on April 9, 2006
The small Pyramid of the Moon has long played second fiddle to the humongous Pyramid of the Sun. Although it is only 46m high, it was built on higher ground than the Pyramid of the Sun and therefore the view from the top is from an only marginally lower level. In addition, the view is straight down the Street of the Dead and, of course, includes the Pyramid of the Sun.The approach to the Pyramid of the Moon at the northern end of the Street of the Dead is via the very elegant Plaza of the Pyramid of the Moon. The plaza is 204 by 137m and on three sides lined by elegant platforms in perfect symmetry. It is thought that the most important religious ceremonies were held here. In contrast to the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon was periodically enlarged with the present structure dating to around 350 A.D. It has four terraces, with the first three linked with sets of very steep stairs – some railing is available to assist visitors. It is a bit of a scramble to get to the top from the third terrace but the view from the top is magnificent and in my opinion better than the view from the Pyramid of the Sun. As you look straight down the Street of the Dead, you can see the city in its entire symmetrical splendor. From here, it is also obvious that the impressive formal structures lined the central axis and that buildings further away must have been less elaborated. Although I found the ascent much less tiring than what I recall from climbing the Pyramid of the Sun almost a decade ago, I was still left with the impression that Teotihuacan priests must have had amazing calves. Although it is a very steep climb to the first and largest of the terraces, the lazy and unfit will be happy to hear that the view from here is fine and nearly as good as the view from the top. (On a recent visit, July 2007, it was no longer possible to scale the Pyramid of the Moon past the first level. There is but one thing to do - go climb the higher one!)Very little is known about the religious ceremonies of the Teotihuacans. Much of modern thought is influenced by the customs and interpretations of the Aztecs. No one really knows which gods where honored on the local pyramids and temples. Similarly, although it is clear that human sacrifices were offered to the gods, the extent remains unknown. Specialists generally assume that it was much less part of the local culture when compared to the slaughtering orgies of say the later Toltecs and Aztecs.
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