By Brendio – Wikimedia

Top 8 Facts about the Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico


The pyramid of the Sun is the largest in the ancient city of Teotihuacán, Mexico. It was built around 200 AD and to date, it is one of the largest structures of its kind in Mesoamerica.

The pyramid stands at 216 feet above ground level and its base is 730 by 760 feet.

It is found along the Avenue of the Dead between the Pyramid of the Moon and the Ciudadela. It forms part of a large complex in the heart of the ancient city.

This ancient city was home to more than 100,000 people. The Aztec that occupied the abandoned city believed that the city was sacred because of the pyramids and the altars it had.

Here are the top 8 facts about the Pyramid of the Sun. 

1. The name Pyramid of the Sun is from the Aztecs

By Gary Todd – Wikimedia

The name Pyramid of the Sun comes from the Aztecs. They had moved into the city of Teotihuacan after it was abandoned for several centuries.

It is not known what name the Teotihuacanos gave to the pyramid. The Aztecs named the abandoned city the place where the gods were created.

What will remain a mystery is the city native’s culture, history and origin.

2. It is one of the many Teotihuacan Pyramids

Teotihuacan people had a unique architectural style. The plan of the city is arranged in a grid layout that covers 8 square miles.

There are 2,000 single-story apartments, several pyramids that vary in size, temples, plazas, temples and palaces that were used by priests and the noble.

The main buildings in the city are connected by the Avenue of the Dead also known as Miccaotli in the Aztec language. This Avenue is 40 metres wide and 1.5 miles long.

Some of the important structures in the city are the Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Citadel, and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent).

3. The Pyramid of the Sun was constructed in two phases

By Jarek Tuszyński – Wikimedia

This famous pyramid was constructed in two phases.

The first construction phase was around 200 CE. It was slightly shorter than it is today.

After the second phase resulted in the size the pyramid is today. It is 738 feet wide and 246 feet long. This makes it the 3rd largest pyramid in the world.

An altar was constructed on top of the pyramid. It got ruined.

the ancient Teotihuacanos finished the pyramid with lime plaster that was imported from the neighbouring region.

They painted it with colourful murals. They however faded with time.

4. It is believed that the Pyramid of the Sun is sacred

By Gary Todd – Wikimedia

When the Aztecs moved into the Teotihuacan city, they related it to the city of gods. This is because of the pyramids, the citadels and images that were drawn on them.

With time, most of the evidence relating to the venerated deity have disappeared. The temple on top of the pyramid was destroyed by enemies while the remains wasted away after the city was abandoned.

This has made it difficult for archaeologists to identify the god that was worshipped on the Pyramid of the Sun.   

According to Mexican folklore, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun were built to honour the birth of the sun and moon gods.

Priests performed daily ceremonies at the pyramids. They also believe that the location and design of the pyramid represented the celestial, terrestrial and subterranean universe.

5. Teotihuacan abandoned the Pyramid of the Sun

The main reason why the Teotihuacanos abandoned their city is unknown. Not much is known about the empire either.

Several speculations explain what may have led to the destruction of the city.

The Teotihuacanos lived and built their city in central Mexico between the 1st and 9th centuries. Fire destroyed the city and soon after its occupants left.  

Historians and archaeologists believe that about 150,000 people called the city home. Little is known about their whereabouts.

This city was one of the largest in the ancient world.

6. Very little is known about the occupants of the city and the Pyramid of the Sun

By Brendio – Wikimedia

There was a lot of plundering and intentional destruction of the structures in Teotihuacan city.

The people of this city are believed to have been here long before the Mayans were. The Aztecs came 1000 years after the Teotihuacanos. 

Their civilization however tells of a people who were skilled and strategic. This city was one of the largest in Mexico.

Archaeologists have theorised that climate change and severe droughts may have created division amongst the people. This is believed to be the process that led to the destruction of the city.

However, the real reason is still unknown. Archaeological investigations are still ongoing at the pyramids.

7. The location of the Pyramid was strategic

By High Vibration Station – Wikimedia

The pyramid was built on a well thought out spot. Its location made it possible to align it to the prominent Cerro Gordo.

It was also vertical in the direction of the sunrise and sunset. The entire central part of Teotihuacan, including the Avenue of the Dead, is replicated in the orientation of the Pyramid of the Sun.

There is a man-made tunnel below the pyramid that leads to a cave beneath the centre of the pyramid.  The cave is believed to be a royal tomb.

The tunnel was thought to have been formed from lava tubes but archaeological findings showed it was man-made.

8. Archaeologists recovered artefacts from the Pyramid

By Gary Todd – Wikimedia

Very little artefacts have been recovered from the Pyramid of the Sun. Most of the structures were destroyed or looted.

Some of the artefacts found were arrowheads, human figurines in the pyramids. These objects were used during sacrificial ceremonies.

Burial sites for children were also discovered at the corners of the pyramid. Archaeologists believe that the children were offered as a sacrifice to the gods.

A unique historical artefact discovered in the 19th century, the Teotihuacan Ocelot, is now part of the British Museum’s collection.