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Teotihuacán

The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, Mexico, was built over a cave where, it was said, the Sun was born. The great city of Teotihuacán was built from around 200 BC, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from present-day Mexico City in Mexico. Teotihuacán is also the name given to the civilization that flourished around the city. Historians are not sure exactly which people or peoples built the city, but it may have been the Nahua, Otomi or Totonac groups. The site of Teotihuacán was a place of pilgrimage: a cave there was said by the local people to be the birthplace of the Sun. From AD 100, the giant Pyramid of the Sun was built over that cave.


A mural (wall painting) depicting the Great Goddess of Teotihuacán

The city

At its peak, at least 125,000 people lived in Teotihuacán, making it one of the largest cities in the world at the time. The earliest building in the city took place around 200 BC, and construction continued until around AD 250. The city remained powerful until the 7th or 8th century. Wealthy people lived near the centre of the city, many of them in huge complexes of apartments, several stories high. The internal walls were often covered with beautifully painted murals. Farmers and craftworkers had simpler homes on the outskirts of the city.
The Pyramid of the Sun, the Avenue of the Dead and the other, smaller stepped pyramids of Teotihuacán.

Teotihuacanos used human bones—probably from their dead relatives—to make buttons, combs, needles, spatulas and other everyday objects and utensils.

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