Architecture of Teotihuacan the City Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1192 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 21  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Architecture

¶ … Architecture of Teotihuacan

The city of Teotihuacan is situated in the Valley of Mexico, about 50 kilometers to the north-east of modern Mexico City. It began its growth between 200 and 100 B.C. And by around 150 a.D. It had become one of the largest urban centers in the world, with an estimated population of over 125,000 people and covering an area of more than 20 square kilometers. The surviving evidence for the city reveals a planned metropolis, with extensive and wide streets and avenues, very large buildings, and regions of religious, administrative and industrial constructions as well as extensive housing. Teotihuacan reached its peak of size and power between circa 150 a.D. And 700 a.D., the "Classic" period of Mesoamerican civilization during which period it extended its influence throughout Mesoamerica. It has been called "the dominant Middle American site of the first half of the Classic era."Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Architecture of Teotihuacan the City of Teotihuacan Assignment

The geographic location of Teotihuacan is clearly of importance in its development. The Valley of Mexico is fertile and suitable for extensive irrigation; the lake provided a network of transport routes and a source of water; trade routes from north to south and east to west cross the valley, and there are nearby resources of obsidian and other materials suitable for building, ornament and trade. There is also evidence that volcanic eruptions had destroyed pre-existing urban settlements elsewhere in the valley around 200 B.C., encouraging survivors to establish a new and safer city, and allowing Teotihuacan to flourish in the vacuum left by the destruction of potential rivals. Perhaps the most important single factor, however, was religious. The earliest and most dominant edifice in Teotihuacan is the Pyramid of the Sun, and beneath this structure archaeologists discovered a natural cave, enlarged into a petalled shape and reached by a tunnel directly beneath the very center of the pyramid. This cave clearly had sacred significance and appears to have dictated the position of the Pyramid of the Sun, which in turn determined the development of the city around it.

The surviving buildings of Teotihuacan are of an austere design, using expressive planar surfaces and massive architectonic volumes. It may not be too fanciful to see in this architecture a reflection of the spirit of the place in which the city stands, with its sense of large scale, its wide plain and towering mountains. The temples themselves have been seen as artificial mountains, connecting the people of the city to the sky as the home of the gods, and affirming their centrality in the universe. The Pyramid of the Sun itself (fig. 1) is a vast construction, some 61 meters high with its sides having a width at the base of 213 meters; it is constructed of earth and adobe, faced with unshaped stones and burnt-lime mortar surfacing, and is shaped in a series of terraces rising towards a flat crown upon which a temple (or more than one temple) stood. The profile of the pyramid, with sloping talus alternating with vertical tablero, is characteristic of the Teotihuacan style. During the second century a.D. this pyramid was joined by the Pyramid of the Moon (fig. 2) to its north and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (fig. 3) to its south, which are similar architecturally but use a more stable constructional method of a structure of stone piers and walls with spaces between which are filled with loose earth and rock, rather than the layered accumulation method of the Pyramid of the Sun. These three structures define the course of the main north-south roadway, the vast "Avenue of the Dead"… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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