Friday, February 4, 2011

Parents' visit: Teotihuacan and more

We decided to visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan on a tour -- and it turned out better than I expected!
Instead of going straight to the pyramids we made a couple stops along the way.

First we visited Tlaltelolco, also known as the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Plaza of 3 Cultures) because of the combination of the remains of the pre-Colombian city-state Tlaltelolco, the colonial church Templo de Santiago (built out of the stones taken from the ruins) and modern-day buildings. It is said that this is where Cauhtehmoc -- the last Aztec emperor -- surrendered to Hernán Cortés.

This was also the site of a massacre of student and civilian protesters and bystanders in 1968, right before Mexico hosted the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Our second stop was at the Basilica de Guadalupe. A bit less crowded from when I visited on the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe! 

the old Basilica

the new Basilica

the popemobile 

inside the new Basilica

inside the new Basilica 

Next we stopped in a town by the pyramids to learn about the agave/maguey plant, silver and obsidian. I had learned about how tequila was made from agave/maguey plants (as are mezcal and pulque), but didn't realize everything else it can do! It can make "instant paper," a fishing hook or hunting arrow, a pre-threaded sewing needle, ointment and more! 

in front of an agave/maguey plant 

the sugar water in the plant -- it can
produce up to 4 liters a day! 

You can get "instant paper" from the plant as well as make "carbon
copies." Once written on water will not smear the writing. 

the "pre-threaded sewing needle" 

the plant on the right is what happens if the center/heart is not cut 

obsidian rocks 

learning how silver is processed

machines to process silver 

molds used in another technique for processing silver 


working on the obsidian 

final products made out of obsidian and other stones 

modeling one of the silver necklaces 




Next we visited the pyramids of Teotihuacan. I'm not sure I realized on my last visit that no one knows who built the pyramids or why. They had been abandoned for about 600 years before the Aztecs found them and then used them as temples.

in front of the Sun Pyramid (though they now
think it might have been to the Water God instead)

view from the Sun Pyramid

view of the Moon Pyramid from the Sun Pyramid

view of the Moon Pyramid from the Sun Pyramid

view of the sun Pyramid from the Moon Pyramid

view of the Sun Pyramid from the Moon Pyramid

view from the Moon Pyramid

Patio of the Jaguars (which I did not see
on my first visit) 

Patio of the Jaguars 

Afterward we went to eat in a nearby restaurant. 

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