At the far northeast of the valley of Mexico, the valley of Teotihuacán is formed, with an extension of aprox., 600 km2, the San
Juan river runs by it (its main sewer) and ends up in the Texcoco lake, having numerous springs as well.
Located at a height of 2 200 m. above sea level it is considered that
it begun in the II century b.c., being considered the most
impotant culture of the central area of the old Mexico.
At least four volcano-rock working shops have been discovered which
probably begun in this era; they especialiced in
producing arrow heads and knives that were carved by percusion. Perhaps that was the first impulse that launched Teotihuacán
to a comercial road that as time went by became more important, giving the future city an internationalization concept, so
evident in the later eras.
The study of the ancient city of Teotihuacan, can be divided in 3 phases
because of its imporance and their cultural changes.
This era takes up the two centuries prior to the christian era approximatelly; during this era, the city grew up enormously both in
extension and in population, it maybe reached 50 000 inhabitants which was located in its mayority on the north and the west
regions, but with variying densities. In this time other towns of the valley diminished in population since its inhabitants move to
Teotihuacán where more and better attractions are offered
In this period the Calzada de los Muertos is designed in its north end,
posibly the East and West avenues are begun; the city is
aquiring its definite shape, large avenues with a cross-like plan and the division in cuadrants, the definite north-south orientation
is established, with a deviation of 15'30" to the east of north, remember the orientation of the oldest planned city in
Mesoamérica, La Venta with 8' to the west of north.
Teotihuacan begun importing green volcano-rock, since the local was
grey, from the Navajas mountain in Hidalgo. Taking into
account the development that is reached in the different fields it is believed that social division existed with a predominant state
and a profesionalization of activities, in other words, crafts were not made as a hobby but rather as a primordial activity.
From this, Teotihuacán reaches great importance in the local
market, center and source, with the temple (religion), of the cities
This period lasts until the year of 350 a.d. During this phase the metropolitan area which goes from the valley of México as well
as the one from Puebla, controlling part of Hidalgo, was founded.
In this era, its considered and empire, since signs of its influence
can be observed in the valley of Oaxaca, in Veracruz and even
in Kaminaljuyu, in the High Plateau of Guatemala; accepting ideas from the outside as well. Its political and comercial center is
built, the Gran Conjunto formed by the Quetzalcoatl temple (this is considered one of the most richly decorated and sumptuos
of the ancient México) and the cuadrangle in front of it, the East and West avenues are well established, running in more than 3
km to the south of the avenue of the Muertos.
In the Quetzalcoatl temple a great work can be observed. It has six
stepped bodies with a small cross beams and a great
board, in the center of the west facade, a great set of steps with the side walls decorated with serpent heads in high relief, the
cross beams are also decorated with serpents in low relief with the complete animal, with some sea shells and snails. The stone
was cut, adjusted, pollished and painted in vivid colors of which some remains can still be seen.
In this great final era (350-650), what had been accomplished before is consolidated and it expands, the city reaches its
maximum esplendor and prestige, although its area is reduced to 19 km2, reaching 200 000 inhabitants (aprox).
Many of the monuments that we see today belong to this time. A great
portion of the temples that were excavated and partially
reconstructed in 1962 and 1964, such as the Quetzalpapalotl palace, in the plaza of the moon; a great part of the more than
two hundred murals that were recovered, in palaces, temples and houses belong to this palace, where esentially religious and
symbolic scenes can be observed, the painting expreses a great sense of lines and movement, manifesting works with a
simetrical, obscure, and proper tendencies, with an extraordianry refinement of color.
During the final era of the city (650-700 a.d.), teotihuacan society
crumbles, but the total inhabited area is almost the same as in
the times of its normal life and the number of inhabitants only diminishes slowly.
At the end, the inhabitants of the old residential zones no longer lived
in isolated houses and the mayority of them were
congregated in houses or apartments, which most likely had to produce considerable changes in the life of the Teotihuacán.
The greatest abandonment of the city only occured from the VIII century.
One posible explanation to this could be given by the
invasion of the agresive Chichimeca tribes that raveged everything that they found on their path.
The city was burned, looted and partly destroyed; the signs of the final
fire are evident in many of the temples alongside the
Calzada de los Muertos. Where this is most evident is in the Quetzalpapalotl palace.