What Is Teotihuacan AP World History?

Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Basin of Mexico, about 30 miles northeast of modern-day Mexico City. It was established around 200 BCE and was one of the largest cities in the world at its peak in the first half of the first millennium CE. Teotihuacan is believed to have been a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual city, with a population that may have exceeded 100,000 people.

The Layout of Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is best known for its impressive architectural achievements, including its massive pyramids, temples, and apartment compounds. The city is laid out on a grid system that covers roughly eight square miles.

The main avenue, called the Avenue of the Dead (Calzada de los Muertos), runs from north to south through the center of the city. Along this avenue are some of Teotihuacan’s most famous structures: the Pyramid of the Sun (PirĂ¡mide del Sol), Pyramid of the Moon (PirĂ¡mide de la Luna), and Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Templo de la Serpiente Emplumada).

The Pyramid of Sun

The Pyramid of Sun is one of Teotihuacan’s most iconic structures. It stands over 200 feet tall and covers an area larger than that of the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt. Archaeologists believe that it was built in stages over a period of several decades during the first half of the first millennium CE.

The Pyramid of Moon

The Pyramid of Moon is another impressive structure located along the Avenue of Dead. Although it is smaller than its neighbor to the north (the Pyramid of Sun), it is still an impressive sight to behold. Archaeologists believe that this pyramid was built later than its larger counterpart, possibly during the fourth century CE.

Temple of the Feathered Serpent

The Temple of the Feathered Serpent is located at the southern end of the Avenue of Dead. It is dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican deity associated with wisdom, knowledge, and wind. The temple is notable for its intricate carvings and murals, which depict a variety of subjects including animals, gods, and human sacrifice.

The Decline of Teotihuacan

Despite its impressive size and architectural achievements, Teotihuacan declined rapidly during the seventh and eighth centuries CE. Archaeologists are still unsure as to why this happened.

Some theories suggest that environmental factors such as drought or disease may have played a role in the city’s decline. Others suggest that internal conflict or invasion by other Mesoamerican groups may have been responsible.


Teotihuacan is an important site in world history due to its impressive size and architectural achievements. Although we still do not know all there is to know about this ancient Mesoamerican city, it continues to fascinate scholars and visitors alike with its mysterious past.