Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/643

This page has been validated.
625
MEXICO AND ITS ANTIQUITIES.

and consequently requiring more ingenious combination and greater art and labor. They are inlaid on the surface of the wall, and their duration is owing to the method of fixing the prepared stones into the stone surface, which makes their union with it perfect." M. Charnay says that the beauty of these buildings can be matched only by that of the monuments of Greece and Rome in their best days.

The Pyramid of Cholula was one of the great edifices of the world. It was 1,423 feet wide at the base, 177 feet high, and covered a superficial area of forty-five acres. Civilized man is gradually destroying it, and a cut has been made in one side of it for a railroad-track. Near it are other smaller pyramids.

PSM V24 D643 Aztec temple at cholula.jpg
Fig. 4.—Aztec Temple at Cholula.

The teocallis of San Juan Teotihuacan are next in age to those of Cholula. The two largest are dedicated to the Sun and the Moon. The former is 180 feet high, and 682 feet long at the base. Its summit—now marked by a platform about 75 feet square and a modern cylindrical monument of stone—is said to have been crowned with a temple, in which was a gigantic statue of the Sun, made of an entire block of stone, and wearing a breastplate of gold and silver. The two principal pyramids are surrounded by several smaller ones, few of which exceed twenty-five feet in height. According to tradition, they were dedicated to the Stars, and served as sepulchres for the illustrious men of the nation.

Toltec ruins are found at Tula, about fifty miles north of the capital.