Museum Collections - Mesoamerica - Teotihuacan

The Feathered Serpent

Nearly two thousand years of settlement in and around the Valley of Mexico gave rise to a prestigious and highly influential civilization at Teotihuacan by about A.D. 150. Initially a small settlement, it quickly grew into a city with a population of about 150,000. A great trading community, Teotihuacan was the centre for distribution of valuable commodities, such as obsidian, through a network controlled by complex religious and political systems. The city's massive ceremonial buildings and its palaces and other dwellings harmonized with the natural landscape.

Covering approximately eight square miles, Teotihuacan was one of the largest cities in the world in its day. It served as a crossroads to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as southward to the Zapotec and Maya worlds. Teotihuacan came under attack from northern peoples by about A.D. 600-650, fell into decline about a century later, and was eventually sacked and destroyed. Long after it was abandoned, the great city remained a locale for worship, and a vacated place of mystery to the civilizations that followed.

Photograph by A. Herscovici

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