Teotihuacan Culture: Origin, characteristics and contributions

Teotihuacán is currently a city recognized worldwide for being a World Heritage Site, but we must not forget that in pre-Hispanic times it was one of the most important and outstanding places in Mesoamerica. This is the place where the Teotihuacan culture comes from, one of the most influential in America, especially in Mexico.

The Teotihuacan culture was one of the most important civilizations of pre-Columbian times due to the architectural and traditional contributions that it brought to the Mesoamerican territory.. It was founded around 1000 BC according to the large number of studies that archaeologists have carried out on the ruins, which are located in the territory where this civilization was located.

Not many records are kept on this culture; however, archaeologists and experts have discovered enough loopholes to dazzle people with this highly influential civilization. There is a great mystery around the Teotihuacans, which currently attracts tourists to the city in order to learn more about their characteristics, origins and contributions.

Origin of the Teotihuacan Culture

Although there is not much data on the development and evolution of the Teotihuacan civilization, it is maintained that when the Spanish conquerors arrived in America and the Aztecs occupied this territory and they did not have much information to offer about those who were in the place previously. The Teotihuacan culture is presumed to have been present in Mexico between the 1st century BC and the 8th century AD..

According to experts and the large number of studies and findings over the years, the first inhabitants of these territories were the Nahua, Totonac and Otomi ethnic groups, to whom they owe much the origin of this culture. For the Aztecs, this place was chosen by the gods to build the universe. Other experts keep on searching to go deeper into the investigation of a mysterious population.

There are no indications of what the village was really called at the time of its construction and foundation, but the name of Teotihuacán originates from the meaning it has in the Nahuatl language, “birthplace of the gods.” This is due to the great pyramids that are located in the valley in order to worship the deities that ancient cultures possessed.

Teotihuacan Culture: Origin, characteristics and contributions


It should be taken into account that many of the main characteristics that are handled about the Teotihuacan culture are only estimates obtained by the discoveries of archaeologists and experts, the studies of historians and the information provided by the Aztec civilization, the first to discover this place .

They were great merchants who earned their highest income from agriculture. At that time they did not have the necessary instruments for field work, but due to the conditions of the land it is presumed that they invented tools for farming, hunting and grain processing. In the surroundings of the town there are routes created for the expansion of the commercialization of its natural products.

They worshiped and valued various gods, so they held a polytheistic belief. Like many other pre-Columbian cultures, the Teotihuacán believed that the gods were related to elements of nature, such as the sun and the moon. They built temples to honor their deities through cults and religious ceremonies.

With a theocratic order, rulers were governed by the relationship between politics and religion, where they promulgated that the decisions made were mandates of the gods. The priests and shamans were the chiefs of the tribes. It was a society governed by a separation between the upper class that was conformed by the nobles and the priests and by a lower class, where the artisans and peasants were.

The Teotihuacanos are recognized mainly for being great architects. They carried out the construction of huge buildings of heavy materials, which is why they created work tools of which nowadays there is no knowledge of what they were like or what their functions were. All the structures built by this civilization had a purpose around the religious realm.

The main buildings are the Pyramid of the Sun, built by adobe and stucco for the stability of its walls that are decorated with pictorial designs dedicated to the God of the Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon, which with 42 meters high is built with the same materials, but dedicated to the God of the Moon. In front of this last pyramid the Calzada de los Muertos was built, where tribute was paid to the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue.


The main contributions of the Teotihuacan culture are in the architectural field. To them is due the design of majestic constructions, the execution of geometric lines in the structures and the creation of irrigation canals, elements that are observed in his main works: the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Citadel. These have been considered the most famous religious monuments in the world.

The Pyramid of the Sun and the Citadel are located at a strategic point that marks the sunrise and sunset, which was an advance for the construction of functional buildings, in this case, an observational calendar. Through this system, the Teotihuacanos had more or less an idea of ​​the time that passed and thus they could schedule the performance of agricultural activities and ceremonies.

Another contribution to the architecture would be the use of adobe covered with stone in the center and stucco for the construction of solid and durable structures. As is the case with other of his famous works, the palace of Quetzalpapálotl, an immense building that presents on its pillars works carved in the shapes of butterflies and quetzal feather as decoration.

Painting was another of the talents of the Teotihuacan culture. They expressed their religious beliefs in murals, sea shells and ceramics through drawings where they represented abstract figures, their gods and their stories. There are currently several attractive murals for tourists in Tepantitla, Atetelco and others, where the creativity of this civilization can be observed.

Thanks to the ingenuity of the Teotihuacanos to carry out the agricultural activity, at present there are irrigation systems, drains and terraces that allow the growth and maintenance of the crops in good condition. The creation of the channels has also been a great contribution to the population, since it allows a better commercialization of the products, whether over short or long distances.

Leisure was not an activity that the Teotihuacan culture put aside. The game of the ball that is recognized in different pre-Columbian cultures, had its origin in the civilization of Teotihuacán. In the walls of the ruins you can still see the rings through which the balls were introduced to score scores. For many experts this was not just a game, it also consisted of a tribute to their gods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *