Pyramid of the Sun

Impressive is but one word that describes the Pyramid, of the Sun. This magnificent structure not only dominates Teotihuacán, but it is the third largest pyramid in the world. Situated on the Avenue of the Dead between the Temple of the Moon and La Ciudadela, the pyramid at one time was painted a bright red, while at one time, the temple’s plaster sides were painted with brightly colored murals.

Pyramid of the Sun

The pyramid is even more impressive when you consider its builders used no metal tools to construct it. The Pyramid of the Sun originally consisted of four raised platforms; another platform would be added later taking it to a height of 75 meters (246 feet). The pyramid was constructed in about the second century. It was built over mounds of rubble, then covered over with plaster. A tunnel leading to a cave was found inside, with archaeologists thinking the cave might be a royal tomb.

Pyramid of the Sun Stairs

Archaeologists aren’t sure why the pyramid was built, but believe it may have been a temple to a god as there used to be an altar on top. The pyramid was heavily looted over the centuries with thieves taking artifacts that might have shed light on its purpose; weather also contributed to the demise of the pyramid. The temple may have served astrological purposes because of its alignment with the sun. Obsidian arrowheads and other artifacts have been found inside the pyramid, leading to speculation the temple may have been used for sacrifices.

Aerial View. Photo credit: Alejandro Ocaña

Aerial View. Photo credit: Alejandro Ocaña

Also unknown is its original name. The Aztecs named it the Temple of the Sun when they discovered the abandoned city of Teotihuacán.

If you climb to the top, as temple priests did, you can see the street’s other end where stands the Temple of the Moon.