A Visit to Teotihuacán
by Laura Karp Lugo (LMU München/DFK Paris)
On Sunday morning, the participants and steering group of the Transregional Academy arrived at Teotihuacán – an archeological complex situated 50 km north of Ciudad de México (Mexico City). Teōtihuácān is a náhuatl word which could be translated as “the place where the men became gods” or “the city of gods”. Just after entering the archeological site, Pablo G. Ascencio, sociologist and profound connoisseur of his country, its history, and traditions, took us to see the Voladores de Papantla (Papantla Flyers). He explained that the Voladores, dressed in traditional clothes, present an agricultural cycle dance built upon the heritage of the Mesoamerica Mexican world: A dance in the sky that takes place some 25 meters high. We then headed to the vestiges of Teotihuacan, which was one of the largest cities in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica that hosted more than 100,000 inhabitants. We climbed the steep steps of the pyramid of La Ciudadela. Up there, the view was compelling: In the distance we could see the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun dominating the site. We then went to the Templo de la Serpiente Emplumada (Quetzalcóatl), built between 150 and 250 CE. Originally completely painted, the temple can now only be seen through its bare stone. On the carved stones, we appreciated the sinuous bodies of the feathered snakes swimming between shells and snails, as well as the face of Tláloc, god of lightning and rain. The visit ended in the restaurant of the complex, where we could taste quesadillas, tacos de pastor, guacamole, chapulines (grasshoppers), worms and ant larvae: A whole new gastronomic experience for the Academy!