Tlachihualtepetl, widely known as The Great Pyramid of Cholula, is the world’s largest pyramid and also the largest archaeolog...
Tlachihualtepetl, widely known as The Great Pyramid of Cholula, is the world’s largest pyramid and also the largest archaeological site of pyramid in the New World. The giant pyramid is 180 ft above the surrounding plain with a base of 1300 ft by 1300 ft.
This ancient pyramid which is a huge complex has temple of an Aztec god in Puebla, Mexico. According to traditions, the pyramid temple is dedicated to feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl. The architectural style of the structure had a resemblance to the style of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico. Also, there’s influence from the Gulf Coast especially El Tajín.
The archaeological area of Cholula is 6.4 kms to the west of Puebla city in Mexico. Precisely, the pyramid is situated in the San Andrés Cholula, Puebla municipality. San Ándres and San Pedro are the two municipalities into which the city is divided. This division was formed in the Toltec-Chichimeca conquest of the city.
The Toltec-Chichimeca people, who inhabited Cholula around the 12th century AD, had named Cholula as Tlachihualtepetl which means "artificial mountain". The name ‘cholula’ finds its origin in the ancient Nahuatl word cholollan meaning "place of refuge".
According to Guinness Book of World Records, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is both world’s largest pyramid and world’s largest pyramid ever built having total volume of more than 157,150,267 cubic feet. It has four times larger volume than the volume of much popular Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt which nearly 8,828,6667 cubic feet.
During the pre-hispanic times, the temple was a significant religious and mythological center. In the Classic period, the temple pyramid was constructed in four stages which began in the 3rd century BC and continued until the 9th century AD.
In the post-classical period around 12th century, the formerly dominant ethnic group Olmeca-Xicalanca moved to the south of the city due to the war. The Olmeca-Xicalanca people regarded the great pyramid of Cholula as their main religious center. However, the newly dominant Toltec-Chichimeca people established a new temple dedicated to deity Quetzalcoatl where the San Gabriel monastery is currently located.
In the modern times in 1931, the architect Ignacio Marquina began excavation of tunnels inside the pyramid. Until 1954, the tunnels measured nearly 8 kms. At present, the pyramid looks like a natural mountain surmounted by a church at first glimpse.
The pyramid is regarded highly important to modern Cholula as a religious & archeological site. Apart from that, it happens to be a major tourist attraction for Cholula and Mexico receiving nearly 220,000 visitors on an average every year. The image of the pyramid with Popocatepetl active volcano in the backdrop is used in Mexico tourism.
This impressive attraction mainly consists of three parts which are the tunnels within the pyramid, the complex on the south side and the site museum.
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