citadel.
The inner courtyard could accommodate about 100 thousand people. This is an excellent fortified place built in case the city is besieged. Teotihuacan became a religious center and sacred city for the Aztecs. The main building of this temple complex became for the Aztecs the sanctuary of their deity Quetzalcoatl. According to their beliefs, he created everything that exists, was the patron saint of the earth and fertility. All levels of the temple, and there are six, are very richly decorated with skillfully carved bas-reliefs and sculptures depicting dragons. A staircase leads to the top of the pyramid, in which there are exactly 365 steps, like days in a year.
For the first time, archaeological excavations in the ancient city were carried out by the Spaniards back in the 17th century. The project also included the restoration of the Pyramid of the Sun. The next time similar events were held in the 20s of the 20th century by Manuel Gamio. Later there were excavations in the 40s and 50s. Then scientists already wondered who built Teotihuacan, who were its first inhabitants and where, and most importantly, why did they leave?
Despite the fact that the city is thoroughly researched by archaeologists, there is very little information about it. According to scientists, Teotihuacan inhabited from 100 to 200 thousand inhabitants. This is a huge number of people for those times and suggests that it was a huge city. Especially for its time.
It was a settlement with a very clearly organized way of life. Researchers believe that the city was ruled by representatives of the multi-ethnic nobility. They lived in beautiful spacious two-story houses. The walls of the houses are luxuriously decorated with beautifully preserved frescoes. The city was ideally planned, with the correct network of streets intersecting with the main avenue at right angles.
The name of the central avenue was given by the Aztecs. They considered the buildings along the Road of the Dead to be sacrificial altars. In fact, these were just residential houses of local residents, as scientists later found out. The adobe buildings where ordinary citizens lived were located close to each other. They formed quarters with narrow streets. These were one-story buildings with flat roofs and doors served as the only source of light and air. The outer part of the building served as a barrier from city street noise. The house was cool during the day and warm at night. In the courtyard of each house there was an altar, which speaks of the extreme religiosity of the inhabitants of the city.
All the main buildings were built not just from some cobblestones, but from smoothly hewn, perfectly rectangular stones. Modern researchers are still wondering at what unattainably high level the technologies of that time were. It now seems unrealistic to produce such bricks with the tools of that period. There are no marks on the stones even from a hammer and chisel. Some scientists believe that these were some kind of saws, possibly diamond. For such buildings, and they were all built at the same time, a colossal amount of building materials and the work of more than one thousand people are needed. All this suggests how powerful and rich this ancient mysterious state was.
In addition to handicraft technologies, the ancient builders had very deep knowledge in the field of astronomy and mathematics. The Pyramid of the Sun, according to scientists, was built using calculations involving the number "Pi". It doesn't fit in my head, but it is. This pyramid is the third largest in the world, it is slightly inferior in size to the pyramid of Cheops. It was built around 150 AD. The building was five-tiered with a supposedly wooden temple at the top. What was its appearance and purpose is still a mystery for scientists.
The researchers found that under the temple is a cave, 100 meters wide and about six deep. At first, scientists decided that the cave had a natural origin, but further study of it disproved this theory. It was artificially created by human hands and may have served as a tomb for the city's rulers. The building got its name from the Aztecs, who found that exactly twice a year - on April 29 and August 12, being at its zenith, the sun hovers right over its top. From the top of this monumental structure, a stunning view of the entire majestic ancient city opens up.
The second largest building in Teotihuacan is the Pyramid of the Moon. There are ten other smaller ones in the square in front of this temple. Here, probably, local priests held religious meetings, processions, ceremonies. At first glance, it may seem that both temples, the Moon and the Sun, are the same. This is far from the case, purely a visual effect.
Inside the building, archaeologists have discovered the remains of twelve human bodies. All people had their hands tied behind their backs. Ten bodies were decapitated and left in disarray in the middle of the burial hall. According to one of the versions, these were the enemies of the inhabitants of the city. The other two were very richly dressed, with expensive jewelry, and were neatly seated. They bore various signs indicating their high position in society, the local elite.
Archaeologists discovered in 2003 under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent a deep long underground tunnel that leads to the Pyramid of the Sun. There, during excavations, they found various cult objects in huge quantities and jewelry. Archaeological excavations are still underway. The goal of scientists: to find the burial place of the rulers of Teotihuacan.
For many centuries, this ancient city was the sun around which all life in the empire revolved. Once the inhabitants, for reasons still unclear, left it. Almost all the surrounding nations were subordinate to Teotihuacan. In the period from 7 to 8 centuries, the city was destroyed. His tombs were plundered, and magnificent sculptures were destroyed. Until now, scientists argue about what was the reason: the invasion of unknown invaders, some natural cataclysm or epidemic. The absence of numerous human remains suggests that the inhabitants simply left the city and left. The main questions are: why, and most importantly, where did they go?
Teotihuacan was empty for almost seven centuries, until the Aztecs found it and began to live in it. In the 16th century, after the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors, the city was abandoned again. The city looks majestic, but it is only a shadow of its former beauty and power.
Read more about the history, deep scientific knowledge and fabulous treasures of the Aztecs, read our article Aztec gold stolen by Cortez was discovered while building a bar in Mexico City.
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