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Cuicuilco, the fire worshipers

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Before Teotihuacan it was Cuicuilco. Fate determined that the volcano destroyed the place where the fire was worshipped. It was the first ceremonial centre of the Valley of Mexico, the most advanced city of its time, where man began to realise his vision of the cosmos. When the Old God of Fire made his appearance and swept everything away, these people went and populated new land. It is thought that they went to Teotihuacan, the other big city of the time.

If you like archaeology, you'll be fascinated. After thousands of years, Cuicuilco remains full of mysteries. When you arrive you will see what was the great pyramid and you will be amazed that is not square, as pyramids normally are, but circular. The first calendar? A stela seems to be the key. Do you know you're facing the first major stone structure in Central America?

In the museum, there are more clues about its inhabitants: everyday objects such as grinding stones, a burial site, jewellery and ornaments; because Cuicuilco was the first major city of its era, the first great culture of the Valley of Mexico. In its heyday it was home to 20,000 inhabitants. Then came the lava.

Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen and bring water for walking around the archaeological site.

The lava field on which Cuicuilco is located is known as the Pedregal de San Angel. Without leaving the rocky ground, go to the UNAM Sculpture Space for a complete contrast, where modern metal structures and a circle of volcanic rock reflect on the vision of the cosmos in pre-Hispanic cultures.

In the whole area of Tlalpan, up to what is now Ciudad Universitaria, there are archaeological remains of what was the influential and urban part of Cuicuilco; as well as other places that remain buried under lava.

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Insurgentes Sur s/n, Col. Isidro Fabela. 14030

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